2023-01-24 09:00:00

How drinking impacts your brain health and why scientists say it's smart to cut back

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By Lauren Pelley

For Jesica Hurst, kicking off the weekend used to mean having a glass of wine.

Drinking was also her go-to for all kinds of situations, from combating social anxiety before a big night out, to winding down after a stressful day at work.

But it came with a downside feelings of sadness, anxiety and stress in the days that followed. And for someone with diagnosed anxiety and depression, the Toronto resident began to re-evaluate the role casual drinking played in her life, and what it meant for her wellbeing and mental health.

Around six months ago, Hurst gave up alcohol entirely.

Since then, "I've noticed that things are a lot more balanced," she said. "I still deal with the day-to-day anxieties but it's a lot more manageable."

It's no secret that a night of drinking can rattle your head from the brain buzz it provides in the moment, to the morning-after headaches and feelings of 'hangxiety' people often get after having a bit too much booze.

Research suggests alcohol can negatively affect mental health conditions or hike the risk of cognitive problems and dementia. On the flip side, cutting back could give your brain a boost. (Shutterstock)

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