There are a number of ways in which alcohol can be a destructive force to your body. Although this might seem obvious, when we are at a social gathering or when we are with friends, it’s easy to forget just how dangerous alcohol can be.
In fact, the list of health risks list is long when it comes to drinking alcohol. However, it should be pointed out that there are some health benefits to drinking, but this is when drinking alcohol is done in moderation, such as having one glass of wine with dinner. Moderate drinking, according to research, is good for the heart and the circulatory system. It can also protect against type 2 diabetes as well as gallstones. Yet, anything beyond moderate drinking (one glass of alcohol per day) can become even lethal to the body. The dose makes a significant difference in whether alcohol is a medicine or poison.
Alcohol is a liquid that is colorless, flammable, and comes in various forms. The form that is most commonly known is ethyl alcohol (ethanol), the kind of alcohol used in beverages such as wine, beer, and liquor. It is produced through the fermentation of grains and fruits, which happens when yeast acts upon certain ingredients in food and creates alcohol. Beer and wine are drinks that are fermented and can contain anywhere from 2% to 20% alcohol. And other drinks that are distilled, such as liquor, can contain anywhere from 40% to 50% of alcohol. Of course, it’s well known that alcohol, when consumed, distorts perception and judgment and can affect an individual’s mood. It can also slow down one’s reaction time, making it dangerous to drink before getting behind the wheel.
Alcohol can affect the stomach, brain, heart, gallbladder, and liver. It affects the contents of the bloodstream as well as affects mood, concentration, and coordination. With excessive drinking, each of these is affected in severe ways. For instance, one of the most common illnesses of alcoholism is disease of the liver, such as hepatitis or cirrhosis. The liver is an organ that filters toxins from the blood stream, including alcohol. However, with too much alcohol in the body, the liver has a hard time keeping itself healthy. The liver simply cannot keep up. Because of this, an inflammation of the liver develops, also known as alcohol hepatitis. There are approximately over 2 million Americans who suffer from alcohol hepatitis.
If you’re wondering about how to gain the benefits of alcohol moderately but also avoiding the risks of too much drinking, you might be asking yourself what exactly would be the right amount to drink? According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, men should avoid drinking no more than 4 drinks in a day or no more than 14 drinks per week. Women should avoid drinking no more than 3 drinks in a day or no more than 7 drinks per week. In the U.S., one drink is considered to be 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1½ ounces of hard liquor, such as gin or whiskey. Each of these proportions delivers about 12 to 14 grams of alcohol.
Some experts say that it’s difficult to say an exact amount to drink or not drink because it varies among each person. It also may depend upon whether you’re drinking alcohol on an empty stomach or with a meal, for instance. Lastly, the environment in which you drink might also make a difference. For instance, if you’re drinking in a relaxed setting, around a table with friends, your body may be able to process the alcohol differently than when at a club or bar.
There’s no question that alcohol is dangerous when consumed excessively. Anyone in this situation should contact a mental health professional for assistance.
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