The Risk of Mental Health Problems Is Often Ignored by Alcohol Abusers

In an effort to curtail the increasing number of youths suffering from alcohol abuse, the Salvation Army has released findings of a study to help raise awareness about the link between alcohol abuse and mental health problems. While more than 80 percent of Australians agree that abusing alcohol can worsen mental health problems, 10 percent of them use alcohol to try and alleviate their mental health problems and 21 percent say they lose control and end up drinking excessively.

The Salvation Army’s Glenn Whittaker is concerned that in the past decade the organization has seen the number of youths, ages 14-18, with alcohol problems rise from 8.9 percent to 22.1 percent. Numbers have also increased for youths being admitted to emergency centers for behavioral problems such as acute mental illness and aggression. Whittaker hopes that this study will make people aware that alcohol and mental illness are often linked.

Market researcher, Roy Morgan, surveyed 638 Australians in his study and found that while most people know or assume that alcohol could make their anxiety, depression or other mental problems worse, they are still recklessly consuming alcohol. According to the Ted Noffs Foundation, a support group for youths with drug and alcohol problems, after a night of drinking an excessive amount of alcohol, 7 percent of people reported feeling depressed or anxious.

Programs and literature are plentiful about the harmful effects of substances like heroin and cocaine. Youths are often educated about how addictive and harmful these illegal substances are. Alcohol abuse programs also exist, yet alcohol is more readily available to the public.

The public may assume that using illegal substances would cause more mental illnesses than drinking alcohol, but the Ted Noffs Foundation asserts that the contrary is true. While taking either substance is harmful to a person’s mental health, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol actually affects mental health more than illegal substances.

Whittaker finds hope in the finding that 80 percent of the people surveyed are aware that rather than solving mental problems, alcohol would only exacerbate them. This would indicate that most people are knowledgeable about the harmful relationship between alcohol abuse and poor mental health. His greatest concern is that even with all this knowledge and common sense, people are still falling prey to excessive drinking and are even using those drinks to wash away the mental problems that plague them.