While alcohol has long been society’s choice for recreational inebriation, the impact it has on our bodies has both short and long-term consequences users should be aware of. A study published in May of 2021 found that there is actually no level of safe alcohol consumption. This means that at any point you choose to consume alcohol, you’re causing damage to your brain that gets worse the longer you continue to drink.
Mental Impacts You May Notice Immediately
While the damage to your brain and other organs become more of a concern over time, alcohol can still have drastic real-time changes to your mood and behavior without you noticing. If you’ve found yourself having trouble handling the inebriation alcohol delivers, pace yourself on drinks and watch for the signs that you’re becoming impaired. These include:
- Changes in mood
- Trips, falls and stumbling where you normally wouldn’t
- Diminished social awareness
- Lowered or completely removed inhibitions
- Symptoms of alcohol poisoning such as heavy confusion or aggression
Keeping an eye on these changes to your behavior can help you regulate your alcohol consumption at a more manageable level. Even young, healthy adults aren’t safe from this risk, with Stanford University publishing extra resources for students to avoid poor academic performance.
The Rough Morning After
Drinking too much or in a manner your body is not accustomed to can lead to a harsh day of recovery following your night of consumption. These are the notorious hangovers that are frequently complained about from regular consumers. Hangovers are your body attempting to repair the damage done by alcohol and accompanying symptoms.
One of the most common factors in a hangover is the ratio of alcohol to water you consume in a night. Matching each drink with a glass of water can help to alleviate the severity of a hangover. Symptoms of a hangover start to creep up as your blood alcohol content gets back to zero. Hangovers can include:
- Muscle aches and increased thirst from dehydration
- Stomach issues such as nausea and diarrhea
- Body fatigue causing tremors and loss of strength
- Dizziness even after becoming sober
The level of these symptoms is worsened by higher volumes of alcohol consumed as well as the type of alcohol. Always remember to pace yourself and limit your intake, there’s no reason to turn a fun night into an infamous hangover the next day.
A Rather Heavy Short-Term Consequence
Pairing with the mental impacts above, the loss inhibition means that choices aren’t thought through and actions are made on a whim. This can lead to dangerous and potentially life threatening situations such as a severe accident during drinking or fatal car crashes if you choose to drive under the influence.
In 2020 the United States saw on average 28 deaths due to drunk driving every day. That’s equivalent to a death every 52 minutes all due to poor mistakes and irresponsible consumption. These preventable accidents are far too common, with companies such as Uber and Lyft working with organizations to raise awareness that drunk driving takes lives.
If you choose to drink, do so responsibly. Keep the life of you and those around you safe by pacing your drinking, removing access to keys until the next day or getting a ride from a sober friend or driver. Nothing is worth this level of risk for a night of partying.