Alcohol ed: Whiskey Dick or Alcohol-Induced Erectile Dysfunction
Whiskey Dick or Alcohol-Induced Erectile Dysfunction
If you have any medical questions or concerns, please talk to your healthcare provider. The articles on Health Guide are underpinned by peer-reviewed research and information drawn from medical societies and governmental agencies. However, they are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
How many times have you had a drink or two to get in the mood? Alcohol has a reputation as a sexual enabler and enhancer. Unfortunately, this libationary lothario status has led many of us to overindulge, leading to the only thing worse than a hangover: whiskey dick.
- “Whiskey dick,” also known as alcohol-induced ED, refers to erection problems that follow drinking alcohol.
- Booze impairs circulation and nerve sensitivity—two factors crucial to sexual arousal—and increases levels of a hormone linked to ED.
- Reportedly, women experience it, too.
- Whiskey dick usually abates when you sober up, but chronic heavy drinking can lead to long-term ED.
“Whiskey dick,” or alcohol-related ED, is the inability to get a sufficient erection after consuming alcohol. You might not be able to get an erection at all or get one that’s weaker or doesn’t last as long as you like.
How many drinks does that take? It’s not an easy question to answer. Alcohol tolerance varies widely, depending on your individual body chemistry and factors such as how much you drink and how often, and so does the body’s reaction to it—including any effect on erectile function.
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Alcohol acts as a depressant on the central nervous system (CNS). It has a sedating effect on the brain and body. That’s what causes its typical effects, both pleasant (relaxation, a feeling of warmth) and not so much (lack of inhibition, a decline in motor skills, and whiskey dick, to name a few).
In the case of whiskey dick, alcohol affects some of the key systems involved in sexual arousal and erection, blood circulation, and nerve sensitivity.
- During sexual arousal, the brain sends messages to the penis, telling it to become erect. Intoxication can slow down or interrupt those signals between the brain and body, resulting in ED.
- Dehydration caused by drinking alcohol causes blood volume to decline, reducing circulation. Since erections are reliant on healthy blood flow, that can gum up the works.
- Dehydration also causes levels of angiotensin, a hormone associated with ED, to rise. That makes blood vessels constrict, which is the opposite of what needs to happen during an erection.
Sort of. At a certain point, alcohol consumption can interfere with sexual arousal in both genders. That’s because alcohol is dehydrating and, just as with men, reduces the circulation and nerve sensitivity that causes women to become aroused.
Hopefully, whiskey dick will last only as long as it takes for you to sober up. But chronic drinking may also be one cause of ED.
In one study of 100 men who were heavy drinkers, 72% reported having a sexual dysfunction, including erection problems, premature ejaculation, and low sexual desire; 33% reported having ED. “Alcohol abuse is the leading cause of impotence and other disturbances in sexual dysfunction,” the researchers wrote (Arackal, 2007).
Drinking too much alcohol can also increase your chances of developing high blood pressure (hypertension), which can damage blood vessels throughout the body. That can impede blood flow to your brain, heart, and penis, raising your risk of stroke, heart disease, and ED.
If you experience whiskey dick, it’s possible your body is telling you to take a look at how much you’re drinking.
Experts like the American Heart Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that to reduce your risk of serious problems like cancer and heart disease, it’s best to drink in moderation. That’s defined as no more than two drinks a day for men, and one daily drink for women. Your sex life can only benefit.
- Arackal, B. S., & Benegal, V. (2007). Prevalence of sexual dysfunction in male subjects with alcohol dependence. Indian journal of psychiatry, 49(2), 109–112. https://doi.org/10.4103/0019-5545.33257
Why Boozing Can Be Bad for Your Sex Life – Erectile Dysfunction Center
Drink a little alcohol; kiss your bedroom jitters goodbye: Anyone who’s transformed into Don Juan after a couple of cocktails knows that. But beyond that newfound confidence, is alcohol good for your sex life?
Actually, the effect can be the opposite as your blood alcohol level increases. Alcohol is a depressant, and using it heavily can dampen mood, decrease sexual desire, and make it difficult for a man to achieve erections or reach an orgasm while under the influence. In fact, overdoing it on booze is a common cause of erectile dysfunction.
That doesn’t mean you need to cut back completely — most experts say moderation is key. But what’s “moderation” exactly? According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), moderate drinking is no more than two drinks a day for men (and one drink a day for women). The liver can only break down the amount of alcohol in about one standard-size drink an hour, so regularly drinking more than that means that toxins from alcohol can build up in your body and affect your organs, including those involved in sex.
Here’s why you should think twice about tossing back too many.
5 Ways Alcohol Can Wreck Your Sex Life
For men, heavy drinking can lead to:
Temporary erectile dysfunction. Researchers have found that too much alcohol affects both your brain and your penis. In one University of Washington study, sober men were able to achieve an erection more quickly than intoxicated men — and some men are unable to have an erection at all after drinking.
That’s because pre-sex boozing decreases blood flow to your penis, reduces the intensity of your orgasm, and can dampen your level of excitement (in other words, even if you are able to have sex, it may not be nearly as pleasurable as it would be without the excess alcohol).
Long-term erectile dysfunction. The risk for long-term erectile dysfunction has been linked to chronic heavy use of alcohol. In fact, studies show that men who are dependent on alcohol have a 60 to 70 percent chance of suffering from sexual problems. The most common of these are erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, and loss of sexual desire.
Ruined relationships. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, alcohol use beyond moderation is associated with relationship problems that include conflict, infidelity, economic insecurity, and divorce. In addition, 90 percent of all sexual assaults involve alcohol consumption.
The sexual repercussions of smoking. If you are someone who tends to light up while drinking, you could be further increasing your risk for ED. For men under the age of 40, smoking is the biggest cause of erectile dysfunction — and studies show that men who smoke more than 10 cigarettes daily are at an increased risk for erectile dysfunction.
STDs. Another big risk when combining sex and alcohol? Getting exposed to a sexually transmitted disease. Studies show that almost 50 percent of unplanned sexual encounters involve alcohol, and 60 percent of STDs are transmitted when alcohol is involved. Young adults who use alcohol are seven times more likely to have unprotected sex.
Why Less Is More
The relaxing effect of alcohol and the feeling of well-being that comes with a drink or two have made alcohol humans’ favorite beverage for about 10,000 years. Though some studies confirm that alcohol (in moderation!) is good for your heart and circulation (which can work against erectile dysfunction), it’s important to remember that sex and alcohol are a delicate balancing act.
If you’ve experienced a lack of sexual desire, premature ejaculation, relationship problems, or erectile dysfunction because of mixing alcohol and sex, you may be letting alcohol get the best of your sex life.
Prevalence of sexual dysfunction in male subjects with alcohol dependence
Indian J Psychiatry. 2007 Apr-Jun; 49(2): 109–112.
Bijil Simon Arackal
Deaddiction Centre, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bangalore – 560 029, India
Deaddiction Centre, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bangalore – 560 029, India
Deaddiction Centre, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bangalore – 560 029, India
Correspondence: Dr. Vivek Benegal, Department of Psychiatry, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bangalore – 560 029, India. E-mail: [email protected]
This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
This article has been cited by other articles in PMC.
Chronic and persistent alcohol use is known to induce sexual dysfunction, which leads to marked distress and interpersonal difficulty.
We attempted to assess the prevalence of sexual dysfunction in a clinical sample of subjects with alcohol dependence.
Materials and Methods:
One hundred male subjects admitted to a deaddiction centre with a diagnosis of alcohol dependence syndrome with simple withdrawal symptoms (F10.30, ICD-10 criteria) were assessed for sexual dysfunction using a sexual dysfunction checklist, constructed using items from the Diagnostic Criteria for Research [ICD-10] for sexual dysfunction.
Seventy-two per cent had one or more sexual dysfunction, the most common being premature ejaculation, low sexual desire and erectile dysfunction. The amount of alcohol consumed appeared to be the most significant predictor of developing sexual dysfunction.
