There are many reasons people might drink alcohol. They might do it casually in social situations, to relax, or just because they enjoy the taste. Drinking in moderation is usually considered okay from a health perspective, but it’s important to really have a full grasp of just what “in moderation” means because drinking excessively can contribute to a range of health problems, many of which are serious.
A lot of people aren’t even aware that drinking in moderation refers to no more than one drink a day if you’re a woman and no more than two a day for men. If you’re drinking more than this, it could be considered problematic, and if you’re drinking more than five drinks a day as a man or four as a woman, you are considered a binge drinker.
The effects of alcohol on your body
Excessive drinking affects your health and almost every part of your body. It can not only damage vital organs but also affect your mood and behavior.
Consuming too much alcohol can have devastating effects on your central nervous system. The initial effects of alcohol on your central nervous system include slurred speech, memory impairment, and compromised hand-eye coordination.
Many studies have associated heavy chronic alcohol use with memory deficits. Furthermore, it’s estimated that alcohol-related brain damage may account for 10% of early-onset dementia cases. Although brain damage appears to be partially reversible after a longer period of sobriety, chronic and excessive drinking can permanently impair your brain.
Liver damage is another consequence of chronic binge drinking.
Most of the alcohol you drink is metabolized in your liver. This produces potentially harmful byproducts that can damage your liver cells. As you continue drinking over time, your liver health declines.
Alcoholic fatty liver disease is the earliest stage of alcohol-induced liver damage. This condition can occur over time when too much alcohol leads to a buildup of fat in your body’s liver cells, which can hinder liver function.
This is the most common bodily response to chronic alcohol use and may develop in as many as 90% of people who chronically drink more than 5 drinks per day.
As heavy drinking continues, fatthylivre disease can eventually advance to liver inflammation, cirrhosis, and even liver failure, which is a life-threatening condition.
The effects of alcohol can be mentally and physically addicting.
Feeling a compulsive urge to drink, worrying about where or when you’ll have your next drink, and finding it hard to enjoy yourself without drinking are all common signs of alcohol dependence.
The cause of this dependence can be complex. It may be caused in part by your genes and family history, but your environment can play a large role as well
Short term fix for stress
Some people may use alcohol as a quick fix to improve their mood and reduce anxiety, but this typically only provides short-term relief. In the long term, it can end up worsening your overall mental state and health.
Contributes to weight gain
Drinking may also affect your weight and body composition. Though research on alcohol’s effects on weight is mixed, both moderate and heavy use has been linked to weight gain. See these points below:
- Alcohol can cause weight gain simply because it has calories. Not only does the actual alcohol have calories, but additives and mixers that are included with many alcoholic beverages can be packed with calories as well as sugar. The calories that come from alcohol are considered empty, meaning they can pack on the pounds, but they have no nutritional value.
- If you have too much alcohol, it can also turn into fat in your liver, which then turns into fat in your blood and is likely to be stored as fat in your body.
- Alcohol can make you gain weight. It’s an appetite stimulant, so you may be more likely to eat more and also make poorer food choices if you’re drinking.
- Alcohol suppresses the central nervous system which ultimately just slows all the functions of your body down.
A Personalized Approach
Keep in mind that all of these guidelines are for the “average” person. Since the thresholds vary greatly and there are many factors involved, it’s best to take a personalized approach to find a safe level of drinking.
Ref: The Recovery Village 2018
Take Charge of Your Life. Be In Control