When you go out with friends or family, or even by yourself sometimes in your free time, you might drink a glass of wine or a beer. It’s such a normal thing to do that we rarely think about the consequences of doing it.
In fact, some of us mostly hear about the benefits of drinking alcohol, which do exist. Alcohol helps with heart disease, and can create immunity, which will reduce the risk of getting a cold. Alcohol can even improve memory. It seems that alcohol is an amazing friend, but these benefits only come with moderate alcohol consumption. If you drink alcohol every day, the side effects might be a little worse and much riskier for your body.
Terry Schneekloth, MD, a doctor of psychiatry and addiction at the Mayo Clinic, said during an interview that “even if it’s just one glass of wine (5 ounces) or beer (12 ounces) or cocktail (1.5 ounces) or hard malt seltzer (8 ounces) every night, in some instances, that’s considered heavy drinking.”
The Mayo Clinic also says that it’s considered heavy drinking for women or men older than 65 years old who drink three drinks per day or more than seven drinks per week. For people under 65 years old, heavy drinking represents four drinks for any day and 14 a week.
Dr. Schneekloth says that alcohol can damage your organs and affect your health, as we all know. But this might be worse for women because they naturally have less water in their bodies than men. Hence, that’s why women and men have different guidelines when it comes to drinking.
These aren’t the only side effects. According to Mayo Clinic, things can get uglier for all of us. Keep in mind, though, that this will only happen if you drink alcohol constantly or abuse it. Not only will it affect your body, but it can even affect those around you, so consider seeking help if you think you’re drinking too much.
8. You May Get Brain Damage
Despite the fact that alcohol has been reported to be good for your memory, too much of it can damage your brain and you may develop neurological issues. Because it’s a neurotoxin, alcohol can disrupt communications in your brain, as well as affect your brain cells and cause a vitamin deficiency.
In some extreme cases, alcohol can even lead to dementia. Although, it’s worth mentioning that this is caused by several years of heavy drinking.
Finally, other side effects include difficulty walking, blurred vision, slowed reaction time, and compromised memory. Women need to be more careful, especially during pregnancy since alcohol can produce birth defects as well as problems with the development of the baby’s brain.
7. You May Start Having Issues with Your Liver
You probably already knew this one, but it’s important to remind you of the risk of damaging your liver due to heavy drinking.
The liver is an interesting organ because it’s capable of actually regenerating itself. However, that capability, along with the ability to metabolize alcohol, diminishes with the buildup of an enzyme called alcohol dehydrogenase. This enzyme creates difficulties in processing alcohol, and it even damages your cells over time.
This can ultimately cause many liver problems, like fibrosis and cirrhosis. And possibly even more serious than that, you also increase the chance of getting liver cancer.