Sexual dysfunction is common in patients with alcohol dependence. Heavy drinking proportionately increases the risk. Clinicians need to routinely assess sexual functioning in alcoholic patients so that other factors contributing to sexual dysfunction can be ruled out.
Keywords: Alcohol dependence, sexual dysfunction
Chronic and persistent alcohol use is known to induce sexual dysfunction, which leads to marked distress and interpersonal difficulty. This, in turn, is known to worsen the alcohol abuse. Sexual dysfunction in the alcoholic may be due to the depressant effect of alcohol itself, alcohol-related disease or due to a multitude of psychological forces related to the alcohol use. The spectrum of sexual dysfunction encompasses:
Decreased sexual desire—persistent or recurrent deficiency or absence of desire for sexual activity giving rise to marked distress and interpersonal difficulty;
Sexual aversion disorder—persistent or recurrent aversion and avoidance of all genital sexual contact leading to marked distress and interpersonal difficulty;
Difficulty in erection—recurrent or persistent, partial or complete failure to attain or maintain an erection until the completion of the sex act;
Difficulty in achieving orgasm—persistent or recurrent delay in or absence of orgasm, following a normal sexual excitement phase;
Premature ejaculation—persistent or recurrent ejaculation with minimal sexual stimulation, before, on or shortly after penetration and before the person wishes it, which causes marked distress. 
Alcohol abuse is the leading cause of impotence and other disturbances in sexual dysfunction. Episodic erectile failure in alcoholic men is fairly routine, found to be significantly higher in men consuming more than three standard units of alcohol (12 g ethanol) daily and in subjects smoking more than 10 cigarettes/day. Van Thiel and Lester reported that 61% of patients dependent on alcohol reported sexual dysfunction, the most common being erectile dysfunction followed by reduced sexual desire. Erectile dysfunction and reduced sexual desire were frequently seen to be coexisting.[6–9] Vijayasenan, found that of 97 male inpatients admitted for the treatment of alcoholism, 71% suffered from sexual dysfunction for a period of more than 12 months prior to admission to a hospital. The disturbances noted were diminished sexual desire (58%), ejaculatory incompetence (22%), erectile impotence (16%) and premature ejaculation (4%). Virtually all aspects of the human sexual response are affected by alcohol especially sexual desire and erection. 
Schiavi et al. failed to find any difference in sexual dysfunction in alcoholics abstinent for 2-3 months in comparison with a nonalcoholic control group, speculating that alcohol-induced sexual dysfunction was reversible with abstinence. The aim of the present study was to estimate the prevalence of sexual dysfunction in males with alcohol dependence. We specifically assessed male subjects admitted to a treatment center with a diagnosis of alcohol dependence syndrome, without obvious hepatic cirrhosis or other co-morbidity. Female patients were excluded from the study as the number of women who use alcohol in India are few and the number of female alcoholics who avail of treatment centers are too few to contribute to significant statistical power. Also, the spectrum of sexual dysfunction is different in the female from the male.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
One hundred male subjects, consecutively admitted to the Deaddiction Centre of the National Institute of Mental Health And NeuroSciences (NIMHANS), Bangalore, India, with a diagnosis of Alcohol Dependence Syndrome With Simple Withdrawal Symptoms (F10. 30, ICD-10 criteria) [WHO] were recruited for the study. All subjects gave informed consent for taking part in the study. Subjects were initially assessed on the schedules for clinical assessment in neuropsychiatry (SCAN) by a trained psychiatrist (VB). All patients were subjected to detailed clinical and biochemical examinations including blood glucose and liver enzymes. Patients with significantly high levels of liver enzymes or physical findings suggestive of hepatic cirrhosis were referred for ultrasound assessment of the abdomen.
Subjects were included if they were:
between 20-50 years of age
married or had a regular sexual partner
Patients were excluded if they had a
Clinically assessed history of primary sexual dysfunction [prior to initiation of alcohol use]
Co-morbid physical disorders: diabetes mellitus, hypertension, signs and symptoms suggestive of alcoholic cirrhosis, a clinical diagnosis of endocrine disorders, other systemic illnesses, history of genito-urinary surgery and neurological or spinal cord lesions.
Co-morbid psychiatric disorders: schizophrenia, delusional disorder, anxiety disorders and mood disorders including dysthymia. Patients who had symptoms of depression or anxiety not fulfilling a syndromal diagnosis were included in the study.
Substance use other than alcohol and tobacco.
Use of drugs affecting sexual function (antipsychotics, antidepressants, antihypertensives, steroids, disulfiram etc.)
All the above subjects were assessed for the prevalence of one or more sexual dysfunction experienced over the past 12 months using a sexual dysfunction checklist (Appendix A) by a trained psychiatrist (BSA). The checklist contains items corresponding to 12 areas of sexual dysfunction described in the Diagnostic Criteria for Research, ICD-10 Classification of Mental and Behavioural Disorders. This was necessary as the SCAN does not contain a detailed assessment for the ICD-10 section on Sexual dysfunction not caused by organic disorder or disease (F52). The disorders specifically tapped by the checklist were aversion towards sex, low sexual desire, difficulty in achieving and in maintaining erection, premature ejaculation, inhibited or delayed ejaculation orgasm with flaccid penis, anorgasmia, pain at the time of coitus, dissatisfaction with frequency of intercourse per week (in the last year and in a representative week 5 years earlier), partner and, own sexual function.
Sexual dysfunction was rated for the last one year and temporary or situational complaints were ignored. Data regarding the quantity of alcohol usually consumed per day [in standard drinks; where 1 drink = 30 ml. Spirits = 330 ml. Beer = 1/3 sachet of arrack] and duration of dependence, was extracted from the items corresponding to the section on Mental and Behavioural disorders due to use of alcohol [F10.0] in the SCAN and used in the analyses. However, only the presence or absence of tobacco consumption and not a measure of severity was used for analyses. The ratings were sought after two weeks of inpatient stay after the period of detoxification with benzodiazepines.
The 100 male subjects had a mean age of 37.09 (± 6.74) years. The quantity of alcohol consumed per day was 20.6 (± 9.07) standard drinks [8-42 drinks per day]. The mean duration of alcohol dependence was 8.59 (± 6.64) years. 87% of the subjects also used tobacco [chewing and / or smoking]. Seventy-two of the 100 subjects reported one or more sexual dysfunction. Four (4%) subjects reported aversion to sex to the extent that they had not attempted sexual intercourse in the last one year. Consequently, the prevalence of sexual dysfunction other than aversion to sex and low sexual desire, had to be calculated after excluding these 4 subjects.
Premature ejaculation was reported by 36 out of 96 (37.5%) subjects, out of which, 27 (28.12%) had complaints of ejaculating within the first minute itself and the rest (9.38%) ejaculated within three minutes of intromission. The next most frequent sexual dysfunction reported was low sexual desire, which was reported by 36 out of 100 subjects. Erectile dysfunction was reported by 33.3% of the subjects with difficulty in achieving erection in 19 subjects (19.79%) and difficulty in maintaining erection in 13 subjects (13.54%).
Fourteen subjects (14.58%) had a lack of pleasure at the time of ejaculation (anorgasmia) and 10 (10.41%) had inhibited or delayed ejaculation. Next was the complaint of dissatisfaction with the frequency of sexual intercourse in 26 people (27.03%) and dissatisfaction with own sexual function reported by 19 patients (19.79%).
Nine subjects (9.37%) had dissatisfaction with the sexual relationship with their partner and eight subjects reported (8.33%) orgasm with flaccid penis. Coital pain or feeling of pain in genitals at the time of sexual intercourse was seen in six subjects (6.1%).
There was a significant reduction in the frequency of sexual intercourse per week over the last five years having decreased from a mean of 4.6 (± 2.6) times per week to 2.2 (± 2.2) times per week currently. Forty-eight per cent of the sample had more than one sexual dysfunction. Of the 24 subjects with only one complaint, the most frequent complaint was that of premature ejaculation in 18 subjects.
The number of sexual dysfunction complaints was significantly associated with the amount of alcohol consumed per day. On curve-fitting the data, there was a significant positive linear relationship (F = 10.54; dF 87; P = 0.002) . However, there was no correlation between the reduction in frequency of sexual intercourse over the last five years and the amount of alcohol consumed.
