We Don’t Need No Alcohol
Depression and anxiety is a song that many have sung, and of recent years, and it seems as though a lamenting choir has formed amongst teens and young adults and it’s no coincidence. Alcoholism amongst millennial culture has significantly decreased in the past five years and depression and anxiety have been on a very steep rise. Many people have the view that alcohol can help to relax and take the edge off of the wonderings of the mind however, young people are now realising that alcohol isn’t a release from depression but alcohol is a depressant.
Trends have shown that teens and millennials have been binning the beer for the sake of their own wellbeing. This can be seen in these two statistics published by the Mental Health Network in 2016:
“The proportion of university students who formally identify themselves as having mental health problems doubled between 2008–09 and 2013–14”
“The proportion of 16-24-year-olds who do not drink increased by more than 40 per cent between 2005 and 2013.” Coincidence? I think not.
Being intoxicated is just that; toxic. Granted, it can break otherwise awkward social barriers, and aid you in letting loose, however, it can also lead to feelings of instability, and encourage overthinking and overreacting; in short, alcohol enhances the negative emotions that someone with a mental illness experiences.
Mental illness isn’t always the easiest thing to spot when conversing with someone, so leave your magnifying glass at home Sherlock because many, if not all with these conditions have mastered the skills of hiding and filing their true emotions away in a discrete and seamless fashion. When asked about the topic, Sarah, 19 says “If I'm trying to hide my anxiety, I find that I become extremely nervous and chatty,” so, no need to drink to break the ice, anxiety has you covered. Another teen that suffers from disassociation/depersonalisation says “drinking alcohol makes my condition worsen as It makes me feel more detached from myself and the world. That brings on my anxiety and panic attacks”
On the other side of the spectrum, Musician, YouTuber and fellow millennial Dodie Clark who also suffers from mental illnesses, says that alcohol helps with her depersonalisation and distracts her with a ‘happy buzz,’ which may can be one of the best #relatable things I’ve heard regarding this topic as many people feel the same.
With events like silent discos, giant adult ball pits and trampoline parks becoming increasingly more popular options on a night out, entertainment quality is clearly something that matters in this day and age. In her video ‘sober af’ she says: “if we feel like we have to have alcohol in our veins to have a good time, then it probably isn’t a very good night,”
Another factor that links the two trends, is hangovers. They are more than just a headache and unsettled stomach when you have a mental illness, for some it develops in to a comedown that has no end, that reminds you that last night you were happier, last night you were surrounded by friends and you were carefree.
Although mental health is unlikely to be the sole cause of the shift in attitude toward alcohol consumption, it is definitely a major factor. Byron, Marketing Director at FitBeer Ltd. Has noticed the change in trend and says “young people have shown a major shift in the way they view the importance of mindfulness, they care very much about their ambitions and goals and it seems as though cutting alcohol intake has made them more productive and driven from the feedback we’ve had”