Nearly one-third of adults in the United States have an alcohol use disorder at some time in their lives. R
Ever since I gave up alcohol, I very rarely get sick, my sleep has improved drastically, my mental health is much more stable, I have MUCH more confidence in myself, I am more accepting of others, my social skills have improved in EVERY aspect, and I get "drunk" in much better ways.
I will have another post later on alcoholism and what to do to reverse its ill effects on the body. If you need help now, check the More Research section.
Since we delve into a lot of science on this blog, let's start here. The downsides of alcohol.
1. Destroys Brain Cells and Shrinks Your Brain
There are two ways to get high: growing your brain or shrinking it.
- Growing your brain feels f***ing awesome (see BDNF and NGF).
- Shrinking it (with alcohol or other drugs) feels good in the moment, but shitty the next day and has negative consequences. R
Alcohol, quickly and dramatically, alters the brain. R
Glutamate is the main neurotransmitter affected by alcohol consumption. R
Alcohol can damage:
2. Increases The Chances of Developing Cancer
Alcohol increases your risk to develop certain cancers:
This is because acetaldehyde (metabolite from alcohol being broken down in the liver) damages genetic materials in the cells and renders them incapable of repairing the damage. R
It can also cause cells to grow too quickly, without checking for mistakes. R
When cells break down alcohol, they produce VEGS (vascular endothelial growth factor) promoting growth of blood vessels and organ tissue. R
When you have too much VEGF, it can cause tumors to grow exponentially. R
3. Damages The Liver
The liver breaks down most of the alcohol a person consumes. R
The process of breaking down alcohol generates toxins that are even more harmful than alcohol itself. R
These by-products damage liver cells, promote inflammation and waken the body's natural defenses. R
Heaving drinking can cause:
- Fatty Liver R
- Alcoholic Hepatitis R
- Fibrosis R
- Steatosis R
- Cirrhosis R
- Jaundice R
- Insulin Resistance R
- Type 2 Diabetes R
- Liver Cancer R
4. Disrupts The Pancreas
Alcohol can affect the pancreas's ability to produce enzymes to break down food. R
This disruption can cause pancreatitis. R
Excessive drinking can cause chronic pancreatitis. R
This may not be reversible. R
5. Hinders The Immune System
Alcohol suppresses both the innate and adaptive immune systems. R
Chronic alcohol use reduces the ability of white blood cells to effectively engulf and swallow harmful bacteria. R
Excessive drinking also disrupts the production of cytokines, suppresses the development of T-cells, impairs the ability of NK cells to attack tumor cells, and makes you more vulnerable to viruses, bacteria, and cancer. R
Alcohol also makes you more susceptible to contracting HIV and helps HIV develop faster. R
Even if you drink once in a while, alcohol hinders the body's ability to produce cytokines, for at least 24 hours. R
6. Stresses The Heart
Alcohol use can contribute to:
- Alcoholic Cardiomyopathy R
- Arrthymia R
- Atrial Fibrillation R
- Ventricular Tachycardia R
- Stroke R
- Hypertension R
It has been reported alcohol can the "relax" the arteries, which is beneficial. R
Ok, so are you supposed to be drinking every night to relax your arteries? That sounds like a good plan for a toxic liver.
Removing inflammatory lectins from your diet can also relax your arteries and improve your immune system. R
That sounds like a better option.
7. Can Make You Gain Weight
Drinking on occasion counts more to calorie consumption, sometimes even more than chronic drinkers. R
Increasing frequency and intensity of alcohol use is associated with statistically significant yet quantitatively small weight gain for men. R
Compared with non-drinkers, normal-weight women that consumed light-to-moderate amount of alcohol experienced less weight gain and lower risk of becoming overweight, which is a benefit, if you are a woman. R
8. Contributes To Addiction
Alcohol is addictive. R
Alcohol is a depressant. R
- Craving - a strong need to drink R
- Loss of control - not being able to stop drinking once you've started R
- Physical dependence - withdrawal symptoms R
- Tolerance - the need to drink more alcohol to feel the same effect R
Similar to alcoholism, with alcohol abuse, you are not physically dependent, but drinking may cause problems at home, work, or school. It may cause you to put yourself in dangerous situations, or lead to legal or social problems.
9. Worsens Mental Health and Disrupts Sleep
As classified with the NIH, addiction to alcohol is a mental illness. R
Substance use disorder changes normal desires and priorities. R
It changes normal behaviors and interferes with the ability to work, go to school, and to have good relationships with friends and family. R
Several studies have shown that alcohol use disorders often occur with certain mood and anxiety disorders. R
Alcohol consumption is also associated with poor sleep and insomnia. R
10. Effects Pregnancy
Alcohol can effect the brain at any stage of development, even before birth. R
Alcohol consumption during pregnancy can cause fetal alcohol spectrum (FAS) disorders, if not fetal death. R
FAS disorders is characterized by abnormal facial features and is usually associated with severe reductions in brain function and overall growth. R
11. Hinders Gut Homeostasis
And now, here are the moral reasons as to why I don't drink.