Linear regression illustrates the predictive relationship between the amount of alcohol consumed and the likelihood of any sexual dysfunction.
There appeared to be no significant correlations between the subjects’ ages and duration of alcohol dependence with the number of complaints of dysfunction. People with tobacco use were no more likely to have more sexual dysfunction than those without tobacco use [t = -1. 32; dF 97; P = 0.19].
Sexual dysfunction appears to be common among male subjects with alcohol dependence. Seventy-two per cent of the subjects with alcohol dependence complained of one or more problems with sexual functioning. This is similar to what has been reported in earlier studies.[10,16] Multiple co-existing dysfunctions seemed to be the norm in the sample studied. The most common condition reported in our study was premature ejaculation followed closely by low sexual desire and erectile dysfunction.
The number of symptoms reported appeared to be a function of the amount of alcoholic beverage consumed. The chance of developing sexual dysfunctions appears to increase with increasing quantity of alcohol consumed. Higher levels of alcohol intake may result in greater neurotoxic effects. It has been reported that heavy alcohol use may contribute to a reversible vagal neuropathy, which is perhaps reversible on abstinence. However, chronic heavy use of alcohol is also known to significantly alter gonadal hormones. 
There is also a significant population, which has psychogenic sexual dysfunction, which is likely in a situation of marital conflict, which commonly exists in the families of alcoholics. There is some evidence of this with more than a third of the subjects reporting dissatisfaction with their spouses’ responses and / or decreased frequency. This cannot be conclusive without data on nocturnal erection or sexual activity in alternate situations. One of the limitations of this exploratory study is that marital functioning was not specifically assessed.
Counterintuitively, the likelihood of developing sexual dysfunction did not depend on the number of years of alcohol dependence or on the age of the subject. One reason for these findings may be the narrow range of ages at presentation and durations of dependence across the group.
Tobacco use though, was not found to be a significant determinant of sexual dysfunction. This is contrary to all reported evidence. This finding is most likely to be due to our treatment of tobacco use as a categorical (present / absent) variable in a situation where almost 90% of the sample was using tobacco. Future studies need to use indices of severity to avoid this error.
The exclusive focus on male alcoholics was necessitated by the fact that the prevalence of alcohol use by females in India, and consequent alcohol dependence is exceedingly low. Having a non-drinking or low-drinking control sample, would have lent greater depth to these findings.
Nevertheless, this study highlights the ubiquitousness of sexual problems in the heavy-drinking population. It also stresses the need for addiction medicine specialists to note the possibility of sexual problems in their clients. In addition, it highlights the need for sexual medicine specialists to consider the effects of heavy alcohol use on sexual functioning. However, there is ample evidence that alcohol-induced sexual dysfunction, for the most part, is reversible with cessation of alcohol use. Thus, this information can be used in motivational counselling of heavy drinkers to provide impetus for change. Clinicians are well advised to routinely assess sexual functioning in patients with alcohol dependence.
Sexual dysfunction checklist
|In the past 12 months…||Yes = 1||No = 0|
Source of Support: Nil
Conflict of Interest: None declared
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Erectile dysfunction can be reversed without medication
Friday, 28 March 2014
Men suffering from sexual dysfunction can be successful at reversing their problem, by focusing on lifestyle factors and not just relying on medication, according to new research at the University of Adelaide.
In a new paper published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, researchers highlight the incidence of erectile dysfunction and lack of sexual desire among Australian men aged 35-80 years.
Over a five-year period, 31% of the 810 men involved in the study developed some form of erectile dysfunction.
“Sexual relations are not only an important part of people’s wellbeing. From a clinical point of view, the inability of some men to perform sexually can also be linked to a range of other health problems, many of which can be debilitating or potentially fatal,” says Professor Gary Wittert, Head of the Discipline of Medicine at the University of Adelaide and Director of the University’s Freemasons Foundation Centre for Men’s Health.
“Our study saw a large proportion of men suffering from some form of erectile dysfunction, which is a concern. The major risk factors for this are typically physical conditions rather than psychological ones, such as being overweight or obese, a higher level of alcohol intake, having sleeping difficulties or obstructive sleep apnoea, and age.
“The good news is, our study also found that a large proportion of men were naturally overcoming erectile dysfunction issues. The remission rate of those with erectile dysfunction was 29%, which is very high. This shows that many of these factors affecting men are modifiable, offering them an opportunity to do something about their condition,” Professor Wittert says.
The lead author of the paper, Dr Sean Martin from the University of Adelaide’s Freemasons Foundation Centre for Men’s Health, says: “Even when medication to help with erectile function is required, it is likely to be considerably more effective if lifestyle factors are also addressed.
“Erectile dysfunction can be a very serious issue because it’s a marker of underlying cardiovascular disease, and it often occurs before heart conditions become apparent. Therefore, men should consider improving their weight and overall nutrition, exercise more, drink less alcohol and have a better night’s sleep, as well as address risk factors such as diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol.
“This is not only likely to improve their sexual ability, but will be improve their cardiovascular health and reduce the risk of developing diabetes if they don’t already have it.”
These results are part of the Florey Adelaide Male Ageing Study at the University of Adelaide, which has been funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).
Erectile Dysfunction Drugs and Alcohol Interactions
- Drug and Alcohol Interactions – What to Avoid
- Erectile Dysfunction Medications and Alcohol
Medically reviewed by Leigh Ann Anderson, PharmD. Last updated on Nov 23, 2019.
Low blood pressure may be a concern when alcohol is mixed with erectile dysfunction (ED) drugs. These agents, in the class known as phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE5) inhibitors, cause vasodilatation and increase blood flow to the penis to help with an erection. Alcohol can also cause vasodilation and lower blood pressure. Erectile dysfunction drugs include:
Cialis is also used to treat enlargement of the prostate gland (benign prostatic hypertrophy). Some PDE5 inhibitors (Adcirca, Alyq, Revatio) are also approved to treat high blood pressure in the arteries of the lungs (pulmonary hypertension).
Learn more: The Drugs.com Drug Interaction Checker
Patients taking PDE5 inhibitors should avoid consuming large amounts of alcohol, which may cause a sudden decrease in blood pressure when getting up from a standing or reclining position. Although effects can be variable, symptoms may include a faster heart rate, dizziness, headache and fainting. Injury from a fall such as a bone fracture could occur. Studies with some PDE5 inhibitors have shown a decrease in blood pressure and symptomatic effects when combined with alcohol.
- In general, either avoid or limit the use of alcohol while being treated with PDE5 inhibitors.
- Use caution when getting up from a sitting or lying position.
- The manufacturer of Cialis recommends no more than five (5) alcoholic drinks (for example, 5 glasses of wine or 5 shots of whiskey), while the manufacturer of Stendra suggests no more than three (3) drinks.
- Other manufacturers do not make specific patient recommendations; however, since this is most likely a class effect, use caution when combining any PDE5 inhibitor with alcohol.
- Always check with your pharmacist or doctor for possible drug-alcohol interactions or other interactions. Tell your healthcare providers about all the other medications you use, including prescription, over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, vitamins, dietary supplements and herbal products.
Types of Drug Interactions With Alcohol
- Product Information. Cialis (tadalafil). Lilly, Eli and Company, Indianapolis, IN. Accessed Nov. 23, 2019 at https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2018/021368s030lbl.pdf
- Product Information. Viagra (sildenafil).” Pfizer US Pharmaceuticals, New York, NY. Accessed Nov. 23, 2019 at accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/1998/viagralabel2.pdf
- Product Information. Stendra (avanafil).” Vivus Inc, Mountain View, CA. Accessed Nov. 23, 2019 at https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2018/202276s018lbl.pdf
- Product Information. Levitra (vardenafil).” Bayer, West Haven, CT.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
Alcohol stops men being a flop in bed
By Ewen Callaway
Good news, boys. Moderate drinking may actually protect against impotence
(Image: Image Source/Rex)
Men might want to remember a new rhyme: a drink a day keeps erectile dysfunction away.
