Studies show alcohol impacting young adults mental health

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(Fargo, ND) -- For many young adults, a Saturday night spent drinking is typical. However, studies are beginning to show that these nights full of alcohol are impacting their mental health.

With alcohol served at many work functions, holiday parties or just going out with friends millennial's and college aged students see drinking as a way to socialize.

"College students tend to have expectations that drinking is necessary or at least associated with social interactions. You know, making friends, finding romantic partners and those are things that most people want to do especially at that age. Then it's perhaps not surprising that people tend to drink, sometimes overly much so during that time," says Sanford Psychologist Dr. Keith Donohue.

Studies, like the one done by the Mental Health Foundation, show that binge drinking can be detrimental to their mental health. With more and more young adults using alcohol as a form of self-medication.

"Someone might begin drinking initially for social reasons or to feel good because it often does feel good and over time they can be drinking more and more just to ward off negative feelings. The motivations for drinking seem to shift over time at least if you become very involved in it," says Dr. Donohue.

Then why not just stop drinking? This may seem like the best and easiest solution, but Dr. Donohue says it can be a slippery slope, "the challenge is, for some people that's a fairly hard goal to maintain and if they go at it alone and then relapse into drinking, they may become really discouraged and despondent and even get more deeply back into the behavior."

If not at all isn't the right answer, Dr. Donohue says it's better and safer to drink in moderation.

"Having up to about two drinks a day for men and maybe one drink a day for women seems to be less associated with these negative outcomes," says Dr. Donohue.

So, before going for one more, make sure you're checking in with yourself. It's a good reminder that your mental health is more important than a Friday night party. Dr. Donohue also encourages anyone who is concerned about their mental health and drinking to speak to a professional.