The Effects of Alcohol on Wellness
- 14 April 2022 14 April 2022
Many of us drink alcohol to relax and socialise. Alcohol can be part of a healthy lifestyle as long as you drink in moderation and combine it with regular exercise and a healthy diet. However, drinking alcohol excessively or when it can be considered harmful is proven to have many adverse effects on your mental and physical health. Drinking a large amount over a long period of time can cause you to develop a higher tolerance to alcohol, where you may no longer experience the short-term side effects that you might have otherwise. Ultimately, alcohol can present many adverse effects on the body. Here we will discuss these health implications and how this can impact you now, and in the further future.
Alcohol consumption can have a considerable effect on our diet and nutrition, a lot of the time without us even realising. Verywell Mind state clinical research indicates that replacing dietary carbohydrates with alcohol causes body weight loss and adding alcohol to an adequate diet causes weight gain. So, we can see the consumption of alcohol is proven to affect our bodies’ metabolism and digestive system.
In terms of nutrition itself, did you know when large amounts of alcohol are consumed the body can also senses that its caloric needs have been met? Interesting right? Well, this actually decreases the body’s demand for other foods and more importantly, nutrients! The calories that alcohol possesses don’t provide any vitamins or minerals the body needs to function day-to-day such as protein, fats or carbohydrates.
Getting into the habit of cutting alcohol out of your everyday routine or other times when it’s not necessary is crucial when striving for weight management and nutrition-friendly living. An alcohol-free wellness retreat can be a good chance to receive expert guidance, try non-alcoholic drink alternatives and condition yourself to start or continue on your detox journey!
Mental Health & Cognitive Functions
Alcohol doesn’t just affect how we function physically, but it can also have a considerable impact on our mental health and motor functions. The brain contains neurotransmitters, which are chemical messengers that transmit signals between brain cells and then sends information throughout the body. Dopamine is one of those key messengers which is responsible for delivering our most positive emotions such as motivation, pleasure and overall mood. Alcohol triggers a much higher than normal increase in dopamine levels and as we continue to consume alcohol, the brain adjusts to these high levels and starts to naturally produce less dopamine.
One study by the journal Alcohol Health and Research World states that even a small amount of alcohol can cause an increase in dopamine levels, creating a ‘rewarding effect’ and can promote alcohol consumption as a result. Now, what would this do to our mental health? Exactly what you’d expect, and it’s nothing to aspire towards. Dopamine makes us feel happier, more motivated and raises our self-esteem. When these levels decrease however, it can leave us feeling depressed and unmotivated.
The brain is the most important organ in our bodies for a reason, controlling our emotions, memory, senses, organs and motor functions. Alcohol supresses the functions we use to formulate judgements, sustain coordination and retain memories. An effective detox retreat can introduce you to new innovative ways to reduce stress, improve your mood and better your sleep. Even if you’re not sure how to go about cutting out alcohol or substances from your life, experts and medical professionals are there to help and will be with you every step of the way!
Long-Term Implications of Alcohol
We’ve spoken about how alcohol can affect people in the short-term as well as some aspects of long-term alcohol use, but now let’s look at some of the more serious implications of alcohol misuse. Organs including the brain, heart, liver, pancreas and nervous system are known to be damaged from long-term misuse. Heavy drinking can also increase your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, which are both major influencers of heart attacks and strokes. The liver is one of the organs most affected by heavy alcohol usage, potentially leading to serious medical conditions such as liver disease or cancer.
Long-term misuse can also take a rather big toll on your immune system, making you more susceptible to illness and serious infections. So, if you’re looking to build up or maintain a healthy immune system, an immunity boosting wellness getaway offers the perfect opportunity to do so! A healthy break such as this will help you to detoxify, cleanse and strengthen your immune system, prompting valuable changes into your lifestyle. Whether it’s a small bad habit of drinking alcohol when maybe it’s not needed or a more serious drinking issue that you want to shake, don’t face it alone! There are countless people and tools waiting to help you make those all-important lifestyle changes!
So, we’ve covered a lot of ground here regarding the short and long-term implications of alcohol use and how this affects wellness and it’s understandable that it’s a lot to take in! However, understanding how even the smallest bit of alcohol can impact your health is very important when helping yourself or others to make crucial lifestyle changes. Now, don’t think we’re telling you to give up alcohol all together, because that’s definitely not the case! But we do believe being able to retain helpful information about this topic is extremely important. Whether you’re looking to make some drastic alterations to your day-to-day habits or even just detox your mind and body for a period of time, it can all have a big positive impact on your health now, and in the future!