Despite traditional views about the effects of booze on male performance, new research suggests that moderate drinking actually protects against impotence in the long term – perhaps for the same reason a glass or two of wine a day cuts the odds of suffering from heart disease.
There is good evidence that excessive drinking can hinder sexual performance after a night out – a phenomenon sometimes called “brewer’s droop”. The effect has been noted for many years: “[Drink] provokes the desire, but it takes away the performance,” Shakespeare reminds us in Macbeth.
But over longer periods, moderate drinking doesn’t seem to be linked to erectile dysfunction, says Kew-Kim Chew, an epidemiologist at the University of West Australia in Nedlands, whose team conducted an anonymous postal survey of 1770 West Australian men.
After accounting for differences due to age, smoking and heart disease – all risk factors for ED – Chew and colleagues found that drinkers experienced rates of impotence 25% to 30% below those of teetotallers.
The study did not examine how alcohol seems to protect against ED, but he thinks antioxidants in some kinds of alcohol play a role. Other studies suggest that both red and white wine protect against heart disease via a similar mechanism.
One theory holds that ED and heart disease are both manifestations of the same disease. Indeed, Chew found that men who suffer from ED are more likely to go onto develop heart disease.
Chew calls for further research on the connection between alcohol, impotence and heart disease. And he says his team’s study should not give men a new reason to hit the bottle. “It would be socially irresponsible to say that even a binge drinker can get some benefits.”
Journal reference: Journal of Sexual Medicine (DOI: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2008.01115.x)
More on these topics:
Abstaining from Alcohol to Support ED Recovery
Contributor: Lisa Hatten, Business Development at Solid Landings Behavioral Health
The existing literature on addiction is extensive and strikingly clear: there is an extremely high incidence of co-occurrence between eating disorders (ED) and substance abuse. The most widely cited study conducted by CASA notes that nearly 50% of individuals diagnosed with ED also have a history of substance abuse (9% of the general population has a history of substance abuse), while up to 35% of individuals with a substance abuse problem display symptoms of eating disorders (3% of the general public has been diagnosed with an eating disorder). 
Research as to the exact cause of this correlation—whether it is rooted in the biology of addiction, psychologically rooted in mental illness, or a combination of multiple factors—is on-going, but anecdotal evidence shows that eating disorders and alcohol abuse go hand-in-hand, and physicians, psychologists, and treatment centers are now developing recovery programs designed to address both illnesses simultaneously.
This mounting body of literature does not, however, address the role of alcohol in recovery from ED for individuals who do not have a history of alcohol abuse and would not consider themselves alcoholics. For these individuals, consumption of small to moderate amounts of alcohol can feel like a safe and socially-acceptable method of enjoying a meal, relaxing and de-stressing, and even coping with difficult emotions. After all, everyone enjoys the relaxation that comes with a drink, as anxiety decreases, distressing thoughts move into the background, and both the body and the mind enjoy the calm and relaxation offered by alcohol.
For those recovering from ED, even one drink can make coping with meals easier, dull the preoccupation with weight and appearance, and ease the tension of a social gathering.
Yet as easy as alcohol is as a coping mechanism, alcohol use during ED recovery is counterproductive, unhealthy, and even dangerous. For individuals who have taken the critical step of committing themselves to recovery, whether through an inpatient program, with medical and psychological guidance, or through self-help, making the commitment to abstain from alcohol is one of the most important steps they can take to restore physical and mental health and ensure long-term success.
Alcohol use can exacerbate health problems caused by ED
Anyone coping with ED knows the serious health problems they cause, such as low blood sugar, anemia, infertility, insomnia, and bradycardia, to name just a few. Even small amounts of alcohol can make these already serious problems even more critical.
For example, alcohol can inflame and irritate bleeding ulcers and gastrointestinal problems, as well as contribute to potentially fatal liver problems by presenting additional toxins to a liver already damaged by insufficient caloric intake. Another common problem exacerbated by both alcohol and ED is loss of bone density and the rapid onset of osteoporosis.
Alcohol use increases the risk of dehydration and electrolyte imbalance
From a physical perspective, recovery from ED must focus on offering the body hydration, caloric intake, and proper nutrients. Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning that it flushes liquids and nutrients out of the body, contributing to dehydration and electrolyte imbalances which are already problematic for those suffering from ED or in the early phases of refeeding. When the body is dehydrated and low in critical minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, and phosphate, the body cannot sustain the electrical currents needed for a normal heartbeat. The result is low blood pressure and irregular heartbeats, and can ultimately lead to cardiac arrest and death.
Alcohol use can undermine the refeeding process
For someone attempting to heal and restore health through the increased consumption of calories, alcohol presents a critical problem. Alcohol contains only “empty” calories, meaning it contains absolutely no nutritional value. So for instance, a vodka and Diet Coke has 110 calories but no nutrients beyond sugar. More critically, that drink may take the place of foods that offer the body much needed nutrients, such as the 110 calories in a 4oz serving of grilled chicken, which also contains 26g of protein, 14mg of calcium, and 270mg of potassium.
Alcohol masks and dulls the root causes of ED
It is easy to use alcohol to make the next meal a little easier and to dull the sensitivity to weight and appearance, and if the eating disorder has developed into a way to cope with another mental illness or a traumatic event, alcohol can help numb and control the negative emotions that were once numbed and controlled by the “high” of starvation and/or purging. Ultimately, recovery from ED will only be successful if the underlying conditions, emotions, and/or co-occurring mental illnesses are addressed, and a more healthy relationship with food established, without the assistance of a new, artificial coping
Replacing one addiction with another: the slippery slope from ED to alcoholism
Eating disorders are increasingly being recognized as an addiction, similar to alcohol or substance abuse in their biological and psychological manifestations. Studies have shown that for individuals with eating disorders, the act of starvation and/or purging begins to stimulate the brain’s reward center just as a drink or a drug would, reducing anxiety, dulling negative thought patterns, and generating feelings of control, satiety, and self-worth. Unfortunately, recovery from eating disorders does not simply involve giving up food.
Individuals recovering from ED must face food each and every day, engaging in a constant battle to develop a healthier relationship with caloric intake. Making this struggle easier with a drink may seem harmless, but because alcohol offers the same level of positive stimulation that was originally offered by the eating disorder, it can be all too easy for the addiction from eating disorder to become an addiction to alcoholism. Avoiding alcohol consumption entirely during ED recovery is the best, maybe the only, way to avoid alcoholism while giving the body the nutrients it needs to heal and recover, and strengthen.
Have you or a loved one struggled with addiction and disordered eating? What steps were taken to achieve recovery? What worked well and what didn’t?
About Lisa Hatten: I’m dedicated to helping men and woman find the specialized help they need to break free from the vicious cycle of addition. I believe, Solid Landings is the place that can set you free! Call US TODAY! 863-271-0304 Please mention you saw us on Eating Disorder Hope.
- Food for Thought: Substance Abuse and Eating Disorders, December 2003: National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (http://www.casacolumbia.org/addiction-research/reports/food-thought-substance-abuse-and-
90,000 To drink or not to drink? And again about the dangers of alcohol.
Alcohol has an unprecedented effect on the human body. Everywhere and everywhere they say that drinking is harmful. This is already a hackneyed statement that does not make any impression on us. And if you try to ask what exactly alcohol is harmful, most will not be able to give an exhaustive answer.
The law of moderate drinking is flourishing in our society, and it is even believed that alcohol in small doses is useful.Many medical studies have been conducted on this topic to support this theory. Perhaps this is so. But that’s not the point. And about the physiology, or rather the physiological processes occurring in our body after drinking alcohol. I promise it will not be boring, I will try to explain it as clearly as possible for any reader.
Erythrocytes (red blood cells) carry oxygen throughout the body. Outside, they are covered with a lipid membrane, which does not allow them to stick together.Alcohol released into the blood degreases the surface of erythrocytes, leading to their clumping and the formation of clots, which grow like a snowball. Naturally, these clots cannot pass first through thin capillaries, but with an increase in the number of adherent erythrocytes and through larger blood vessels. Moreover, the more alcohol is drunk, the larger these clots reach.
