Alcohol is part of our life. You can find it anywhere; on television, social media, in public spaces and in the workplace (Friday afternoon drinks, anyone?). Because alcohol is part of our life and culture, you would almost forget the negative effects it can have on our body and mind. An occasional drink might not be a bad thing, but who doesn’t know those awful mornings where we promise ourselves we’d never drink again. It is good to be aware of the disadvantages of alcohol, so find out more about them in this article.
After 1 or 2 glasses of alcohol, your brain already doesn’t work as well as it usually does, which is why you should, for example, don’t drink at all if you still have to drive. In addition, when you drink alcohol you will have less inhibiations in your brains. You’ll notice this effect after only a few glasses; it might make you feel a bit more confident on a night out. In the long term, excessive alcohol intake can cause serious damage, such as memory loss, also known as Korsakov syndrome.
Alcohol also adversely affects your liver. Your liver cleans your body, as it were, it filters out toxic substances (including alcohol) and works hard to break it down. Problems arise if you drink a lot more than your liver can break down; your liver can then be permanently damaged and in the worst case the liver stops functioning.
If you drink a lot you can suffer from stomach problems. In case of excessive drinking, the alcohol can cause damage to the stomach wall, which in the worst case can lead to stomach ulcers and / or stomach bleeding.
With more than 1 glass a day, alcohol starts to have a negative effect on the heart. Alcohol increases the risk of cardiac arrhythmias and high blood pressure.
You might recognize the feeling of wanting to open a nice bottle of wine after a hard and stressful day at work. Alcohol can be a way to relax and unwind, but besides its effect on your physical health, alcohol also has a major impact on your mental health. We often don’t realize that the effects of alcohol and hangovers cause (even more) anxiety and increase stress. The moment the alcohol in your body decreases, your body goes into withdrawal mode. This includes physical symptoms such as an increased heart rate, palpitations and tremors. The outcome? An increase in anxiety. One way to cope may be that you decide to start drinking again to get rid of the withdrawal symptoms; you end up in the vicious circle of fear and drinking alcohol.
Alcohol has a disinhibiting effect, you’ll feel and express both your negative as positive emotions a lot quicker and more intensely. When alcohol is involved, the chance of verbal and / or physical aggression increases. Therefore it is wise to be aware of your own personality; someone who is naturally short-tempered will find that this characteristic is enhanced the moment you drink alcohol.
Alcohol and sleep
Alcohol affects the duration, quality and depth of your sleep. You often sleep shorter and less deep, which means that both your physical and mental rest isn’t as good. Because you have not recovered properly, once you wake up you can suffer from physical complaints such as fatigue, stomach pain and headaches. Bad sleep is often accompanied by mental complaints such as sadness, irritability and forgetfulness. In addition, the combination of having a bad night’s sleep and a hangover is not a good match… recognizable?
Stay aware of the consequences
Of course, the purpose of this article is not to scare you, but to remind you of the downsides of alcohol. A drink every now and then should certainly be possible, as long as it is in moderation! More and more people are trying to drink less, and drinking alcohol is becoming less and less the standard. According to the Health Council, alcohol for adults has few risks with a maximum of 1 glass per day. Do you notice that you and / or your environment are bothered by your drinking? Do not hesitate to reach out to your doctor.