Despite how much drinking alcohol is a part of American culture, it can cause a number of problems for both your mental and physical health. Thinning bones, infertility, sexual dysfunction — the real risks of drinking alcohol may surprise you. Many people do not discuss the risks of drinking alcohol, but it is a conversation many people need to be aware of. Find out what you may be signing up for with these common yet lesser-known alcohol-related dangers including the risk of alcohol addiction.
Your Brain Shrinks
Do drugs and alcohol kill brain cells? This sounds like a scare tactic parents might use to prevent teen drinking. But there’s some truth to it. In fact, studies show that one of the risks of drinking alcohol is the shrinking of the frontal lobes of your brain. Brain shrinkage has shown to contribute to the need for depression treatment.
Loss of Control
The frontal lobes control higher-level thinking and emotional intelligence. That’s why people who drink may suffer from impulsiveness, memory loss, and poor judgment. Add to this the addictive risks of drinking alcohol, and you’ve completely turned your life over to a substance.
No More Enjoyment
People drink alcohol to feel good. But there’s a dark side to this coin. Alcohol and drugs increase the release of endorphins in your brain. Your body uses these naturally-occurring feel-good chemicals to reward you for good behavior. If someone says something nice about you, you feel good because of endorphins. Endorphins make you feel good when you exercise, help a friend, or laugh at a funny joke. Endorphins also naturally reduce stress.
However, when you mess with this balance in your body, it begins to need more endorphins to feel good, or even okay. So you can’t relax anymore. In effect, alcohol robs you of enjoyment. So you may feel like you need to drink to feel okay. And it doesn’t take years for this to happen. Some people may develop this in their teens and 20s when someone first introduces them to alcohol.
Temporary Coordination Issues Become Permanent Problems
You already know that drinking makes it harder to walk, drive, and play pool and that it’s normally temporary. But one of the risks of drinking is that you’ll do something during this time that you can’t take back.
You might grab or hit someone harder than you intend. Or in the worst-case scenarios, which aren’t uncommon, you could hurt yourself or others while driving or using a firearm.
Loss of Freedom
People who have hurt someone badly while impaired always regret it. But at that point, no matter how much you want to take it back, you can’t. Depending on the severity, you could lose your license for five to 10 years. If you kill someone, you could end up in prison for a long time. The freedom you once enjoyed is no longer yours.
Think this is unlikely? Think again. In 2018, over 10,000 people died in alcohol-related accidents in the U.S. That represents 29% of all vehicle deaths. The risks of drinking alcohol are real and unforgiving.
Get Help from Bayview Recovery
We’ve only scratched the surface here. But if you’re struggling with alcohol, you can overcome its hold on your life. Bayview Recovery offers a number of alcohol treatment programs to help you take control of your life again. You can get on the path to a healthier life through programs like:
Know your risks and take back your life from addiction. We can help. Call Bayview Recovery today at 855.478.3650 to learn more.