Sooner or later, such clots get stuck in the vessels, completely paralyzing the blood flow.A lack of oxygen begins in the tissues. Moreover, under the influence of alcohol, this process occurs in the tissues of all organs. First of all, the brain suffers when the blood supply to individual groups of its neurons is cut off. Then comes oxygen starvation, leading to the death of individual, albeit very small, areas of the brain. It is this state of hypoxia that is perceived as a harmless state of intoxication.
At a certain stage of oxygen deprivation, a state of euphoria, high spirits occurs.If the dose of alcohol consumed increases, then as a result of strong intoxication, the person falls asleep. But we think so. From a physiological point of view, an alcoholic coma occurs, i.e. loss of consciousness due to neurochemical disorders caused by alcoholic hypoxia of the brain. The waking body needs more oxygen, therefore, when it is lacking, the body turns on such a protective reaction to reduce the metabolic rate.
As a result of blockage of blood vessels in the cerebral cortex, irreversible death of neurons and micro-strokes occur, leading to memory impairments.Because the brain cells responsible for memory are killed in the first place. I think everyone knows how, as a result of heavy drinking, people cannot remember anything after they sober up.
And what happens in the body after that? And the next day there is a hangover syndrome … While a person comes to his senses, a general cleaning is going on in the body at this time. It gets rid of dead cells in the cerebral cortex, increasing the flow of fluid into the disaster area and thereby creating increased pressure there.In a literal sense, brainwashing is taking place. This is the explanation for the headache and the feeling of thirst: after all, the body needs a lot of fluid to eliminate the effects of yesterday. Dead cells are excreted in the urine. You can even say that a person urinates with his brains, or rather with what he turned them into the day before.
Do you want to know what’s going on in the stomach? Let’s consider this using an example of an experiment conducted by American scientists. A gastroscopic examination was performed in 19 participants with healthy stomachs.Each subject swallowed a miniature device such as an iconoscope, from which an image of the walls of the stomach was transmitted to the TV screen. Everyone was given a drink on an empty stomach, 200 g of whiskey without soda. Within a few minutes, the mucous membrane was swollen and reddened, after an hour bleeding sores appeared on it, after a few hours strips of pus stretched along the mucous membrane. The picture was the same for all subjects. This is a good example of the effects of alcohol on an empty stomach. It’s even scary to imagine what happens to ulcers, who often continue to drink alcohol, despite the prohibitions of doctors.
Thus, in principle, there are no safe doses of alcohol for the body. First of all, the intellect suffers significantly. After all, even a single consumption of alcohol leads to irreversible damage to brain cells, a person becomes a little dumber, in other words. Moreover, this process goes slowly and imperceptibly for oneself, but sooner or later, with the regular use of alcoholic beverages, personality degradation occurs.
Scientists have recognized alcohol more dangerous than drugs!
A team of scientists has found that the vast majority of people have a wrong opinion about the dangers of alcohol and drugs.According to the latest data, alcohol is far more harmful than even heroin. Researchers classified 20 substances according to 16 parameters, assessing the harm that is caused both to the person who uses the harmful substance and to those around him. Factors such as the degree of addiction, harm to mental and physical health, the number of crimes committed under the influence of a particular drug, material damage to the economy and society were taken into account. When adding up points for individual and social harm, alcohol turned out to be the absolute leader (76 points out of 100), ahead of cocaine (27 points) and tobacco (26 points).The expertise of British scientists proved the inconsistency of the classifications of drugs used by the governments of many countries in assessing the potential harm to health and society. “Our findings support past research in Britain and Holland, which has confirmed that current classification systems have little to do with the harm that different types of drugs do,” the BBC said.
On the dangers of alcoholism. Useful information for schoolchildren and adolescents
Why you shouldn’t drink alcoholic beverages
Already at the dawn of his development, man got acquainted with the properties of some drinks.Milk, as well as honey and juice of some fruits, after standing for some time in the sunlight, changed not only their appearance, color and smell, but also acquired the ability to improve mood, general well-being, and allowed a person to feel lightness and carelessness in himself. However, people were not immediately able to correlate this positive property with what happens to a person the next day, since for such a good state they had to pay with a headache, disgusting health and generally a bad mood.
The basis of any such drink is alcohol, which is wine, or ethyl alcohol. A few minutes after it enters the body, it spreads to all tissues. It has long been found out that this substance is destructive to living cells. When it enters the human body, it upsets the smooth functioning of tissues, organs and cells in general.
Alcohol leaves the body with water and oxygen, as a result of which cells begin to shrink. It becomes extremely difficult for them to work as usual.If alcohol enters the body regularly and in a decent amount, then this can generally lead to cell death. Under the influence of this substance, absolutely all processes occurring in the body and regulating its activity can be disrupted. This can eventually lead to diseases of the liver, kidneys, heart and blood vessels.
The fastest and strongest alcohol affects the brain cells, primarily affecting the higher parts. Alcohol very quickly enters the nerve cells, disrupting their work.In this case, some of the cells die, as a result of which there is a simultaneous violation of the interaction between the regions of the brain.
In addition, alcohol has an extremely negative effect on blood vessels. First, they expand. Because of this, the blood, along with the alcohol contained in it, rushes to the brain. As a result, the centers of activity of the brain are overexcited.
It is for this reason that a person who has taken an alcoholic drink becomes agitated and cheeky.
Because of alcohol in the human brain, the inhibition processes are significantly weakened. The cerebral cortex ceases to control what happens in other departments. For this reason, the drunk person does not control himself, and is also unable to be critical of his behavior.
A drunkard is not able to keep himself modest and restrained and can say or do something that he would never do or would not say in a sober state. The next portion of the alcoholic drink more and more binds the nerve centers of the brain and blocks common sense.These centers are unable to contain what the lower parts of the brain begin to do.
The state of intoxication was well described by the famous Russian psychiatrist S. S. Korsakov: “The intoxicated one does not think about the consequences of his words and actions and treats them extremely frivolously … Passions and bad motives appear without any cover and induce more or less wild actions “.
It has been noticed that in an intoxicated state, a person can blur out any secret, he loses his vigilance and ceases to be careful.What in everyday life is called intoxication is actually a serious alcohol poisoning with all the ensuing consequences.
By the way, it was found out that alcohol that has already entered the body does not come out immediately. For two to three days, alcohol continues to be in the body, exerting its destructive effect on it. Due to the fact that it can lead a person to an elevated state, improve their mood, people want to experience this feeling again and drink alcoholic beverages over and over again.
During drunkenness, the will and self-control of a person come to naught. However, alcoholic beverages are the most dangerous for a young and growing body, since during the growth period the body is most susceptible to the effects of all those harmful substances that are contained in alcohol.
By the way, note that alcohol has an extremely negative effect on future offspring. Incidentally, it is worth distinguishing between concepts such as drunkenness and alcoholism. If the first is the result of improper upbringing or a weak will that could not resist external negative influences, then alcoholism is already a serious illness that needs to be treated.However, coping with it is not so easy. It will take a huge amount of effort to heal a person from this. Moreover, it is far from the fact that this will work. It may happen that all efforts are in vain.
You are already quite an adult in order to independently choose the right friends for yourself. If you see that the company you are in does not represent a rest or a walk without a can of beer or some other similar nasty thing, then, first of all, you should think about whether you need such communication.You should not appear at parties that gather only to have another drink of something strong.
Juvenile alcoholism is many times more frightening than an adult, in addition, it practically does not respond to treatment. Juvenile alcoholism develops many times faster than that of an adult. Moreover, alcohol is even more dangerous for girls than for boys. And the personality of drunkenness is destroyed very quickly.
When drinking alcoholic beverages, the internal organs are always affected, and the nervous system is hardest hit.Because of this, disturbances in memory occur, and control over their actions is significantly lost.
Where does drunkenness begin?
In most cases, the reasons for a teenager’s involvement with alcohol are very different, but among them it is still possible to identify the most typical, depending on the age of the teenager.
