Heavy drinking has been found to increase a person's risk of developing anxiety problems by rewiring brain circuitry. In an animal study it was observed that alcoholics find it harder to recover psychologically following a traumatic experience, causing anxiety and, in some instances, post-traumatic stress disorder. Dr Thomas Kash, author of the study, explained that this occurs because chronic alcohol exposure causes a "deficit with regard to how cognitive centres control our emotional brain centres". The discovery was made when over the course of a month researchers gave a group of mice doses of alcohol equivalent to double the legal driving limit in humans. Another group was given no alcohol. Mild electric shocks were then administered to both groups to train mice to fear the sound of a brief tone, which was played during each shock. The mice that had been given alcohol were observed to freeze when the tone was played, even long after the electric shock had stopped. This shows the importance of addressing alcohol behaviours when trying to combat anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder in patients. Read about support and personalised care at Barchester care homes for anyone with mental health concerns.