How Smoking and Alcohol Can Affect Anxiety!

August 20, 2023
How Smoking and Alcohol Affect Anxiety!

Anxiety is a normal reaction to a situation that we feel threatened by. It’s when Anxiety hangs around and causes us distress that causes us a problem.About 1 in 4 people suffer from Anxiety according to Mind (leading mental health charity). It is very common but often not talked about however it should be.Anxiety is as real as a broken arm, it can be so debilitating for some people and unfortunately too much to cope with.

What exactly is Anxiety?

Anxiety is a feeling of unease, such as worry or fear, that can be mild or severe.Everyone has feelings of Anxiety at some point in their life – for example, you may feel worried and anxious about sitting an exam, or having a medical test or job interview. During times like these, feeling anxious can be perfectly normal.However, some people find it hard to control their worries. Their feelings of Anxiety are more constant and can often affect their daily lives.

Anxiety is recognized by the following symptoms.

Physical symptoms

  • Nausea
  • Tense muscles & headaches
  • Pins & needles
  • Feeling light headed or dizzy
  • Faster breathing
  • Fast heart beat
  • Sweating
  • Blurred vision
  • Raised blood pressure
  • Hot flushes
  • Panic attacks


  • Feeling tense, nervous and on edge
  • Having a sense of dread or fearing the worst
  • Feeling like the world is speeding up or slowing down
  • Feeling that other people can see you anxious and know what your thinking
  • Feeling your mind is really busy with thoughts
  • Dwelling on negative experiences
  • Feeling restless
  • Feeling numb
A lot of people may not know this, but using alcohol and smoking can make Anxiety worse.

Drinking alcohol: Where caffeine shakes you up, alcohol often smoothes over the rough edges of anxiety - at least for a little while. But as you drink more - and as your body digests the alcohol - you can experience confusion and physical symptoms that resemble Anxiety. For people with Anxiety disorders, alcohol can become a problem especially when used as an emotional crutch or a way to "self-medicate" against their symptoms.Smoking: Research has shown that many smokers have a history of Anxiety Disorder. This does not mean that cigarettes or nicotine cause Anxiety. As with alcohol use, people with Anxiety disorders may lean on alcohol as a crutch or self-medication. For some, smoking appears calming. But nicotine also ramps up blood pressure and heart rate, two physical symptoms that can mirror Anxiety. Also, smokers with a history of Anxiety disorders are less likely to quit, possibly because nicotine withdrawal symptoms can cause or worsen Anxiety symptoms.The most common treatments that you may get offered or that may be suggested:

  • Talking treatments
  • Self-help resources
  • Certain types of medication (Your GP can advise on these)
  • Complementary therapies such as Relaxation, Reflexology, Acupuncture, Yoga or a Relaxing Massage.

Here at Sports Physio UK we are more than aware of the link between the mind and the body. We have our own onsite Mental Health Nurse so were lucky really. Lucy has a keen interest in the link between the mind and body and uses her mental health knowledge to treat people who are stressed, anxious or who just want to improve their well-being.From October Lucy will be delivering some Relax and Breathe sessions from the clinic. These sessions are aimed to improve people’s well-being, reduce stress and promote relaxation. The sessions based on the mindfulness concept, will teach basic relaxation techniques and breathing practices. It’s all about being here and in the now rather than worrying about the what, ifs and buts. Lucy will also be using Acupuncture to help promote well-being and induce relaxation. It’s a well-known fact that Acupuncture can help with the release of endorphin's and promote the relaxation response. During her sessions Lucy will also be helping people should they need further intervention when promoting well-being - offering advice, guidance and techniques to people should they feel stressed, anxious or psychologically under the weather.If you’re interested in taking advantage of Lucys unique treatments then click here to leave a message.We also have our new Yoga classes that will be commencing at the end of September - click here and leave a message should you wish to book on.For more information on anxiety click here.For mental health support and guidance click here.

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