Until the age of 11, alcohol is taken as part of medicines. If the child tries it on his own, then it happens, as a rule, by accident.Sometimes a child may specifically taste alcohol out of a healthy child’s curiosity.
If a teenager has not yet reached the age of 15, then his parents may deliberately begin to give him small doses of alcohol, for example, on holidays – at some family feast, the arrival of guests, etc.
From the moment a teenager drank with his parents for the first time, he feels entitled to a drink with his friends. Some other reasons are already operating here, for example, from a teenager you can hear the following phrases: “my friends persuaded me” or “it was inconvenient for me to lag behind friends”.Most often, at this age, a teenager does not drink too much – usually it is rarely more than one glass for any holiday.
Acquaintance with alcoholic beverages in a normal teenager takes place in the bosom of the family, but even such a development of events is fraught with serious danger, since alcohol is the same drug, and addiction to it occurs very quickly.
Always the motives for drinking alcoholic beverages come down, as a rule, to the following: the inability to deviate from tradition, as well as a strong desire to try something new, so to speak, out of curiosity.These motives appear due to some characteristics of the adolescent psyche. The desire to follow adults in absolutely everything in order to grow up yourself as soon as possible gradually awakens in you.
Another reason can be called so – “a drink for courage.” This can also be attributed to age characteristics. Drinking alcoholic beverages on this occasion usually correlates with the fact that you do not have enough life experience or some kind of knowledge in order to solve this or that problem, for example, when communicating with older people or with girls.Teenagers are often very shy, and alcohol is the way to deal with this shyness successfully. After drinking, guys begin to overestimate their capabilities, both physically and in terms of communication. From the outside it will not look the way it will seem to the drunk himself, and you can simply go into elementary looseness. This behavior will definitely not look good.
Even before you try any alcoholic beverage for the first time in your life, you will already have a theoretical idea of how it affects the human body.You will probably think that he is pleasant and exciting. In practice, however, this is unlikely to be the case.
For example, the taste of vodka can make you bitter in your mouth, burning, nausea, and even dizzy. And this is not all the unpleasant consequences that may follow after your first acquaintance with alcoholic beverages. Such an acquaintance almost always leads to the fact that adolescents begin to avoid alcoholic beverages for a long time. When you are 13-16 years old, the temptation to drink something like this will increase significantly.And there will be enough reasons, for example, with your classmates, you will probably want to celebrate the end of the ninth grade, the transition to another school, all sorts of holidays.
Over time, the desire to use something intoxicating will be filled with new psychological content. In the first place there are already such motives that gradually form drunkenness as a type of behavior. The main motive for this use is usually boredom.
According to psychologists, boredom is a state of a person in which he experiences a strong emotional hunger.If a teenager is bored, it means that he has largely or completely lost interest in educational activities. If at this age teenagers consume alcoholic beverages, then most likely they are not engaged in socially useful work at all.
The manifestation of boredom in leisure is very noticeable. Children stop reading books, do not participate in any events at all, do not go to theaters and museums, do not listen to good music. Such bored teenagers love cinema, but they are attracted to it not so much by the film itself as a work of art, but by the usual entertainment.Such adolescents are not able to assert themselves in the team of their peers due to their personal qualities, which is why they turn their attention to alcoholic beverages.
Often teenagers worry a lot. This can be associated with anything, since at this age a person is very susceptible to emotional external and internal influences. And alcohol here acts as an antidepressant, which allows you to relieve the accumulated stress. A similar condition can appear in a teenager if he has problems in the family or at school.Nevertheless, this behavior is typical for this age, but whether it is worth drinking alcoholic beverages for the sake of relieving stress is still a big question.
Often teenage groups are formed spontaneously, however, there are still certain principles of their organization, since teenagers, as a rule, begin to communicate according to the similarity of interests. However, if a group of teenagers does not have any hobby or association under the banner of some useful activity, then just bored guys will gather in it.It is this group that is most favorable for starting alcohol consumption.
Harm of alcohol, its effect on the human body
Alcohol is an insidious thing: on the one hand, a glass of beer is simply an irreplaceable remedy for overexertion after a hard working week. But on the other hand, this is an invisible, but quite tangible blow to health, striking the most vulnerable parts of our body.
About seven reasons why it is worth giving up alcoholic beverages and how they can harm your life – further in our article.
1. A blow to the cardiovascular system. As soon as alcohol enters the body, the heart begins to increase in size (beer is especially insidious). Numerous scars appear on the tissues of the heart, which are the culprits of a heart attack and can lead to death.
2. Clouded mind. It is not for nothing that alcohol is considered a type of narcotic substance: alcoholic beverages have a euphoric effect on the psyche, the duration of which ranges from an hour to an hour and a half.Soon after, the person falls into a depressive state, accompanied by aggression and attacks of panic fear. Reactions decrease, clear thinking in such a situation is out of the question. It is for this reason, as you know, that drivers should not drink: drunk driving can end in the most deplorable outcome.
3. Destruction of brain cells. Even a small amount of alcohol (yes, half a glass of wine also applies here) destroys several thousand neurons without the possibility of recovery.The alcohol contained in alcoholic beverages provokes the adhesion of erythrocytes – red blood cells: the latter clog the microcapillaries, leading to the death of neurons from oxygen starvation. Cells that have died in an unequal battle with alcohol are excreted in the urine.
4. Development of chronic diseases. Doctors equate the effect of alcohol with a slow poison: the decomposition products of alcohol destroy the body in the literal sense of the word. A person who regularly drinks alcohol, over time, increasingly begins to feel unwell, his mental and physical activity is noticeably reduced, and apathy comes to replace them.Long-term alcohol dependence is the key to the development of such dangerous chronic diseases as pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer, cirrhosis, heart attack and a host of other insidious diseases. Not the most promising prospect, is it?
5. Bad heredity. Alcohol makes changes in the structure of the genetic code of DNA – it is it that contains information about a person and his descendants. Scientists have long concluded that 90% of children with mental disabilities and congenital disabilities are born to people who abuse alcohol.
6. Indecent behavior. We are sure that you have seen more than once what a drunk person is like: alcohol affects the moral centers of the brain, and therefore his further behavior becomes completely unpredictable. At best, it all ends with a peaceful snooze in a secluded corner. At worst – uncontrollable aggression, outbursts of anger and other unpleasant things that a person would never allow himself when sober.
7.Hole in the budget. The prices for alcohol (especially good) are considerable, and regular drinking of your favorite alcoholic beverages often costs a lot of money. In addition, people who have begun to experience alcohol dependence do not stop at one bottle: the more the head gets drunk, the more drink will be bought. Even a banal watching a football match is almost never complete without a few cans of beer – let alone a picnic with a company, fishing or a birthday party. If you calculate how much such leisure costs, you will really want to set aside this money for more reasonable purposes (invest in a trip or, for example, please yourself with a new gadget).
As you can see, there are many reasons to touch alcohol as rarely as possible, or even refuse it altogether. Yes, alcohol has a relaxing effect. Yes, it loosens and removes internal clamps. But the harm that the body receives in parallel negates the already small benefits. In addition, you can relax in other ways – yoga, swimming, hot bath, sauna, massage or a leisurely walk in a calm green park are the best helpers in this matter.Take care of your own health now, and in the future you will have many times more chances of avoiding a hospital bed and a host of other unpleasant “bonuses” acquired over the years of drinking alcohol.
90,000 So is alcohol good for you? Well, at least in small doses?
- Bianca Nogradi
- BBC Future
Photo author, Thinkstock
There has been a long debate in the scientific world on a topic that can be called evergreen: is there any positive sides to drinking alcohol, and if yes, then are they enough to claim that drinking is harmless? The arguments about the benefits of drinking were sorted out by correspondent
BBC Future .
For those of us who like to skip a glass of wine or a glass of beer from time to time, it is pleasant to believe that by doing so we are doing our body a good service.
The media and the general public welcome with disproportionate enthusiasm any scientific study on the topic “alcohol in small doses is harmless and even useful – even every day.”
