Understanding what happens when you drink can help you to make good decisions about your drinking and stay in control.
There are positive and negative health impacts from drinking alcohol. It’s important to understand what they are so that over your lifetime, you can drink and stay healthy.
Even after only one or two drinks, alcohol starts affecting your brain. Your reaction time may slow down, your speech might become slurred, you can lose balance and co-ordination, experience blurred vision and memory problems.
Drinking alcohol can also lower your inhibitions and impair your judgment. Impaired judgement means you might not always make good decisions, and if you’re not making good decisions, you’re more likely to put yourself in harm’s way.
Believe it or not, alcohol depresses the areas of your brain that control sexual urges. Your sexual urge may increase in the short-term, but your performance will decrease overall.
Alcohol also makes you sleepy – it depresses your consciousness, lowers your body temperature and slows your breathing down. That can be a life threatening combination when taken to an extreme.
But give your body time to process the alcohol, and you will be able to slow down all of these effects. That’s why you need to understand how much and how fast you’re drinking and how you can plan to stay in control. After all, the aim is staying safe and social when you drink.
To protect your long-term health, experts recommend that over your lifetime:
There are positive and negative health impacts associated with drinking alcohol. The more you drink, the higher the risk to your health over the long term. But drink moderately, and there are plenty of positive health effects.
Light to moderate drinking
Less than 10 – 15 standard drinks a week, less than 3 standard drinks per day for men and 2 standard drinks per day for women.
If you want more information about the health effects of alcohol, check out www.alcohol.org.nz/alcohol-its-effects/health-effects