Here’s How Alcohol Really Impacts Your Mood

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There’s a persistent idea out there that having a drink helps us relax, wind down or feel better in general when the day has been particularly challenging. For those of us who have stressful jobs, demanding careers and/or small children at home, that glass of wine can feel like a lifesaver.

And lucky for us, it’s not an unsubstantiated practice. Believe it or not, studies have shown that certain types of wine can have legitimate health benefits beyond the mental stress relief.

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Alcohol quickly boosts our serotonin levels, which results in an elevated or euphoric improvement to our mood. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter (a biological chemical, basically), and it’s a key player in our happiness and mood. People who experience anxiety and depression often have lower than average levels of serotonin in their gut, blood and central nervous system.

The problem is, after that initial boost in serotonin brought on by a couple of drinks, serotonin levels fall down even lower than they were prior to your drinking. So if you drink habitually, it means that you’re regularly lowering your serotonin levels to below what is considered average, and that can eventually rewire your brain.

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If you’re someone who doesn’t struggle with depression and anxiety, then you may not have anything to worry about – but if you do, having a drink or two every day might be something you want to rethink.