Dealing with the Effects of Alcohol Abuse in Pregnancy and the Body weight


Alcohol Abuse and its Effects

The effects of alcohol abuse can be very detrimental not only to the user, but the society at large. We don’t need to travel far before we see how the devastating consequences of alcohol abuse are affecting both users and innocent lives.

Alcoholism is basically a psychological problem in which a person heavily dependent on alcohol has given up on the thought of quitting alcohol. They think and assume that they are not strong enough to get out of this so called alcohol dependence syndrome.

This short article will look at two examples of the effects of alcohol abuse in our society today.

Alcohol and pregnancy:

These two should not mix and should be discouraged. Even though, no one knows for certain the exact potential effects just a small amount of alcohol can have on a developing fetus, the use of alcohol in pregnancy should be discouraged.

Many leading pediatric advocates like the American Academy of Pediatrics and even public health officials give similar recommendations to avoiding drinking alcohol during pregnancy. 


Effect on Pregnancy: 

Simply put, whatever a pregnant woman eats get eaten by her baby too. Drinking alcohol puts the baby’s and expectant mother’s health at high risk.

When an expectant mother consumes alcohol, the alcohol passes into the baby’s blood stream through the placenta and eventually end up as a high blood alcohol level affecting the growth and development of the fetus. 

This happens because the alcohol in the fetus’s blood takes longer time to break down unlike in an adult, and this ultimately may lead to serious irreversible harm to the baby’s development.

Due to too much consumption of alcohol during pregnancy, the baby may be born with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). This disorder comes with detrimental and irreversible challenges, including heart defects, poor growth, abnormal facial features and damages to central nervous system.


Alcohol and Pregnancy

There is no particular amount of alcohol that should be consumed during pregnancy. It is safer to avoid drinking alcohol altogether in order to avoid the following complexities.

  • Miscarriage:The baby dies before 5 months of pregnancy.
  • Still Birth:The baby dies after 5 months of pregnancy.
  • Low Birth Weight:The baby is born with a weight less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces.
  • Premature Birth:The baby is born before 37 weeks.
  • Birth Defects:This includes learning, speech, attention span, language, hyperactivity.
  • Neurological Problems: Brain and spinal cord damages.

Read: *How to know if you need help with Alcohol Abuse: Take the Quiz here*


Effect on Weight: 

The effect of alcohol abuse on body weight is another undesirable consequence experienced by the user.

One gram of alcohol contains 7.1 Kilo calorie energy. This shows that excess intake of alcohol ends up becoming weight gain.

However, researches show that male drinkers gain much more weight as compared to female drinkers. 

How alcohol actually contributes to a drinker’s body weight can be explained as follows.

  1. Calories are not always equal to calories out:We know that alcohol is an addictive substance and large number of people are habitual and binge drink. When alcohol is taken with other food items on a daily basis, its calories add up to those from other dishes. This provides body with more calories that encourage weight gain.
  2. Appetite control:It has been observed that people who drink alcohol have an increased appetite for food. At each meal, they consume more food than others. Such people tend to eat food that contains high proportions of fat. The appetite increases as the consumption of alcohol increases. 
  3. Inadequate distribution of fat:Drinking excess amounts of alcohol causes a decrease in fat oxidation. This increases body fat,  both in men and women. The increase in fat, usually takes place near abdominal area.
  4. Hormonal problems:Drinking alcohol seems to increase estrogen levels by 20%. This increases the size of the breast in both men and women. 


Factors that make quitting challenging:

If it is to be, it’s going to be up to you. No matter how many therapies or psychiatric visits you make, nothing can change until you decide to change. The only requirement is your willingness to accept there is a problem and willing to  seek help. Quitting alcohol can be daunting but very possible. The factors discussed below can however make it one difficult task.

  • GABA Mimicry:In our brain, there are neurotransmitters that calm our body. When we feel aggressive and anxious that is because of our low GABA levels. Upon alcohol consumption, it mimics the presence of GABA giving us relief and calmness. With time, GABA is depleted by alcohol making the drinker even more anxious and aggressive. GABA levels must be increased in our body naturally by exercise, mediation, supplements and diet.
  • Bad Gut Bacteria:Researchers call bad gut bacteria our “second brain”. When the bad gut bacteria overgrows it affects our mood directly. We become more anxious and irritated. These bad gut bacteria feed upon alcohol. 
  • Peer Pressure:As stupid as it seems, it’s quite dangerous. This is also one of the reasons, why a person starts drinking. To show off or poor decisive powers to refuse to such proposals is astonishingly harmful. 

Read: Tips on how to treat withdrawal symptoms of Quitting smoking

Treatment: Here are very easy treatment ideas which you can (and should) follow to lead a happy life.

  • Expose your intentions: Tell your friends and family what you’re trying to accomplish. You might be surprised at how much encouragement and support you get from them. 
  • Avoid Temptations: Do not go to bars and pubs where temptation could become irresistible. 
  • Cut the time lapse: Quitting alcohol all at once might be a bit tacky. Start by cutting down time. If you were drinking after every 4 hours now cut it twice a day. Then once a day. Gradually, keep lowering the amount to once a week, once a month and then goodbye alcohol. 
  • Appreciate the achievement: When you realize that you have been doing great give yourself a treat. Spend some quality time with your family or engage yourself in some work. Meditation is also another great way to learn how to re-evaluate what matters to you in life and itemize what you’re grateful for.

As discussed above, the effects of alcohol abuse can be curbed by adopting a healthier lifestyle habits that helps not only the drinker but the society. Acknowledging you need help makes receiving the available support around you a lot easier without the feeling of hopelessness.


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