A Toxic Truth
Alcohol, we have all had experience with it, crazy nights and stories filled with blank memories and friends filling in the gaps for us. It can be fun, but we know it can also be deadly, or otherwise a life ruiner. But how many of us are aware of the effects alcohol has on the mind and body? I am not speaking of the slurred speech, wonky walking, or even our impaired vision. No, I am speaking of the more lasting damage to cells in the brain and organs in the body.
I have never been against alcohol, in moderation. But after some terrible experiences myself I have nearly given it up completely, only to have a glass of wine now and then. I recently became more intrigued when a few friends of mine mentioned depression and reaching for the bottle when they were stressed or had a hard day. Don't get me wrong, this post is not to rag on anyone and I dearly love my friends. This post came about over the concern and knowing of the damage that consistent or heavy drinking will do to the body. There is no judgment to anyone in this post, let this be known. This is important to me to inform everyone who follows me the consequences of alcohol. I fully believe in moderation. I myself partake in a glass of wine now and then or a nice dry 4-olive martini. But if I am to advise and guide and expand your awareness of health and healthy living, this post must exist.
Since the brain is one of my top favorite areas of the body to study I wanted to start there. This is probably the most common area that people know about as well. I wanted to begin in the brain because the brain is the control center for the ENTIRE body. Without it your nerves wouldn't send signals for pain, or even move your legs, or breathe. Things we think are simple, but are natural reactions the brain has to keep the body safe. The brain houses the chemicals we need to keep a positive and happy mood. When alcohol enters the bloodstream and starts to wander the brain is one of the first stops. You may feel quite swell at first, maybe see that attractive individual across the room and have enough courage to speak up. There goes the neurotransmitters and receptors literally dying off inside your brain. Maybe things go really well and you hit it off, so you have a few more.... back to back to back. Too much alcohol consumption, even in a single night can have major damaging effects. Not being able to remember is your body's way of shutting down to try and protect itself. You have over-done it! Anger, depression and even anxiety can be side effects from a single night of heavy drinking due to the lowering of serotonin in the brain. Much like anything else, it takes time for the body to produce and secrete more to mix with dopamine and possibly oxytocin to boost your mood back up. So when you have that nasty hangover the next day and feel down, it is not just due to dehydration but the lack of the proper chemical balance only your body knows to keep you happy and going.
Among the increasing and incredibly common illnesses rising in our country, is depression. I have experienced this and I still have friends and family members who fight it every day. I understand it fully, but I can tell you that reaching for the bottle after a hard or stressful, even downer of a day may feel like a great choice now, but later you may regret it. Alcohol is a suppressant, and in fact adds to the effects that depression and even anxiety take on the body. If you are already prone to depression, drinking and waking up the next day will worsen the effects. In some adults it lasts much longer than a single day of a hangover. There are factors involved that make its lasting effects different for everyone such as;
As I stated before, memory loss is a huge downfall to nights of heavy drinking or drinking consistently. If you are like a lot of us out there, you are concerned and trying to avoid any degenerative cognitive illness/diseases. I could tell you that cutting out drinking all together is the best route, but let's be honest here....nobody wants to be healthy 100% of the time.
There is a lot more that comes along with heavy drinking, which I am sure we will get into in another post in the near future as we dive deeper into the digestive system.
Enjoy your fun nights. Just be aware, moderate, be safe, and remember the consequences that come with the really really fun nights that you may not remember all of.
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