The Price of Cocktails Is Even Higher Than You Think
The subject of drinking alcohol stirs up passion in many people: They either love it or they’ve sworn off of it, while many simply enjoy the occasional happy hour to socialize and unwind. But what does an excessive amount of alcohol actually do to your body?
It’s important to note the effects of alcohol vary from person to person. Many people associate modest amounts of alcohol with confidence and a warm, buzz feeling. But the short-term effects of overindulgence may include drowsiness, slurring of speech, poor coordination, nausea, vomiting, speech impairment, lack of judgment, blackouts, and possible emotional changes along with a painful morning-after hangover. And the truth is, most people have experienced at least some of these effects at some point, because it’s easy to lose track of how much we drink and how quickly—crossing the line from a moderate, normal amount to an excessive, unhealthy amount.
Casual Consumption vs. Abuse
Of course, it’s perfectly okay to enjoy a drink every now and then, but it’s important to be mindful of how much you consume in a given week and how much you consume in one sitting. More than five standard alcoholic beverages in one session is considered binge drinking, and more than nine per week is also considered abuse.1-2 So what exactly are the long-term effects of chronic alcohol abuse? While excessive consumption is harmful to anyone—often with severe side effects—chronic alcohol abuse affects each person differently.
Most immediately, alcohol impairs the connections between the central nervous system, brain, and body. The brain is the control center of the body, and it is arguably the most important organ we have. Not only does alcohol impair brain functioning, it can actually cause brain damage,3 and over many years, it can actually shrink the brain.4 Cognitive impairment, behavior changes, and hallucinations are also common, along with blackouts, slurred speech, and numbness and tingling in the extremities. Over time, alcohol abuse can damage the central nervous system. Common signs of central nervous system degradation include muscle cramping and poor coordination.
And the negative effects do not stop there. Other areas include:
The good news? Studies have shown that one glass of red wine per day for women and two per day for men can be cardio protective. 11 But again, anything more than the recommended amount might be problematic.
Always Drink Responsibly
Over consumption on a regular basis can cause the body to become dependent on alcohol. For those who are genetically prone to addiction (i.e., an addictive personality), it can be especially challenging to monitor drinking habits. Either way, dependency makes quitting even harder. That’s why it’s important for even social drinkers to realize the effects alcohol has on the body, so when they choose to drink, they may be more inclined to do so responsibly.
Before indulging in a drink or two, it’s important to be cognizant of the detrimental influence alcohol can have on our bodies—which extends far beyond impaired motor skills. If you or someone you know may be suffering from alcohol abuse, seek help as soon as possible.
Submitted by the Metagenics Marketing Team