Alcohol is one of those substances that exists in health and wellness limbo. On one hand, there are lots of studies that tell us that drinking moderate amounts of alcohol has lots of health benefits. On the other hand, drinking one more glass than a ‘moderate’ amount leads down the road of addiction and toxicity. Consuming alcohol requires adhering to delicate balance, especially because alcohol’s health benefits and toxic properties depends on the amount that you drink. And this amount varies between individuals and the type of alcohol being consumed.
What is Alcohol?
The compound in alcohol that is responsible for its psychoactive effects – the compound that gets you drunk – is ethanol. Ethanol is a very powerful psychoactive substance that can affect both your mental state and your mood. It also impairs your judgment and removes the inhibitors regulating your behavior. Consuming too much alcohol can play havoc with your social life or interactions with people.
Alcohol and Your Liver
The liver is responsible for neutralizing various toxins, which makes it vulnerable to being damaged by alcohol intake. Consuming too much alcohol can lead to an alcoholic liver disease like fatty liver disease or cirrhosis. If the liver becomes too damaged from alcohol consumption you may need a liver transplant.
Alcohol and Your Brain
Drinking alcohol to excess can have quite a few adverse effects on your brain. The ethanol reduces the communication between brain cells and can lead to blacking out, a condition characterized by memory loss or amnesia. Most of these effects are temporary, but long term over consumption of alcohol can lead to permanent brain damage. It can also increase your risk of developing dementia due to brain shrinkage. In the very worst case scenarios, alcohol can impair your ability to lead an independent life.