Alcohol is a big part of the human lives; I mean, it even has Gods dedicated to it! In some cultures, it is even associated with prophecy.
As a result of this universal presence, alcohol’s ill-effects, no matter how much they are publicized, are more than often brushed off and overlooked. Everyone is aware of it’s harmfulness, yet they keep consuming it. Quitting alcohol can lead to a better health, mental clarity and greater spiritual awareness. Most, or all of us, can agree that yes, drinking is fun, helps you better get over a break up, and intensifies the fun of a night out, but it is bizarre that something as harmful as alcohol is legal and even encouraged in some situations, while things that are less harmful or even beneficial in some cases, like marijuana, are not.
Lately researchers study and look into how harmful alcohol can be to the brain. It has been known for some time now that even in less frequent drinkers, alcohol can cause cancer, among many other things.
In a study published in July of 2017 in the medical journal The BMJ, they presented evidence supporting an early and lasting hypothesis that alcohol is very bad for some certain areas of the brain.
“The study followed 550 men and women for 30 years, measuring their brain structure and function to determine how alcohol use affects the mind over time. What they found is that the more people drank, the more atrophy occurred in the brain’s hippocampus, a seahorse-shaped structure in your brain that plays a role in storing memories. The highest risk was for people who drank 17 standard drinks or more of alcohol per week. But even people who drank moderately saw an elevated risk for cognitive changes.”
Remember the signs that one has been drinking? Slurred speech, loss of fine motor coordination, loss of memory? Well, it would appear that those things belong to the domain of the hippocampus, which controls the limbic system of the brain and the centers for memory.
This research shows how regular binge drinking can cause actual atrophy of the hippocampus. Atrophy would lead to further compound degeneration of the organ over the years because of more and more alcohol intake.
And obviously, by then it won’t be limited to the hippocampus.
Of course, as research methods advance each day, we are getting new insights into how something that has been exalted for years as something beneficial for health in moderation can be this harmful.
“How should this paper inform discussions with patients? It certainly strengthens the view that if alcohol does confer beneficial effects on health, the link is probably confined to low intakes of no more than a unit a day. Even this level of consumption carries risk relative to abstinence for conditions such as breast cancer, and the evidence of benefit is certainly not strong enough to justify advising abstainers to drink.”
Most of the publicizing about its harmfulness has been about liver problems and how eventually alcoholics develop cirrhosis and other fatal ailments. Brain problems are a new domain.
There are a number of long-ranging and long-lasting, subtle, deteriorative aspects of alcohol consumption which run opposite to the reasoning of it being legal and so common in our society, unless you consider that chronically poor health is a business model in today’s world.
The medical establishment which is after all one of the largest businesses, benefits financially from people whose health is in continuous decline, and natural/organic substances which actually improve health while providing recreational mind-altering experiences continue to be criminalized.