The effects of alcohol can change quickly from the perfect buzz to violent vomiting and passing out. Alcoholic beverages suppress the amygdala (the fear-sensing portion of the brain), while simultaneously stimulating the reward centers, so it’s no surprise that a few drinks feel pretty darn good.
We’re almost like super-beings, as we become more talkative, funnier, less inhibited and more outgoing. However, drowsiness and withdrawal begins to occur as alcohol is eliminated from the body, which causes the drinker to keep consuming to maintain the buzz.
There comes a point where the switch turns off that reminds one to be conscientious of one’s alcohol level. At worst, drinking high alcohol content can suppress the centers of the brain that control breathing.
Over 20 million Americans have chronic kidney disease, with an additional 20 million bordering on high risk. Kidney failure is one of the most common signals that alerts binge drinkers that they’ve gone too far.
Drinking excessive alcoholic beverages can increase high blood pressure — a leading cause of chronic kidney disease. More than two drinks per day can increase your risk of high blood pressure, according to the American Association of Kidney Patients. Since drinking alcohol stimulates the kidneys to increase urinary output, dehydration often occurs.
Alcohol poisoning can occur from the over-consumption of alcoholic drinks — notably beer. Typically the body can flush out alcohol in an hour or so. Drinking several beers in an hour will increase blood alcohol concentration, in which case the central nervous system’s gag reflex, heart rate and breathing capacity are all diminished, leading to choking, comas and death. Binge drinking creates the same effect in the body as drinking ethanol alcohol, rubbing alcohol or household cleaners.
Someone with alcohol poisoning needs immediate medical attention, intravenous fluids, breathing support and vitamins. Symptoms can closely resemble normal inebriation, with confusion and stupor, vomiting and passing out. However, in some cases breathing becomes slow or irregular, seizures occur, the skin turns blue and the body temperature drops.
In some cases, excessive drinking of alcoholic beverages can even lead to Cancer. While there is no definitive cause-and-effect link, it’s believed that alcohol increases the carcinogenic effects of other substances, like cigarette smoke.
In fact, roughly 75% of esophagus cancers, as well as 50% of mouth and throat cancers, are attributed to alcoholism. Smoking combined with drinking enhances the risk for most of these cancers dramatically. Women who consume as little as one drink a day can increase their chances of breast cancer by as much as 30%!
Moderation is generally said to be the key. A few drinks per week won’t likely send you into a tail-spin of maladies, but if you have an “addictive” personality, better stick to non alcoholic drinks!