The American way has come to include alcohol and drinking at many social events. Alcohol advertisements have become common in our everyday life. One question we are left with is how much does drinking affect our overall health and wellness?
The answer varies drastically depending on age, sex and weight.
Youth brains develop from the back to front, with the front portion being the area where reasoning and impulses occur.
The front portion of the brain does not fully mature until an individual is approximately 25 years old.
Meaning the effects of alcohol on young brains and their development by drinking before the brain is fully matured can have negative effects on brain growth and maturation. This new research makes a solid argument for actually raising the drinking age rather than lowering it.
Males and females generally react differently to the same level of alcohol. Body chemistry usually means a male can drink more than a female to reach the same level of effect.
Drinking while pregnant may also increase the chance of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or other lasting and potentially lethal effects on the baby in the womb. The weight of a person usually effects how they react to alcohol.
Recent studies on the effects of alcohol on athletes have found new data. Every time an individual gets drunk, they lose approximately 14 days of training. Alcohol suppresses training hormones for up to four days, meaning when you train you will not see the effect of the training. Recent heavy drinking lowers your performance potential by 11.4 percent. The athlete will become more tired and fatigue quicker due to increased levels of lactic acid. It becomes harder to catch your breath and it takes twice as long to refuel your muscles after working out.
Drinking is a known diuretic and will cause dehydration. Alcohol also affects reaction time and hand coordination.
Alcohol addiction is another slippery slope in dealing with the effects of alcohol.
Many risk factors play into alcohol addiction including: genetics, gender, mental illness/condition, peer pressure, family behavior, loneliness, age of first drink, stress, and how your body metabolizes alcohol. In other words, alcoholism can happen to anyone. The more you drink, the more likely you are to become addicted to alcohol.
For more information on preventing Alcohol, Tobacco, Prescription Drugs, or Illegal Drugs please contact OSU Prevention Programs at (405) 780-7485.
Scott Linderer is regional prevention coordinator with OSU Prevention Programs.