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Do You Crave Alcohol When Stressed?

Posted Mar 26 2009 12:00am

A new study of emotional and alcohol-craving responses to stress has found that when men become upset, they are more likely than women to want alcohol. We know men and women react differently to stress and show different behaviors. Women are more likely than men to focus on negative emotional aspects of stressful circumstances and tend to dwell on their negative emotional state. Men are more likely to distract themselves from negative emotions and to try not to think about them. However, men had more cravings for alcohol. In the study, men had greater blood pressure response to stress, but did not report greater sadness and anxiety, may reflect that they are more likely to try to distract themselves from their stress, possibly through the use of alcohol. Men’s tendency to crave alcohol when upset may be a learned behavior and may contribute to risk for alcohol-use disorder if used as a coping mechanism when experiencing chronic stress. A better solution would be to walk, exercise, or meditate during high stress periods.

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