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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains “ethyl alcohol, or ethanol, is an intoxicating ingredient found in beer, wine, and liquor. Alcohol is produced by the fermentation of yeast, sugars, and starches.” As a central nervous system depressant, alcohol works by slowing down vital functions in one’s body. Harvard Health explains that “alcohol directly influences the stomach, brain, heart, gallbladder, and liver. It affects levels of lipids (cholesterol and triglycerides) and insulin in the blood, as well as inflammation and coagulation. It also alters mood, concentration, and coordination.” Hence, drinking too much alcohol can cause an array of unwanted physiological consequences, as alcohol has the propensity to:

  • Increase the risk of certain cancers: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the more alcohol you consume, the greater your risk of developing certain types of cancer. Approximately 50% of cancers of the mouth, pharynx, and larynx in America are associated with heavy drinking. Further, according to a study in the July 13 edition of Lancet Oncology, at least 4% of the world’s newly diagnosed cases of esophageal, mouth, larynx, colon, rectum, liver, and breast cancers in 2020, can be attributed to alcohol consumption.
  • Impair sleep: A 2014 University of Missouri-Columbia study found that drinking alcohol as a method of getting to sleep disrupts the body’s sleep homeostasis, or sleep regulator, and adversely affects one’s natural sleep cycles. The disruption in sleep patterns caused by alcohol can affect one’s energy levels and mood.
  • Shift hormone levels: Alcohol can lower testosterone levels in men, and can increase testosterone and estradiol levels in women. Increased hormone levels can stimulate oil glands, and increased oil can lead to clogged pores and acne. Heavy alcohol consumption has also been linked to psoriasis, an inflammatory skin disease.
  • Prompt weight gain: Alcohol contains calories, and although they are metabolized differently than food, they must be accounted for. Drinking alcohol can suppress the hormone leptin, which controls appetite. Research has found that the presence of alcohol can impede the release of glucose, elevating one’s blood sugar levels, which in turn can increase the risk for developing cardiovascular complications and metabolic problems (e.g., diabetes).
  • Exacerbate anxiety: While drinking alcohol can result in fleeting feelings of relaxation, it is not uncommon for an individual to experience increased feelings of anxiety after the initial effects of alcohol wear off. Alcohol reduces the amount of serotonin (the neurotransmitter that works to stabilize one’s mood, happiness, and feelings of well-being) in the brain, and low levels of serotonin are associated with increased anxiety.

For Information and Support

If you are concerned for yourself or a loved one regarding substance abuse and/ or addiction, we recommend reaching out for help as soon as possible. If left untreated, substance abuse can result in long lasting and potentially life-threatening consequences. Keep in mind: you are not alone! There is an entire network of professionals that are available to help and support you and your loved one throughout the recovery process. The earlier you seek support, the sooner your loved one can return to a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life.

Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions regarding our specific program at Haven House Addiction Treatment and/ or general substance abuse and/ or addiction treatment related information. Our highly trained staff is readily available to discuss how we might best be able to help you and your loved one. We can be reached by phone at 424-258-6792. You are also welcomed to contact anytime us via email at admissions@hhtxc.com.