A significant minority of Norwegians think they alleviate mental health problems with alcohol
Updated: Oct 13
11.10.2022 - 1 in 5 have used alcohol because they have been depressed, stressed or to alleviate personal problems.
The figures come out in a survey carried out by Ipsos and give cause for concern, according to the alcohol watchdog organization Av-og-til.
"Every fifth Norwegian has drunk alcohol to quell difficult feelings. Alcohol is sedative and in some cases can remove a discomfort here and there. But in the long term, it could intensify the problems and trigger new ones," says Ragnhild Kaski, general secretary of Av-og-til.
Creepy spiral In the course of our lives, half of us will experience a mental disorder. Alcohol can trigger and exacerbate existing psychological challenges, and is linked to anxiety and depression, among other things.
"There is a danger that the psychological problems will become stronger over time if you use alcohol as a form of self-medication. In addition, you may need more alcohol to have the same calming effect as you had at the beginning, and your intake may increase. The result can be a vicious circle where you drink more and more, and get worse and worse," says Kaski.
She also emphasizes that there is a risk that it is not just the alcohol that affects mental health, but that it can also go the other way.
"Depression can also trigger challenges with alcohol, and help lead to an alcohol problem. Studies show that around 30 per cent of patients with severe depression also have a concurrent drug problem."
Dangerous ignorance 10 October marked the UN's World Mental Health Day. The general secretary of Av-og-til believes it is a good opportunity to remind more people of the dangers of drinking alcohol because you are in pain or in difficulty.
"Our research shows that very few people are aware of the connection between alcohol and, for example, depression and anxiety. Unfortunately, it is not the case that what we do not know does not hurt us. When it comes to alcohol and mental health, the opposite is true. We need to know what we need to watch out for before it goes too far," says Kaski.
Photo: Av-og-til / Bård Gundersen