Alcohol is such a ubiquitous part of western culture that nobody considers its disadvantages. It’s way easier to avoid the problem than quitting it in favour of better health, mental clarity and spiritual awareness. Although drinking can undoubtedly be fun, it’s still intriguing to see how something as harmful as alcohol is legal and so well-accepted, when many other mind-altering substances are illegal.
Even casual drinkers might be susceptible to the alcohol`s downsides. Research has linked this fact to the development of cancer. In fact, the latest research exploring the harm of alcohol examines the way it affects our brain.
In a study published in 2017, in the medical journal The BMJ, some researchers presented evidence to prove the enduring hypothesis that alcohol is extremely harmful to certain areas of the human 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.” [Source]
The hippocampus plays a significant role in regulating our body’s limbic system and memory, explaining why drunk people usually have slurred speech, lethargic movement, poor memory and often suffer from blackouts.
The study points out, however, that regular drinkers might be experiencing continual atrophy of the hippocampus, which means that as the years go by, the effects compound, leading to severe health issues while we age.
As research methods improve, we’re learning more about cognitive changes in the brains of people who drink regularly. We can understand the significance of these developments by observing the cultural exaltation of alcohol as something which is harmless in moderation, and something which supposedly provides several benefits.
“As methods of investigating the association between alcohol and health are refined, however, the size of the apparent benefits reduces substantially.” [Source]
There are some long-ranging, subtle, and deteriorative aspects of alcohol consumption which run counter to the logic of it being legal in our society. One explanation is that some consider chronically poor health to be a business model. Indeed, the medical establishment benefits financially from the individuals whose health is in a continuous decline. At the same time, i modern society natural substances that do improve our health while providing enjoyable recreational experiences are still prohibited.
Reference: The Mind Unleashed