Yes, alcohol can indeed contribute to anxiety. This is due to the changes it causes in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, which maintains your physiological balance of what you perceive as stressful and what you don't. Regular alcohol consumption, even in moderate amounts, can lead to increased release of cortisol, a stress hormone, even when you're not drinking. This can result in heightened feelings of stress and anxiety. This phenomenon is sometimes referred to as "hangxiety," or anxiety that follows a day of drinking. It's important to note that alcohol can also disrupt sleep, which can further contribute to feelings of anxiety. So, while alcohol might initially seem to reduce stress, its longer-term effects can actually increase it.