I remember on Christmas Eve, I was driving back home , when I had seen a car wrapped literally around a tree. It made me extremely sad to see this happen.
There are around 10,000 deaths from alcohol alone per year in the US, and around 33,000 per year from drunk driving. R
Also, alcohol is said to play a role in 40% of all violent crime in the USA. R
Social Beneftis To Not Drinking
So what are the biggest reasons as to why people drink?
Most people are living in a boxed life:
- Waking up in a box (bed)
- Eating a box (breakfast/lunch/dinner)
- Driving in a box (car)
- Sitting in a box (office)
- Working on a box (computer)
- Calling/Texting on their box (phone)
- Watching entertainment on a box (TV)
- And maybe drinking a cylinder to change their state (alcohol)
WHERE IS THE VARIETY???
1. Alcohol Changes Your State
I experienced depression for a long time (~4-5 years). When I finally fixed my depression, I saw everything in a beautiful light. I no longer needed depressants (such as alcohol or other drugs) to change my state.
If you do not know how to change your state I recommend watching one of these videos.
Alcohol can help with anxiety, depression, lack of confidence, and relaxation. Unfortunately, it's only temporary and can have rebound effects, making those problems worse.
2. It Makes You Less Scared About Your Insecurities
Most people, including myself, probably think about what others are thinking about them.
Because of this, most people are shy and don't reveal their true self. They are uncomfortable being themselves and feel they need a social lubricant to "loosen up".
Alcohol helps this, but never really helps the underlying problem as to why they aren't able to loosen up.
Also, alcohol is probably the most reason why sex is so common with alcohol, so I guess that can be a plus, but why not have romance in your natural most beautiful state?
Anyway, here's the next part...
3. It Is A (Temporary) Confidence Builder/Social Lubricant
Imagine the first time you learned a sport. Let's take basketball, for example. Imagine if you had a couple shots (alcoholic ones, not basketball shots) before learning how to play. You would probably be stumbling all over the court, maybe break your ankle, and never improve on your basketball skills.
Just like basketball, socializing is a skill, and the learning curve is probably near to impossible while intoxicated. Your passive social skills will not improve when drinking. Drinking takes away from the ability to learn from your mistakes, when socializing.
Since I don't drink, I am able to remember everything that happened in that night, remember everyones names, remember what I did wrong socially, and improve on every aspect.
I am able to have fun and be silly without having to do stupid regretful shit. I do things that I would want to do because I am true to myself and don't care about social standards to tell me how to act.
In this way, I am have nothing "inhibiting" me or stopping me from being myself.
By this, I don't have to rely on the crutch alcohol gives others to be themselves. I have natural confidence.
If you are having trouble with confidence, I recommend watching these videos.
Common Social Problems
"I need to drink to be able to dance." That's bullshit, just dance and have fun. Actually dancing and moving your body can release similar endorphins that can give you a "tipsy" feeling.
"Everyone drinks, so I have to drink to fit in." Social pressure f***ing dumb. Just be yourself. Who gives a shit what people think about you. I broke up with an ex because she felt she needed alcohol to feel accepted with her friends and family.
"I can't participate or have fun without alcohol." Well if you can't have fun without alcohol, maybe learn to love yourself and change your state by being present. If it's your friends not inviting you out because you don't drink, well screw them, they are probably shitty friends anyway.
I'm sure you and/or your friends could come up with a million excuses why to drink or peer pressure you. Be yourself and make your own decisions.
What To Drink Instead
- Lemon water
- Sodas or Club Soda
- Virgin Anything
People To Follow That Don't Drink
Supplements You MUST Take, If You Drink
- Thiamine/Vitamin B1 (alcohol uses this up very quickly)
- Milk Thistle (can prevent alcohol-induced fatty liver)
- NAC (helps create glutathione)
- Glutathione (helps detox from alcohol and protects liver)
- Vitamin C (recycles BH4)
- Panax Ginseng (will help you metabolize alcohol faster, thus less chance of a hangover)
- Theanine (protects the liver)
- If you want to stop drinking, there is help. Start by talking to your health care provider. Treatment may include medicines, counseling, and support groups. You can also go here:
- Women have less water in their bodies than men, so alcohol is more concentrated in the smaller water volume. As a result, women may become more impaired than men after drinking the same amount. R
- Alcohol prevents ability to extinguish fearful memories in mice. R