How to reduce the harms of alcohol use


Alcohol can be a great substance for parties, special events, celebration, and if you’re just looking for a good time! It may seem sometimes that there are no risks to drinking alcohol there are no negative effects that you can see at present.


In moderation, alcohol can be a part of your life and there are some guidelines that can help you achieve this in a low-risk manner.


However, heavy consumption of alcohol may lead to negative health issues over time. These health issues include shrinking of the brain, some types of cancer, liver damage etc. Another health issue a heavy alcohol consumer may run into could be dependency. Knowing the health risks associated with drinking can help inform your decisions about how you drink. Another solution to drinking responsibly would be to buy smaller amounts.


I will share more strategies below because they may even help you. In this blog, I will inform you about some of the health risks and strategies for drinking responsibly.


Harm Reduction

A harm reduction strategy to drink responsibly would be to buy alcoholic beverages in smaller amounts than you usually do. During a time like this (pandemic! COVID!) going to a bar may not seem like the best idea but drinking at home can be a safer choice. When bars do reopen, and you find yourself in the mood for a cocktail, remember that cocktails tend to have two ounces (or two servings) of alcohol. So, if you were to buy smaller amounts of alcohol for home, you can’t drink more even if you would like to. Limiting your access to large amounts of alcohol is just one harm reduction strategy you could consider. If you are a person who likes to drink more, but wants to reduce alcohol, also consider purchasing low alcohol or alcohol-free drinks.


A fun alternative

A popular example of a non-alcoholic drink is the Shirley Temple. To create the Shirley Temple, you will need these ingredients: ice, three cups of lemon lime soda, four tablespoons of grenadine, maraschino cherries (to serve), and juice of one lime. To serve the Shirley Temple, fill four glasses with ice, divide lime juice and soda between the glasses and top them off with grenadine. Lastly put a maraschino cherry on top of the drink and enjoy! For more non-alcoholic cocktails see here!


Possible implications

There can be negative health issues associated with consuming alcohol. These issues can include shrinking of the brain, cancer, liver damage, etc. Drinking alcohol long-term can shrink the frontal lobes of your brain. Frontal lobes of the brain of the brain are extremely important as it controls your memory, decision making, etc. When the frontal lobes shrink, this raises an individual’s chance of developing dementia by 10-15%. This damage is more likely to occur if you use large amounts of alcohol daily and for a long period of time. However, it’s important to be aware of both the long and short-term risks of using alcohol.


Alcoholic dependency is when someone may have physical and emotional dependency for alcohol. Dependency can come with withdrawal symptoms if you suddenly stop or greatly reduce your alcohol consumption. These withdrawal symptoms can include anxiety, nausea, high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, etc. If you choose to use alcohol, make sure you educate yourself on both the short-term and long-term risks involved with using large amounts of alcohol over both a short and long period of time.


These are some of my tips for drinking and reducing the harm of alcohol use. Consider trying these methods if you drink alcohol, they may help! Take care and stay safe!



Sources:


The Effects of Alcohol on Your Body. Retrieved from:

https://www.healthline.com/health/alcohol/effects-on-body


How to Drink Responsibly and Enjoy Alcohol. Retrieved from:

https://www.verywellmind.com/how-to-drink-responsibly-21976


Brain Map Frontal Lobes. Retrieved from:

https://www.health.qld.gov.au/abios/asp/bfrontal#:~:text=The%20frontal%20lobes%20are%20important,order%20to%20achieve%20a%20goal.


What Is Frontal Lobe Dementia? Retrieved from:

https://www.alzheimers.net/frontal-lobe-dementia/#:~:text=Frontal%20lobe%20dementia%2C%20also%20known,%25%2D15%25%20of%20dementia%20cases.


Perfect Shirley Temple. Retrieved from:

https://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/a29813919/shirley-temple-drink-recipe/