The Negative Connection Between Stress, Overworking, and Alcohol

Updated on November 25, 2021

Stress can be described as the mental transformation that comes from being pushed beyond your limits. Some stress is good every now and then, but too much can be a serious problem.

Stress can often be the result of working too hard. Sometimes it can get so bad to the point where you overwork yourself and feel burned out. 

Overworking leads to a strain in relationships and health issues such as alcoholism. Alcohol is widely known as an unhealthy way of coping with stress, anxiety, and depression. 

Stress, overworking, and alcohol are deadly combinations and create a vicious cycle of pain. In an effort to better understand and avoid falling into this pattern, we’ll dive deeper into each component and how they all connect with each other. 

Understanding stress

Stress is a natural part of life. Sometimes you might experience stress from a long day at work, or maybe you got cut off while driving to the grocery store. Either way, you’re bound to experience some stress every now and then. 

Not all stress is bad, though. Sometimes it has a positive impact by encouraging us to achieve more. Stress can give us the extra motivation to go out and exercise or reconnect with a loved one we may have lost contact with. 

However, if stress becomes chronic, that can be a different story. When stress is prolonged and excessive, it can lead to serious health complications. In fact, a study done by Cohen and Williamson (1988) shows that stress is the cause of 60 percent of all illnesses and diseases in today’s society. 

Now everyone tends to have a different threshold for the amount of stress they can endure, which is why it can be so difficult for others to understand what you’re going through on a day-to-day basis. What stresses someone may not even phase someone else. For example, some people stress over getting good grades while others don’t care as much. 

How we manage and deal with stress is different for every person because we all have a unique set of problems every day. This can make it hard to address our stress.


If there is one common thing that can cause widespread stress, it’s overworking yourself. This can take many forms, from working too long hours or having way too much going on in your life. 

Many people see working excessively as a sign of success, but it usually leads to more problems than benefits. A big problem is many who work very long hours suffer from increased levels of stress. 

Some cases of overworking might be related to the high demands of your job. People can get overwhelmed and overworked to keep up with demand, whether it’s a skills gap issue, labor shortage, or simply unrealistic work expectations. 

Dealing with being overworked isn’t always easy. While you could ask for time off or switch jobs, it may not be the answer to your problems. 

Ironically, for some people, overworking themselves is a way of coping with their anxiety or depression related to the other stress factors in their lives. Although this method may provide temporary relief from negative feelings, it does not solve the root of the problem. In most cases, overworking is a way of distracting oneself from their own issues by focusing on work-related stressors.

As discussed earlier, working too much can also cause strain in relationships with family members, friends, and significant others. Relationships are often the first to suffer when someone feels overwhelmed by stress because the overworked individual will tend to put their loved ones on the back burner. They don’t prioritize them as much as they do their work. They tend to not spend as much time with them and may often lash out at them for taking up their time. 

Alcohol, stress, and overworking 

While there’s no direct correlation between overworking, stress, and alcoholism, many people who are overworked and stressed tend to drink as a way of escaping their problems. 

Alcohol is widespread, generally easy to get, and socially accepted. However, it does more harm than good. Studies show that many people who drink excessively on the weekends or nights out tend to skip work the next day because they are too hungover to be productive. 

This indulgence in alcohol can be seen as a way of self-medicating rather than seriously addressing problems like high anxiety. This is an issue as relying on alcohol as self-medication can lead to addiction and serious health problems such as liver damage.

Increased alcohol use causes a negative chain reaction in your day-to-day. Drinking alcohol can escalate existing stressors in your life by affecting sleep patterns, work performance, relationships with loved ones, etc.

What can be done?

Sometimes the only way to get past problems is by talking about them with someone you trust. This can be helpful in overcoming one’s fears and concerns. 

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by stress, consider reaching out to a friend or family member. It might not seem like it at first, but keeping problems bottled up inside will only make them worse.

If you’re struggling with alcohol, know there are resources to help with alcohol detox. You don’t have to face these struggles on your own and are encouraged to rely on others. 

You can get better

Having a drink every once and a while can be okay, but alcohol shouldn’t be used as a way to self-medicate. 

It’s important to maintain a balance in your life between work and pleasure and take time to take care of yourself and deal with stress and anxiety. 

See if there’s a way you can take some time for yourself, work less, and enjoy a leisurely activity. You owe it to yourself to try.  

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