How alcohol affects your brain and body

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We’re not suggesting you shouldn’t drink alcohol, but research shows that every drink changes you. Here’s how.

There are generally two camps for drinkers.

There’s the ‘Alcohol is constant proof that God loves us and wants to see us happy’ camp. Then there’s the ‘Alcohol is the perfect solvent. It dissolves marriages, families and careers’ camp.

You can argue for either camp as much as you want. The indisputable facts are that alcohol, be it an expensive wine or a glass of beer, changes your body, changes your personality, changes your decision-making abilities and can affect your health.

For example, it’s a fact that within seconds of your first drink, alcohol enters your brain. For most people, it slows your reflexes, affects your memory and alters your demeanour.

If you’re a heavy drinker, alcohol can actually shrink your brain, and that can have a profound effect on a wide range of body functions.

You might argue that some effects are good. You might feel more relaxed, more confident and less inhibited. You might also become loud and aggressive or you might go the other way and become dozy and dull.

Either way, you will change, and you must recognise that one drink will make you change, and every drink after that will make you change more. 

The World Health Organisation’s Global Burden of Disease report estimates that alcohol-attributable violence accounts for 248,000 deaths annually worldwide, and American research shows that about 40 per cent of inmates convicted of violent offences were under the influence of alcohol when they committed the crime.

Some people believe that drinking helps them sleep, but research presented by WebMD says this is largely a fallacy. You might drop off quickly, but it won’t be the sound, deep sleep that the body needs because your body is working hard to process the alcohol. This is likely to cause you to toss and turn, and perhaps even get up a few times to go to the toilet.

And maybe not just to urinate. Alcohol lines your stomach and can cause nausea and vomiting. It can unbalance your bowels, leave you dehydrated and damage your liver and kidneys.

But that’s not the worst of it.

Some organs struggle to process alcohol, such as the pancreas, which can become inflamed and unable to make insulin, leading to diabetes. Drinking also increases your chances of developing pancreatic cancer.

And we are yet to mention the likelihood of weaker bones, hearing loss, irregular heartbeat and increased blood pressure.

Alcohol-related problems have been recognised for decades as being among the world’s major health concerns.

So don’t think you’re immune just because you believe that “I can hold my booze” or because you’re an experienced drinker and your body is used to it. Every drink has an impact, and that’s irrefutable.

Do you enjoy a daily glass of something alcoholic? Are you concerned about the possible health consequences?

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Written by Janelle Ward


Total Comments: 9
  1. 0

    Oh come come now. You are talking about alcohol excess. You could make exactly the same argument for food, water or a bullet. (And yes I am a Doctor). Anything taken into the body by whatever mode of entry will alter function of one or more of its organ systems albeit temporarily. In the same way excessive food is harmful and excessive water intake can be fatal (via sodium depletion)

    • 0

      Exactly, agree – enjoy my 2-3 wines 5days wkly whilst dinner is cooking & playing catch/chase tennis ball with my super spesh Border Collie. In great health for oldie, have 2 days off any alcohol wkly & eat lots of vegies, chicken & fish thrice + huge T-bone steak wkly!! Happy Chappie. Life’s a gift, value it enormously altho’ happily dismiss all the no-says/fear-mongers. Have never & will never drink/drive.

  2. 0

    I enjoy a `tipple` daily..have done for many years..(80 yrs old)It just takes the edge of your worries etc etc It may have an effect on your ORGANS..but who cares at my age?HIC!!!

  3. 0

    You forgot to tell us the research was carried out by the Wowsers Society. If any of that even approached the truth, the planet would not have an overpopulation problem.
    I have a solution to the deficit, stop giving grants to charlatans like these and their ‘peers’ who positively ‘review’ the results so they can get the next grant!
    This will save billions!

    • 0

      Exactly “FatC” – never ceases to amaze me how often health researchers “change their mind, eg: last yr daily eggs were good, even 2 eggs daily – this yr not even one daily is healthy. I worked in the health & research industry for many decades & know only too well that if researchers don’t publish “a finding” yrlky they would lose many $s of their annual research grants. Just eat what your body wants/drink what like in moderation & even have a few smokes, max of 10 daily when pregnant (as we were told back in late 60s/early 70s when almost everyone over 16 smoked & many still alive to pester our kids/grandkids (altho’ they love us), be a so called “burden” on society. Today’s “just be perfect – don’t hug a work-mate (even if just like ’em)/don’t offend anyone when choose to be honest but not obnoxious/don’t eat meat/ride bikes instead of drive cars etc etc etc. It’s all so much crap, sick of hearing/reading abt it….
      o wonder our younger generations are suffering from more anxiety than our parents & we were – confusion with conflicting advice from resdearchs/media. Don’t get me started on drug proliferation in todays teens/early 20s……reckon up to 10 smokes daily would be far less harmful than a daily or 2 “Ice” hit, however smokes are more expensive. Our society’s stuffed, need to look @ Nordic nations, far smarter than our Pollies/Regulators.

  4. 0

    The truth hurts?! It seemed a reasonably balanced article which could be called Stating the Bleeding Obvious.

  5. 0

    Alcohol is a transitional membrane – it stitches together old and deep wounds for a short time, and should be listed on the PBS under self-medication (with a referral) and attract a Medicare rebate…

    • 0

      Love it Trebor – agree, altho’ would be monitored by your GP if on prescription. Would u tell
      your GP if got “smashed” with all your friends @ a “to dawn” great party, just for the fun of it? He/She would probably refer u to a Clinical Psychologist.



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