I’ve got some bad news for you. Alcohol is not a health food. Despite earlier research that touted the benefits of how a glass of red wine can help with heart disease, more recent studies have found that the potential consequences of drinking booze far outweigh the benefits of it.
One of the most common misconceptions people have is that the damage from alcohol only affects those who drink heavily. No question that binge drinkers and those who meet criteria for alcohol use disorder have a high risk of health consequences, but it turns out that even people who drink far less can also be jeopardizing the health of their body and brain. In fact, some of the newest published research suggests that any level of alcohol consumption can boost the risk of some very serious diseases.No matter how you look at it, drinking alcohol can jeopardize the health of your body and brain. Click To Tweet
Given how common drinking is, that’s pretty scary news! And while I’m not here to judge another person’s decisions, I think it’s helpful to understand what you might be going up against if you choose to drink regularly.
5 Serious Health Problems from Alcohol
As I’ve said before, I believe knowledge is power, and once we know more about something, it becomes easier to make better and informed decisions. So, with that in mind, here are 5 of the numerous health problems connected to alcohol that I think you should be aware of:
- The “Big C” – And not just one type. Alcohol is essentially a toxin and numerous studies have found a significant connection between alcohol use and an increased risk for cancer in these parts of the body:
- Oral cavity (basically all areas of your mouth)
- Larynx (voice box) and pharynx
- Weight Gain and Obesity – There are several factors that influence this but one of the primary ones is that our body has to get rid of the alcohol in our system because we can’t store it. Therefore, it uses it for energy instead of burning fat. Alcohol also suppresses the hormone leptin, which normally regulates hunger, so these factors plus the reduced self-control around food after a few drinks is an easy recipe for gaining weight.
- Depression – Even if alcohol makes you feel good for a while, it is a depressant that slows down activity in the brain. On one hand, this fosters the relaxed, more carefree response you might get with that first drink. But on the other hand, if someone suffers with depression, the alcohol will eventually magnify their symptoms, making them feel sadder or more hopeless—and in some cases—raising the risk of suicide.
- Memory Problems and Dementia – Too much alcohol can shrink the part of the brain that is critical for learning and memory. Alcohol can also interfere with the development of new brain cells in this area. Over time, the damage from drinking can become very serious leading to a condition called alcohol-related brain damage, the symptoms of which resemble Alzheimer’s disease.
- Liver Diseases – It is likely not surprising to anyone that heavy drinking can lead to numerous problems for this vital organ. The liver breaks down alcohol, and as it does, more harmful substances are created that damage liver cells. This in turn can lead to fatty liver disease, hepatitis, cirrhosis, and even liver failure and death.
In a nutshell, alcohol can do way more harm than good, especially if you imbibe on a regular basis. So be smart about it and carefully consider the potential long-term consequences of it.
If I had my way, I’d tell you to take a break from drinking and notice how much more energy you have, what it feels like to wake up with a clear head, and how you might even shed a few pounds without trying 😉
If you’re struggling and need professional help, Amen Clinics is here for you. We offer in-clinic brain scanning and appointments, as well as mental telehealth, remote clinical evaluations, and video therapy for adults, children, and couples. Find out more by speaking to a specialist today at 888-288-9834 or visit our contact page here.