Alcohol consumption has been a tradition for humans throughout history, whether during social gatherings, athletic events, or religious rites. In fact, evidence shows that cavemen cultivated grains and fruits for the purpose of fermenting them to produce alcoholic drinks. However, the fact that people still use alcohol worldwide today, despite the fact that we may never know for sure when, when, or how it all began, cannot be denied.
Alcohol may initially make you feel more extroverted when used in moderation, but when consumed in excess, it might make you feel as like you don't want to do anything or be around anybody. So, before you go out and enjoy another glass of your favorite New Zealand Zinfandel or perhaps try to cool off with an ice-cold pint of Guinness at the Irish pub down the street, you might want to take the time to carefully consider some of the potential side-effects of alcohol, especially how it can affect your mood, judgment, and energy levels.
Over the last 20 years, as a professional addiction counselor and interventionist, I have dealt with many wonderful individuals who have found themselves acting in dubious or harmful ways when under the influence of alcohol. Alcohol-impaired driving was a factor in around 28% of traffic-related deaths in the United States, while the World Health Organization estimates that about 55% of those who commit domestic violence consumed alcohol before the attack.
Even while each situation may be different, many of the underlying causes of alcohol dependence are constant. For instance, the majority of those who have struggled with alcohol misuse difficulties first began by sometimes and occasionally at certain gatherings partaking in alcohol. Then, with time and repeated usage, they built up a tolerance to it, requiring increasing amounts of alcohol to produce the desired effects, such as drunkenness.
In addition, due to the negative effects that alcohol usage has on the central nervous system over time, your body may actually grow reliant on it in order to operate, although dysfunctionally.
Many of my alcohol-dependent clients have often confided in me that they required a glass of alcohol simply to get out of bed in order to calm their anxiety and get unstuck. As a result, alcoholics frequently spend a considerable amount of time and effort ensuring that there is always an ample supply of alcohol on hand, while also drastically reducing the amount of time they spend on other important daily activities like work, personal hygiene, a healthy diet, exercise, and interpersonal relationships.
Despite alarming numbers, the fact is that alcohol usage is here to stay. There is no going back to prohibition. Therefore, whether you are interested in drinking or not, I believe it is necessary to understand how to live with it rather than attempting to demonize its existence or just pretending that the issue does not exist. Having said that, and without intending to spoil anyone's plans for an upcoming party, if you are concerned about the significance of retaining control over your mood, judgment, and level of energy, you are probably also prepared to learn more about the effects that alcohol may have on your body.
1. Alcohol Raises Depression RiskFirst, let's talk about how alcohol impacts the body. Alcohol is categorized as a depressive since it seems to lessen central nervous system activation and alertness. Although alcohol may at first make you feel better because it starts to interact with dopamine and serotonin receptors in the brain, over time, with continued use and your emotional guard down, you may experience overwhelming depression because the alcohol starts to drain those chemicals from your brain, making you much more susceptible to emotional distress. The more alcohol you consume, the more sad you feel and, therefore, the less active you become as your energy level is diminished, much like the chemical equivalent of a self-destructive self-fulfilling prophesy.
2. Drinking Decreases Your Energy LevelYour energy level may be decreased by consuming alcohol in a number of different ways. The first thing that happens when you drink alcohol is that it initially elevates your blood sugar level; but, as soon as insulin is released into your circulation, your blood sugar level quickly drops, leaving you feeling weak. Although drinking alcohol increases your intake of fluids, you will normally discover that you urinate more often as your kidneys work extra hard to remove the alcohol from your body. Dehydration follows, which lowers your level of energy because an excess of essential minerals and nutrients are flushed away. Additionally, it has been shown that drinking alcohol alters your body's melatonin levels, which are essential for controlling your circadian rhythm and your natural sleep-wake cycle. Your body won't be able to recharge if you don't get enough sleep, which will affect your stamina and endurance.
3. Your Reaction Time Is Slower After DrinkingHaving said all of that, consuming alcohol does not automatically cause you to feel melancholy; rather, it slows down communication between the brain and the body. It effectively slows down your reflexes.
When you initially start drinking, you could feel more engaged and lively. However, as you continue to consume alcohol and depress your central nervous system, you might start to feel more tired and imbalanced. Recent research has shown that alcohol has little to no medical value and is instead directly related to alterations in brain chemistry and composition.
4. Alcohol Lowers InhibitionsHowever, not all of alcohol's consequences are inherently negative, at least not straight away. Alcohol has been shown to lower inhibitions when used in moderation, which slows down response time. To put it another way, drinking alcohol may prevent your brain from processing fear that you may have felt in a circumstance like meeting new people at a party or even even spending time with your in-laws without it. Sadly, however, lowering your inhibitions may also make it harder for you to determine when it's safe to take another drink, which might eventually result in errors of judgment.
5. Alcohol Affects Your Decision-MakingLong-term alcohol consumption has been found to really change the anatomy of the brain, particularly in the prefrontal cortex, which governs judgment and thinking. As a consequence, drinking too much and making poor judgments like driving while intoxicated or drinking at work are strongly correlated. Alcohol is also seen as a gateway drug since it may lead to the use of increasingly stronger mood-altering drugs because it impairs judgment.
We also need to be able to respond quickly and precisely when the chance arises while still being able to show affection and attention to the people we care about since the majority of us are hard-working individuals who need to contribute both financially and emotionally. So, rather than actually forgoing a fun night out with your friends, you might want to just think twice before ordering another drink at the club, especially if you want to avoid all of the unfavorable consequences that could result from bad judgment, such as legal, financial, medical, and family issues.
ConclusionsIn conclusion, the majority of persons who sometimes drink will probably never suffer any severe effects from alcohol consumption. Others may not even be aware of the effects alcohol has on their body. But knowing the effects that frequent alcohol use could have on you might actually stop that from occurring.
Whether you approve of or disapprove of the use of adult alcoholic drinks, the fact remains that alcohol has been produced for a very long time. It is still offered all over the globe at social gatherings, athletic events, religious ceremonies, and pretty much wherever else you look. However, I fully think that everyone should be aware of the effects that alcohol may have on you before consuming it considering the fact that it can directly alter your mood, judgment, and level of energy.
Alcohol may help you feel a little bit more outgoing and engaged by lowering your inhibitions. However, over time and with repeated usage, it can cause episodes of sadness because it clouds your judgment and saps your vitality.