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8 Great Reasons Not to Drink Alcohol
According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, April is Alcohol Awareness Month. To celebrate, the following information should serve as a “reminder” list of compelling reasons not to drink alcohol..

Alcohol use, both short- and long-term affect the brain. The short-term effects of alcohol abuse, including cognitive difficulties and slow reaction time are bad enough. These effects contribute to bad decision-making and sometimes dangerous and impulsive behavior.

However, long-term effects of alcohol use can permanently alter brain chemistry, and result in poor memory as well as debilitating brain conditions, such as Wernicke–Korsakoff Syndrome. WKS can result in long-lasting psychosis in which the person is forgetful, easily frustrated, and has problems with mobility and coordination.

Alcoholism can contribute to severe, chronic diseases. Drinking alcohol excessively for extended periods of time can cause high blood pressure, liver cirrhosis, pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas), and may contribute to a variety of cancers, such as those of the throat, esophagus, breast, stomach, and colon.

Drinking alcohol can cause sickness the next day – hangovers. Simply put, a hangover is your body adjusting to not drinking anymore – and it’s not unlike having withdrawal symptoms for any other substance. Characteristically, you will be tired, thirsty (due to dehydration), and have a ripe headache. However, depending on how much you drink, you could also be vomiting, having severe anxiety or depression (moodiness), or experiencing tremors.

Drinking alcohol while pregnant can result in birth defects. Most women know that drinking during pregnancy is risky, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 12 reports doing so. This can cause damage to the brain, heart, and other organs, or result in Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. This is probably among the best reasons not to drink alcohol, due to the debilitating effects it can have on an unborn child.

You could be injured while drinking alcohol. Drinking does the three things that are most likely to result in injury – it (1) slows reaction time, (2) impairs judgment, and (3) affects balance and coordination. Therefore, drinking is often a contributing factor to a myriad of physical accidents, such as car crashes, violent altercations, sexual assault, falls, drownings, burns, and misuse of firearms. The list goes on and on…

Using alcohol can cause dependence. Alcohol is an addictive substance, and persons who use it can get addicted, just like any other drug. When a person becomes dependent, most often they cannot enjoy the things they used to before without the dependency on alcohol. Drinking, in essence, hijacks the part of your brain responsible for pleasure, so other activities are never again the same as long as you are drinking.

Drinking alcohol can make you gain weight. Alcohol can contain a lot of calories. Specialty beers may have 150-200 calories per 12-ounce can, and just 1-2 shots of liquor and you are there already. There are no nutritional benefits to drinking, and if you are trying to lose weight (or not gain any) this is one of the best reasons not to drink alcohol.

Drinking alcohol can kill you, quickly, not just slowly. People die every year from acute alcohol intoxication. If a person’s blood alcohol concentration reaches greater than .4%, death may be imminent. And that’s in addition to the many people who die in car crashes or other alcohol-related accidents.

Remember, alcohol is technically a toxin and can affect a person’s brain, body, emotional state, and behavior in any myriad of ways. The more alcohol consumed, the more these effects may become apparent.

~ G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A., Psychology