The Downsides of Alcohol Use

No one ever expects or desires their drinking to get out of control or cause harm.  And if it has, we know we should seek help.  We know alcoholism is a disease and requires treatment to get better.  Many people drink alcohol and are not classified as an alcoholic.  Alcohol use can be dangerous, and consumption should be taken seriously.

Alcohol is a known neurotoxin, meaning it is harmful to the brain.  Alcoholism is the leading cause of dementia.

Chronic alcohol abuse results in shrinkage of the brain due to loss of both white and gray matter.

As a health care professional, I want to review and remind ourselves of the potential dangers.

Chronic alcohol abuse results in shrinkage of the brain due to loss of both white and gray matter.

Alcohol can cause (not an exhaustive list):

  • Deficits in cognitive functioning (bad decision-making, among others)
  • Anterograde amnesia – “blackouts”
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • High blood pressure
  • Gastritis
  • Pancreatitis
  • Liver dysfunction, cirrhosis
  • Impotence
  • Decreased testosterone – leading to testicular atrophy
  • Initially, increased estrogen levels
  • Infertility
  • Certain cancers (liver, mouth, throat, esophagus)
  • Violence and unintentional injuries (including death)

Cutting back and/or quitting is the “smart” thing to do.  Your brain would agree. Find help if you need it.  There are many resources.  Be careful and mindful with the holidays fast approaching.

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