There are a lot of certified bad habits in the world that we live in and drinking alcohol certainly has a crucial spot in this list. While most of us enjoy drinking alcohol, there is an equal majority of us who exploit ourselves in the high that our bodies receive after consuming alcohol. And everybody knows this well known fact that if we drink too much, it can create serious problems on our health and that also includes damaging our liver completely. On the contrary, a lot of gatherings, be it at home or at the workplace, do serve alcohol on the table and in most people’s worlds consuming alcohol is a sign of socializing and is also regarded as a standard living practice. How can one say no to alcohol when it is being served for free on your table, right?
So, how much alcohol is the right amount of consumption and how much of it is too much for our health?
Did you know that for damaging the liver, the amount of alcohol that a patient must have been consuming is at least 21 units per week that is around say two bottles of wine per week or two pints of beer per day. However, we need to understand that it isn’t just that drinking excessively can damage —Even our brain gets damaged! Overdrinking is directly associated with increased chances of dementia. And according to a recent study that was published says that even if you are drinking moderately it directly decreases your brain’s volume – in short, it shrinks your brain.
Heavy alcohol consumption has definitely been associated with brain damage. However, certain studies conducted by the University of Pennsylvania state that even when a person is drinking moderately, it can have a severe impact on the brain’s size and structure. And it could also lead to permanent cognitive impairment.
For example, a certain case study says that a 50-year-old person who drank pints of beer once a day on an average effectively aged their brain with +2 years. And those who consume at least four drinks on an average every single day had the brain of a 10-year-old.
So, what is the right amount of alcohol for consumption?
NIAAA also known as National Institute of alcohol abuse and alcoholism is known to set certain guidelines that tell us about drinking levels that can be considered safe. Which is one drink for women daily and two drinks for men daily,, even these levels can cause detectable and harmful changes on the brain. Presuming a certain level of safe drinking is inadequate. Drinking in general takes a toll on the gray and white matter that can be seen inside of the tree. And with every single drink that you take, the damage to the brain gets extensive.
Frontal lobe damage
It is very common for most of us to focus on the disease called dementia when we talk about the effects of alcohol on our brain. We basically look for decreased memory capacity or any changes in the memory. After all, when we see dementia, it means memory loss. We seldom realize that it is the brain’s Frontal lobe which is actually destroyed by alcohol at a very early stage than the other parts of the brain that are connected with memory. Now you might wonder what are frontal lobes? They are responsible for controlling our ability to think, behavior, and our personality. Therefore it is very important for us to detect brain damage at an earlier stage.
How does alcohol damage the brain?
Alcohol starts by reducing the brain volume and it does so by causing the cells in our brain to expel water. It is a systematic effect of desiccating nature and when we say the brain loses its volume it doesn’t necessarily mean that the brain has lost its ability to function. However, repeatedly drinking can lead to severe problematic negative effects in the brain.
Therefore we can say that drinking doesn’t really kill the brain cells; however, we can accurately say that it definitely can disrupt the function of brain cells.
We understand that it is very surprising to know that alcohol has serious potential of damaging the brain and it might be even difficult for society to accept the same. For example, it is amongst the people who are aged between 55 and 73 who have shown most harm after consuming alcohol when compared to previous generations. They are exposed to higher risk of dementia than other younger age groups.
So, how do we tackle this problem? We need to change our attitude towards drinking and how we look at healthcare in the first place. We need to educate people about the effects of drinking on not just the brain but other organs of the body as well. If we observe, it is those who already have a Weikel mental health that resort to consumption of alcohol therefore government bodies need to take it upon themselves to issue policies that will improve public health and also mental health of their people. As a society, we need to support each other in terms of physical and mental health and avoid falling prey to bad habits such as consumption of alcohol. Cutting down the consumption of alcohol or giving it up completely will help our brain to stay healthy and function beautifully.