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Alcohol and Health

Often when clients choose to look after themselves by adopting a healthier lifestyle, alcohol comes up as something that does not support improving health. Some clients report having attended a function or experienced a family gathering that was an ‘alcohol-free event’ – this is something that we will see more regularly now as it is becoming socially accepted compared to the recent past where alcohol always had to be available. Yet while Alcohol-free events plus other movements like dry months are becoming more popular and doing their part to break down this strong consciousness around alcohol, sadly enough, the social pressure around drinking is still happening, and some clients report being pressured to join in drinking alcohol at parties, events and work functions. Clients often want to know how ‘badly’ these habits affect their health, so here are some of the reasons why rethinking the relationship with alcohol would be beneficial for your health.

4 great reasons to stop drinking alcohol.

Improve your immune health.
Reduce your risk of getting cancer.
Improve heart health.
Feel vital in the morning and enjoy NOT having hangovers.

The effect of Alcohol on the Brain

If alcohol was invented today, it would be classified as a drug and its use restricted. It has been associated by its effects with a range of other drugs, including prescription-only and illegal drugs such as heroin.

Drinking a few glasses of wine or any other alcoholic beverage has the following effects on our body:

The first effect is a false calming response, similar to a Tranquilizer – like taking Diazepam. Interestingly, during travel, after the seatbelt sign is off, alcohol is served immediately. Could this be because 30% of people have a phobia about flying.

Secondly, most people become artificially energized when drinking alcohol, and besides the temporary lift the sugar in the alcohol gives them, it also activates two Neurotransmitters – Dopamine and Serotonin. Alcohol targets Dopamine in a similar way to using Cocaine, giving you an artificial energy boost. Another drug that increases Serotonin like alcohol is Prozac (a strong Antidepressant), which affects your mood. Both drugs come with a range of side-effects.

The third effect is that at some point your body begins to turn on the same brain system that heroin does, affecting brain receptors involved in reward, pleasure and the perception of pain. This activation can cause a rapid rise in brain activity resulting in the sensation of a ‘rush’, which may eventually lead to an addiction. Developing an addiction, the brain craves the reward of the substance, due to the intense stimulation of the brain’s reward system which can lead to a host of euphoric feelings and strange behavioral traits.

And last, but not least, the final fourth stage in the effects of alcohol makes it harder for those areas of the brain controlling balance, memory, speech and judgement. Taken in excessive quantities, it works like an Anesthetic which makes people go to sleep and if they have too much Anesthetic, they can stop breathing and die. The same happens with alcohol, and for this reason people can die from over-consuming alcohol.

So yes, in effect you could compare the effects of alcohol on the brain with consuming a cocktail of all those drugs and prescription-only pharmaceutical drugs in one dose in every glass. Most people are well aware that these drugs and prescription-only pharmaceutical drugs come with a range of side effects and risks to our health, and consuming alcohol has many more then the above mentioned. Now that’s a sobering thought 😊