If you’re like most people, you probably drink alcohol regularly. According to statistics, there were 136.8 million drinkers in the US in 2013.
But have you wondered what alcohol is doing to your body and brain?
Sure, if you can stick to one drink a day, the effects aren’t that huge. But many people find it hard to stop once they’ve had a couple drinks and the cumulative effects can add up.
If you’re searching for a way to stop, perhaps listening to Dr. Samuel Ball explaining why alcohol is one of the most dangerous substances on the planet will motivate you. Check it out:
As soon as you consume alcohol, around 33% of it gets absorbed into the blood through the stomach lining. The remaining alcohol is absorbed more slowly into the blood through the small intestine.
Once it’s in the bloodstream, alcohol spreads into almost every biological tissue in the body, as cell membranes are highly permeable.
The recommended maximum intake of alcohol is 2 drinks per day for men and 1 drink per day for women. Consuming more than this can be problematic.
Five or more drinks per day for men (4 for women) is considered binge drinking.
What alcohol is doing to your brain
The effects of alcohol on the brain are quite complex.
Just about any substance that we get pleasure from tends to affect the brain processes that are involved in reward and control.
And over time with addiction, the brain gets used to having alcohol and the dopamine receptors become less sensitive. Stopping results in problems because your brain isn’t ready for it. That’s what happens with withdrawal.
But it’s not just the reward system in the brain that alcohol affects. Alcohol affects many other areas of the brain, such as memory and motor coordination.
What alcohol is doing to your body
According to Dr. Samuel Ball, when someone becomes alcohol dependent, it can be one of the most destructive drugs to various parts of the body and different organ systems.
From the top-down, alcohol can have significant affects on cognitive impairment, memory loss, lack of motor coordination.
It can also cause esophageal problems, down to the stomach and pancreatitis, and also liver disease because the liver helps get rid toxic things throughout the body.
When that starts shutting down, it’s unable to process alcohol and get rid of its by-products, which can lead to other organs from losing functioning.
Worst case scenarios can be things like alcohol related dementia or delirium, which are serious problems that can lead to people going into nursing homes.