MOTIVE OF DRINKING
According to a wonderful study appearing in PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America), alcohol metabolism appeared in our primate ancestors between 7 and 21 million years ago, long before the human species existed. People have been consuming alcohol for at least 10,000 years. And when drinking water was not safe, alcohol seemed like a safer bet. Amadeus of Villanova, a 14th-century monk, even wrote that “alcohol prolongs life, revives the heart and maintain youth.”
I tried to find out what was the motive behind drinking. When I asked people why they drink, the replies were totally different from person to person. I would like to give you some examples:
It tastes nice. It depends on what you are drinking. Some drinks contain more sugar and everyone has different taste preferences. For example, some people are inclined to prefer sugar, and this can make them more prone to developing alcohol addiction. But it also seems to act on some of the same brain areas activated by sweet tastes, like you must have heard about sugar rush when we eat so many sweet things.
Having fun with friends. When a few friends get together for some work or just hang out they think they can enjoy more while drinking because they have already learnt from their parents, peers and the media. All age groups come in this category. When you drink small amounts of alcohol you feel a buzz. People often feel mildly excited, and energizations initial positive feeling gets diminished when you drink more. So, by drinking more you are just worsening the negative effects.
Peer pressure. Sometimes you don’t want to drink but for socializing you must drink. This counts for many people who are just social drinkers. Many times, it has been proven that these social drinkers start drinking more often when they socialize more for any reason. After some time, it becomes a habit to drink.
Coping with stress. Many people drink to cope with stress (as they say). I don’t believe it though. Once you drink for stress management, you will drink again as soon as you face any problem in your life so this is not a valid reason to start drinking. But on the contrary, most of the people who drink for combating their stress eventually become heavy drinkers.
Overcoming shyness. Alcohol is known to reduce inhibitory control in the part of the brain associated with decision making and social behaviours’. This leads to the self-control people report. But the loss of control also increases the risk-taking behaviours between drinking and accidents and injuries.
Help in sleeping. Research shows that the use of alcohol may reduce the amount of slow-wave and REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep we have. So it may help us to drop off faster, but it doesn’t result in better sleep. REM sleep is important for memory consolidation so reducing the time in which this process occurs has an effect on memory.
In the 21st-century gender equality is much talked about. Alcohol use is on rising in women folks. Bacon and eggs. Peanut butter and Jelly. Salt and Pepper. All are great combinations. Women and alcohol? Not so much. Women who drink have a higher risk of certain alcohol-related problems compared to men. Our bodies absorb more alcohol than men and reach higher concentration than men who drink the same amount because our bodies take longer to metabolize alcohol. The reason is we have less body water than men, our body structure and chemistry are different, and we weigh less on average.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism recommends that women limit alcohol consumption to no more than three drinks on any single day and no more than seven drinks per week.
Now most of us are working from home and cannot avoid having one or two drinks after day-long zoom meetings. So, this new reason to drink has emerged just during this global pandemic.
After looking at all these reasons for drinking and the negative effects it has on our lives, I would like to suggest a few things.
There are many social activities you can enjoy without drinking. Go dancing, play games, or take in a movie to name a few. If you choose to drink, do so responsibly. Set your limits before attending any social events and alternate between alcohol and non-alcohol days. Find a friend who can keep you company during your non-alcoholic days. Ask your doctor,” according to your overall health condition “how much can you drink safely.
So, drink and enjoy but don’t take your health for a ride!
None of the blogs or opinions expressed within are meant as advice to you or anybody else on any matter, including but not limited to, personal finance, health, or other matters of life. If you need advice, speak to a professional!