How Drinking Affects Health and Wellness
Published: July 1, 2021
Many people like to enjoy a glass of wine or beer every now and again as a way to socialize with friends. In this case, drinking alcohol in moderation, along with consuming a healthy diet and staying active, may not dramatically affect your health and wellness. But drinking too much alcohol can harm your physical and mental health.
Alcohol is classified as a depressant. It is a psychoactive drug that affects the way we think and behave after consumption. It slows down the body’s reflexes and affects balance and coordination. In most cases, it makes people feel more confident and relaxed, causing a person to do something that they may not do while sober.
Let’s dive deeper into both the mental and physical health effects caused by alcohol.
Mental Health Effects of Alcohol Consumption
A glass of wine or a beer after a stressful day may sound like an appealing way to end your night and help you relax. However, in the long-term, doing so more than once or twice a week can contribute to increased stress, anxiety and depression.
Alcohol has damaging effects on the complex structures of the brain. Alcohol blocks the chemical signals between brain cells, which lead to the common symptoms associated with drinking, such as poor memory, slowed reflexes, impulsive behavior, etc. The long-term reality of drinking is that it can deplete certain chemicals in the brain, which may leave a person feeling even worse than when they first picked up that glass of wine or beer.
Alcohol use can also play a role in the development and progression of certain mental health conditions. People that already have or are at-risk of a mental health condition that abuse alcohol may have worse symptoms.
Physical Health Effects of Alcohol Consumption
It shouldn’t be a surprise to you that alcohol isn’t good for your physical health. In the long-term, alcohol use can cause some serious health problems and is linked to several issues, including:
High Blood Pressure: When a person has a single alcoholic drink, it can cause an acute rise in blood pressure. Eventually this is resolved within 2 hours. However, continued alcohol use across several days may create a more sustained rise in blood pressure.
Heart Disease and Stroke: Long-term alcohol use can contribute to heart disease and stroke. Research indicates that excessive alcohol use can “affect the risk of coronary heart disease by acting on other proteins involved in blood clot formation and fibrinolysis.”
Liver Disease: The liver is a complex organ with several functions, such as filtering toxins from the blood, aiding digestion of food, and regulating blood sugar and cholesterol levels. According to research, every time your liver filters alcohol, some of the liver cells die, which can cause serious and permanent damage to your liver.
Digestive Problems: Large amounts of alcohol can overwhelm the gastrointestinal tract (GI) and liver, leading to damage both within the GI tract and in other organs.
Cancer: According to the MD Anderson Cancer Center, “the ethanol in alcoholic drinks breaks down the acetaldehyde, a known carcinogen. This compound damages DNA and stops our cells from repairing the damage. This can allow cancerous cells to grow.”
Contact Rockland Treatment
At Rockland Treatment, we understand how consuming addiction is and how intimidating it is to take the first step to a better, sober life. Your path to recovery and wellness starts with the first step. Contact us for a free assessment, and allow us to show you how our program can help you lead the life you want, unshackled by addiction and surrounded with love.