However, it is a truly difficult task to determine whether it is true or not that moderate alcohol consumption is beneficial for the body.
Teachings of the Great Cochrane
One of the earliest studies of the relationship between alcohol consumption and health was carried out by the great Archie Cochrane, now the late godfather of evidence-based medicine.*
In 1979, Cochrane and two colleagues attempted to establish the exact difference in mortality from heart disease in 18 developed countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.
Their analysis revealed a clear and significant relationship between an increase in alcohol consumption, namely wine, and a decrease in the number of cases of coronary heart disease. This ailment is caused by fatty deposits on the walls of the blood vessels that supply blood to the heart.
Photo Credit, iStock
Pumping experimental subjects with alcohol may seem fun … that it is the aromatic and other compounds contained in alcohol (which, such as plant polyphenols, are recently hypothesized to be antioxidants) that have beneficial properties, and not alcohol as such.
In keeping with the spirit of evidence-based medicine, Cochrane and his associates suggested an experimental approach.
Pumping up alcohol may seem fun, but it hardly sheds any light on what positive effects alcohol can have on chronic disease.
Therefore, the study of the pros and cons of alcoholic effects on human health was carried out in the form of long-term population studies.**
In 1986, scientists surveyed a group of more than 50,000 male doctors in the United States. The questions were about their eating and drinking habits, health indicators and health status over two years.
As it turned out, the more these doctors drank alcoholic beverages, the less likely they were to develop coronary heart disease, regardless of their dietary habits.
One drink, one small one
According to an extensive study published in 2000, the authors of which also studied male doctors, there was a U-shaped (non-linear) relationship between moderate alcohol consumption and – in this case – death, not ischemic disease.
Those who drank one standard dose a day were less likely to die within five and a half years of observation than those who drank less than once a week or took more than one dose a day.
The foregoing suggests that there is some “area of maximum efficiency” for alcohol consumption.
Photo author, Getty
Do non-drinkers get sick more often than those who drink a glass of beer a day?
This is an intermediate healthy zone between too little and too much, where cardiovascular benefits balance the risk of death from other causes.
Does this mean that alcohol itself is beneficial? Or is he just a marker for other healthy behaviors?
Can we say that people who drink in moderation also belong to the category of those who regularly exercise, follow a balanced diet and generally take care of themselves?
In 2005, another study was conducted among medical professionals. It was attended by 32 thousand women and 18 thousand men.
This time the aim was to examine how drinking habits affect not only the risk of heart attack, but also physiology.
It turned out that the risk of being victims of a heart attack was lower for people who drank one or two glasses of alcohol three to four times a week.
Researchers have hypothesized that this is due to the beneficial effects of alcohol on high-density lipoprotein (HDL), the so-called “good” cholesterol, as well as glycated hemoglobin A1c (a marker for diabetes risk) and fibrinogen, a blood clotting protein.
According to other sources, there are some indicators that alcohol can change the balance of all these factors for the better.Which may shed light on the mechanism by which alcohol in moderate doses improves health.
Results from other studies have replicated this effect of the “area of maximum efficacy” of alcohol on ischemic stroke, which is caused by a blood clot in the brain, and death in general.
But before you go all out and prescribe yourself a couple of bottles a week (for health reasons, of course!), Read on.
Do abstainers actually face a higher risk of death than people who drink one or two drinks a day?
Everything is not as straightforward as it might seem at first glance.
In 2006, a group of scientists took a closer look at how this kind of research is constructed.
The conducted meta-analysis, which summarized the previously obtained statistical data, showed a significant drawback in the previous classification of drinkers, but rather of abstainers.
The number of non-drinkers in many cases included people who reduced their alcohol consumption or stopped drinking altogether due to poor health or old age.
As a result of this approach, non-drinkers may appear to be a much less healthy group than the general population.
Photo author, Thinkstock
Alcohol and heart attack – is there a connection?
Significantly, research that eliminated this misclassification did not conclude that there was a reduction in heart disease and mortality among moderate drinkers.
Other scientists have just taken a closer look at this “false classification hypothesis” and conducted a large-scale population-based study in the UK.The data they obtained were published this year.
It turns out that when you simply compare alcohol consumption and health effects, you find clear benefits from moderate drinking.
But once you get the once-drinking people out of the abstinence group, you find that the perceived benefits look so attractive to her. In reality, they almost disappear altogether.
Meanwhile, another group of scientists started studying people whose bodies are not able to properly process alcohol, and for this reason they do not drink alcohol at all.
As it turned out, carriers of this genetic marker had a healthier cardiovascular system and were less at risk of coronary artery disease than those who do not have this feature.
Now for some really bad news. Whatever effect alcohol may have on increasing or decreasing your risk of heart disease, it can nevertheless bring your death closer in countless ways.
Last year’s report from the World Health Organization (WHO) noted that binge drinking increases the risks of depression and anxiety, cirrhosis of the liver, pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas), suicide, violence and injury from accidents.
Alcohol is also associated with cancers of the mouth, nose, larynx, esophagus, colon, liver and breast in women.
Between 4% and 30% of cancer deaths worldwide can be attributed to alcohol consumption (for breast cancer, the most common type of cancer, the figure is 8%).
It is important to remember that even moderate drinking increases the risk to a certain extent: just one glass a day increases the risk by 4%, and heavy drinking increases this figure to 40-50%.
Binge drinking weakens the immune system and is therefore associated with pneumonia and tuberculosis. It leads to risky sexual behavior, which increases the risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections such as HIV.
And drunkenness during pregnancy can result in damage to the fetus, leading to fetal alcohol syndrome. ***
In total, there are more than 200 diseases and injuries that can be associated with alcohol consumption, including 30 caused only by alcohol …
However, the notion that moderate alcohol consumption can be beneficial has not completely dissipated, and even some organizations dedicated to combating drunkenness and alcoholism are reluctant to admit that small doses of alcohol can to some extent protect the body from cardiovascular diseases and some types of strokes and heart attacks.
Confused? Well, you are not alone.
Perhaps the most comprehensive summary of research on the effects of alcohol on health is contained in a critical analysis of the issue under the heading “Is alcohol a universal remedy for prevention?”, Published in early 2013.
The author of the analysis, Norwegian physician Hans Olaf Fekjer, concludes that given strong evidence of the dangers of alcohol, there are many reasons to be skeptical about the evidence of the health benefits of alcohol. But you shouldn’t overdo it with mistrust either.
All information contained in this article is for general information only and should not be construed as a substitute for the medical advice of your healthcare professional or any other healthcare professional.The BBC is not responsible and cannot be held responsible for the content of external Internet sites mentioned here. It also does not call for the use of any commercial products or services mentioned or recommended on any of these sites. Always contact your healthcare professional if you have any concerns about your health.
* Evidence – based medicine , EBM Evidence-based medicine is different “from impressionistic medicine” …”Evidence-based medicine is the use of the best clinical research results to select the treatment for a particular patient, it is the integration of the best scientific evidence with clinical experience and patient expectations,” write the authors of the manual prepared by the Sechenov Moscow Medical Academy.
** Population study – observational or descriptive study without deliberate intervention, during which participants are systematically examined to clarify the absence or presence (or severity) of the studied trait .
*** Fetal alcohol syndrome or AFP manifests itself in growth retardation in the prenatal (prenatal) period, characteristic facial abnormalities and dysfunction of the central nervous system. ASP is considered the main cause of mental retardation in children.
“Alcohol” or “Alcohol”, how to put the stress correctly?
The word “alcohol” should correctly emphasize the vowel sound “o” of the third phonetic syllable: al-ko-gol .
In colloquial speech, a double pronunciation of the word we are interested in is often heard:
- alcohol .
How should the stress be placed in this word according to the orthoepic norm of the modern Russian literary language?
To find out the correct version of the stress setting, we divide the lexeme under consideration into phonetic syllables in accordance with the number of vowel sounds contained in it:
Three vowel sounds organize three phonetic syllables in the word under study.
