April is Alcohol Awareness Month – which is a great time to talk about some of the many ways that drinking too much – on a single occasion or over time – can take a serious toll on your health.
In fact, accidents and addiction are only part of the story when it comes to the damage caused by alcohol abuse. Drinking can also have a negative impact on your appearance, organs, immune system and more.
- Your skin: Alcohol causes the blood vessels in your face to dilate up on the skin, resulting in a red and ruddy face. Plus, if you have a skin condition like rhodesia or psoriasis, alcohol can trigger a flare.
- Your weight: When you binge drink, you’re putting tons of empty calories into your body – and yet you’ll still be hungry. Drinking also weakens your judgement and can easily interfere with healthy eating habits.
- Your immune system: Some studies show that your immune system is reduced after drinking alcohol. Chronic drinkers are more liable to contract diseases like pneumonia and tuberculosis than people who do not drink too much. And drinking a lot on a single occasion slows your body’s ability to ward off infections – even up to 24 hours after getting drunk, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).
- Your sleep: Alcohol upsets your REM (rapid eye movement) cycle, or the phase of sleep most important for your body to rest.
- Your brain: Alcohol suppresses three parts of your brain: the frontal lobes (helps you make decisions); the amygdala (warns us of danger and makes us feel afraid, worried and anxious); and the hippocampus (makes memories).
- Your heart: Drinking can damage the heart, leading to the following problems, notes the NIAAA:
- Cardiomyopathy (stretching and drooping of heart muscle)
- Arrhythmias (irregular heart beat)
- High blood pressure
Stopping the Side Effects of Alcoholism
The best way to combat the physical and emotional health consequences of a substance use disorder is early intervention. Don’t wait. If you or someone you love has a drinking problem, Red Oak can help you get the help you need today. Call: 866.457.7426.