A glass of wine once in a while can have health benefits, but indulge too frequently and you can suffer ill effects that extend beyond the usual hangover. How alcohol affects your body can vary greatly.
Like food, when you drink alcohol, it travels to your stomach then is absorbed in your small intestine. But unlike food, alcohol doesn’t need to be digested. This means about 20 percent of alcohol that enters your stomach is immediately absorbed into your bloodstream.
Once the alcohol enters your bloodstream, it travels quickly to your brain, which can make you feel happy or uninhibited. However, if you have more than a drink or two, you could end up experiencing slurred speech, losing coordination or feeling depressed or agitated. The extra calories in alcohol can also add to your waistline.
How quickly your body processes alcohol depends on:
If you are trying to reduce the amount of alcohol you drink, The National Institutes of Health recommends:
The line between social drinking and alcoholism can be very thin. Unfortunately, according to U.S. News & World Report, there is no “a-ha” moment that lets you know you’ve crossed that line.
If you’re wondering whether you have a drinking problem, U.S. News & World Report recommends asking yourself these questions:
If you’ve answered yes to a few questions or feel you may have a drinking problem, talk to your doctor.