Escape the alcohol-induced fog during Mental Health Awareness Month

Cartise Jones, BA, CADC

We all know about Dry January, but let’s talk about giving up alcohol this May for Mental Health Awareness Month to support and even improve our mental health. 

First, let’s address a new sobering statistic from the CDC. 

Alcohol is often misused, and excessive use has led to a 29% increase in related deaths in just five years. Many people may not realize they have a problem with alcohol because it is socially acceptable and readily available. 

Abstaining from alcohol for a month can offer benefits, even if one does not misuse it. Here are four things that can improve if you stop using alcohol. 

Earn superstar status by increasing productivity

Alcohol consumption impairs cognitive function, which can hinder concentration and focus. By quitting drinking, you can give your brain the chance to function at its full capacity. A clear mind enables optimal performance, timely delivery of high-quality work, and efficient task completion, free from the limitations of alcohol’s effects. This facilitates engagement and productivity.

Sleep better

It may sound counterintuitive, but alcohol, despite being a depressant that can make people feel sleepy, actually interferes with maintaining sleep. Even consuming just two drinks can reduce sleep quality by up to 24%, according to Alcohol causes an imbalance between slow-wave and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, leading to poor sleep quality, shorter sleep duration, and more sleep disruptions.  

Lessen the risk of mental health disorders 

Alcohol consumption can worsen the symptoms of anxiety and depression, which may seem surprising as it is often used as a way to cope with stress and anxiety. However, when you decide to give up drinking, you provide yourself with an opportunity to tackle the underlying causes of anxiety and adopt healthier ways of coping.

Keeps your mind clear so you can focus where it matters

In the midst of our busy lives, especially for those of us with high-stress jobs, having a clear mind is crucial to managing any unexpected work-related issues that may arise. Alcohol consumption tends to hinder brain function, causing unclear thinking, memory lapses, and difficulty in focusing. By avoiding alcohol, the brain can recover and restore its natural state of clarity, allowing us to perform with maximum efficiency and effectiveness.

Mental Health Awareness Month is an excellent time to take a break from drinking alcohol. This break gives you the opportunity to check in with yourself and ensure that your mental health is in good condition. Your body can reset without the influence of alcohol, which enables you to acknowledge your true feelings. 

Cartise Jones, B.A., IADC, is the team leader of Rosecrance Quad Cities. For more information, email [email protected] or visit


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