In Russian, this word is borrowed. It came to the Russian language from Arabic, where there is the word al-kuhl , which literally means “fine powder” . In Russian, this lexeme was initially stressed on the first vowel “a” in accordance with the pronunciation of the word in Arabic. This is where the double version of the pronunciation of the word in question comes from in colloquial Russian speech.But over time, pronunciation with the stressed first vowel “a” has become obsolete in Russian and now belongs only to the professional speech of workers in the medical profile of the national economy and the chemical industry.
In modern Russian literary language, when pronouncing this three-syllable word, the only correct way is to select the vowel sound “o” in the third syllable by the voice.
But the alcohol did not work on him; the wine only made his eyes shine, untied his tongue; he enthusiastically invented all sorts of pranks and improvised songs (Jack London. Little mistress of the Big House).
According to the orthoepic norm of the modern Russian literary language, the word “alcohol” correctly emphasizes the vowel “o” of the third phonetic syllable
This constant stress is preserved in all case forms of this noun.
Let’s practice how to correctly stress the word “alcohol”, if we read aloud examples of sentences from fiction.
Alkogol has not yet had time to knock them down and only led to extreme excitement (James Fenimore Cooper. Pathfinder).
It seemed incredible to Ronda that until now none of the Arabs had woken up, but, apparently, fatigue and alcohol did their job (Edgar Burroughs. Tarzan and the Lion Man).
The most notorious villain would not have figured out his dastardly plan and the reason for ‘s refusal from alcohol (Mine Reed. Girl’s wife).
Honestly, dog, I envy you that your insides are not poisoned by alcohol (Jack London. Mike Jerry’s brother).
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St. Petersburg State Budgetary Institution “Psychoneurological Dispensary No. 10”
Experts: with 30 grams of alcohol per day, mortality starts to rise
We drink “in the northern way”
Russia is known as a country with a “northern model” of alcohol consumption – this is how experts call the way to drink in shock doses.Together with us, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Ukraine and the Baltic countries stand out in this row. Under the “southern model”, which is much less hazardous to health – it is practiced, for example, by Italy, Spain, France, Greece – citizens drink quite regularly, but little by little, and less strong alcohol: a glass of dry wine at lunch or dinner.
As experts note, in general, Russians have recently reduced their “libations” – according to official data, in 2016, each person had less than 10 liters of alcohol per year, which is significantly less than in 2015 (while in a prosperous in the European region, there are countries where they drink 14 liters per year).However, we still have and prevail the extreme method, when people “take on the chest” large doses, up to deadly.
“This, for example, is more than 1 liter of vodka at a time,” explains Daria Khalturina, head of the health risk prevention department of the Central Research Institute of Health Informatization of the Ministry of Health of Russia, . – It should be understood that with age, the ability to endure extreme alcoholic stress is significantly reduced. For example, if at the age of 18, being healthy, you can get off with a strong hangover by drinking a liter of vodka, then the body of a 45-year-old man may not survive this. “In our country, mortality from overdose is very high.
How not to go overboard?
Are there safe doses of alcohol and what are they? There is a lot of controversy on this issue, there are different opinions. What should an ordinary person be guided by? The World Health Organization (WHO) indicates the limit of the absolutely dangerous dose: 60 ml of ethanol for men and 50 ml for women. In terms of alcoholic beverages, this is, respectively, 180 or 150 g of vodka, or 1.5 beer, or 0.5 liters of wine per day.Critically hazardous consumption begins beyond these boundaries. However, according to epidemiological data (that is, according to the results of many years of observations of large groups of the population. – Auth.), It can be seen that already with 30 ml of ethanol per day, an increase in mortality begins, says Daria Khalturina. This is 90 g of vodka, 800 ml of beer or a large glass of wine. That is, by drinking so much, a person is already definitely hurting himself.
– At the same time, I cannot urge not to drink at all, since there is evidence that alcohol reduces the risk of atherosclerosis (that is, blockage of blood vessels with cholesterol plaques.- Auth.), But here we are talking exclusively about low doses of alcohol, the expert emphasizes. For example, one small glass (no more than 150 ml) of dry red wine and not every day – WHO recommends at least two days a week to completely abstain from alcohol.
Not only cirrhosis
What threatens those who drink without seeing the shores? Many traditionally remember cirrhosis of the liver, but in fact, the scale of damage and even destruction of the body is much wider, doctors warn.Alcohol is a carcinogen, so alcohol abuse leads to the development of diseases that most frighten people – various types of cancer. In particular, it has been proven that alcohol consumption is associated with an increase in the risk of developing cancer of the breast, lip, tongue, esophagus, liver, stomach, and bladder.
“If a person consumes more than 30 ml of ethanol per day, he also has an increased risk of neurodegeneration,” explains Daria Khalturina. As a result, intelligence decreases, memory and character deteriorate, and the likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases increases.Moreover, with age, our nervous system becomes more and more susceptible to the dangerous effects of alcohol. In general, long-term studies and observations of tens of thousands of people have shown that alcohol abuse, in particular the regular use of vodka, reduces a person’s life by an average of 8 years.
Alcohol has a negative effect on a young body no less strongly than on older people. The human brain is actively formed until the age of 25, and alcohol intake before this age inhibits the development of the brain, as a result, both the level of thinking and hormonal levels suffer, and in the future this affects not only health, but also a person’s career, income level, etc.experts say.
Facts & Figures
- 82% of all murders in Russia are committed while intoxicated.
- Every 60th Russian man is now in prison, and the reason for this is most often alcohol.
- 55% of fire victims are not sober at the time of death.
(data based on official statistics, provided by D.Khalturina).
How to save oneself from the “green serpent”?
Worldwide evidence-based practice says that the basis is restrictive actions.It is not for nothing that many people who admit their dependence on some sites on the Internet simply block them on them, experts say. In our country, the most effective today have turned out to be a decrease in the affordability of strong alcohol, a decrease in the number of points of sale and a time limit for sale.
Also now the EGAIS system is working very actively, which tracks alcohol consumption, recalls Daria Khalturina. Initially, EGAIS took into account only the production of alcohol, but since 2016 it has also been extended to retail sales, and now, when alcohol is sold, a QR code appears on the check, where all information about each bottle is encrypted.For stores, this prevents the ability to buy illegal alcohol and sell it – if the check does not have the required QR code, the outlet risks losing its license. And buyers can always make sure of the legality of alcohol, find out the manufacturer by scanning the QR code from the receipt using a special smartphone application.
Alcohol question-answer | Women’s consultation number 22
Who is at risk of alcohol dependence?
My friends and colleagues and I do not consider ourselves alcoholics, we occasionally drink during meetings, get-togethers, when we celebrate birthdays at work, etc.But recently, when I renewed my driver’s license, the drug dispensary doctor scared me: he says that such “libations” can eventually lead to alcohol addiction. Please tell me: are there any signs by which you can independently determine the risk of alcohol dependence? And what determines how great a person’s propensity for alcoholism is?
Igor Gorbachev, chief physician of the narcological dispensary in the Kaluga region, answers:
– The risk of becoming addicted to alcohol is largely determined by the duration of drinking.First of all, we are talking about seniority, that is, how long a person consumes alcoholic beverages during his life. The fact is that over time, the body adapts, begins to produce enzymes that rapidly metabolize alcohol (that is, break it down – Ed.), And the so-called alcohol tolerance increases. That is, if earlier small doses caused euphoria, pleasure, and a little more – led to a gag reflex, then over time a person can drink a lot, but there will be no gag reflex.In this case, alcohol ceases, in principle, to negatively affect a person instantly. This encourages you to drink more and more, while the deep-seated dangerous processes in the body, meanwhile, go on without stopping. This tolerance to alcohol characterizes the formation of the first or second stage of addiction.
If we talk about people who drink every Friday for 10 – 15 years, then this, of course, is also an addiction. After all, as a rule, “alcoholic” Friday smoothly turns into Saturday and ends on Sunday.In general, any addiction, whether nicotine or alcoholic, begins with the first tests, then – the use of the situation, on occasion, and then it becomes a habit, accompanied by entertainment, positive emotions.