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The Adverse Effects of Alcohol Consumption

Having a drink every now and again is social, fun and a nice way to unwind after long day at work. Just like all nice things, drinking alcohol must be done in moderation and with care.

Again, like all nice things, there’s the good and the bad, and the things we don’t know… In this article, we’d like to share some of the adverse effects that alcohol can have on your health both physically and mentally.

effects of alcohol consumption

Recommended Alcohol Consumption

A standard drink is:

  • 355ml of beer
  • 148ml of wine
  • 44ml of brandy, cognac, or distilled liquor

Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)

Signs of Alcohol Use Disorder include, but are not limited to:

  • Drinking more than you intended to,
  • Being unable to cut back on alcohol consumption,
  • Or continuing to drink despite it causing problems with family or friends.

AUD can be classified as mild, moderate, or severe and affects a lot of people.

It’s extremely easy to slip into habitual drinking and once you have, it’s even easier to become dependent on alcohol.

Increased Stress and Loneliness

Feelings of isolation and stress may increase your desire to overdrink. However, drinking excessively during a stressful situation may lead to an increase in stress and increased feelings of loneliness.

During the COVID-19 lockdown, health experts noted that boredom, economic uncertainty, and stress are all factors that could lead to a reoccurring alcohol use disorder.

Additionally, long-term, heavy drinking causes an increase anxiety and a decreased ability to deal with stress which is caused by a higher release of certain stress hormones.

Long-term, heavy drinkers will experience higher levels of anxiety when dealing with stressful situations than someone who does not drink or who only drinks moderate amounts.

Decreased Immune Health

A study published in the Alcohol Research Current Reviews report, looked at the coloration between excessive alcohol consumption and immune-related health problems and found that heavy drinkers have an increased risk for contracting pneumonia.

The study’s results showed that alcohol disrupts immune pathways which impairs the body’s ability to defend itself against infection. In addition, alcohol contributes to organ damage associated with alcohol consumption and hinders tissue injury recovery.

Compromised Bone Health

There are many studies focussed on the effects liquor consumption has on bone health.

While one study showed that light drinking may reduce the risk of fracture in postmenopausal women, most studies indicate that alcohol consumption negatively impacts bone health.

Additionally, a large-scale, widely cited research review for the National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism concludes that chronic, heavy alcohol consumption in women increases the risk of osteoporosis and compromises bone health.

Increased Risk of Heart Disease and Stroke

Alcohol abuse is one of the most common causes of reversible hypertension. It accounts for roughly one-third of all cases of nonischemic dilated cardiomyopathy.

Additionally, it’s a common cause of atrial fibrillation, and it significantly increases the risk of having a stroke—both ischemic and haemorrhagic.

Weight Again & Obesity

Alcohol offers zero nutritional value and contains 7 calories per gram – as opposed to 4 calories per gram of protein / carbohydrate.

With such a high calorie count, it’s no surprise that excessive drinking is associated with unhealthy weight gain and obesity.

Contraindications

Some over the counter prescription medications cause drowsiness and should not be taken with alcohol. In most cases, a label on your prescription should indicate whether alcohol consumption is safe.

Always make sure by checking with your healthcare provider.

Comments are closed for this post, but if you have spotted an error or have additional info that you think should be in this post, feel free to contact us.

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