When taken in moderation, alcohol benefits the body. After two glasses of wine, neurochemical processes activate the brain to release dopamine, an important neurotransmitter. It is dopamine that gives drinkers the "buzz" or feeling of happiness when drinking alcohol.
Individuals who drink past that "buzz" are, however, putting themselves in danger of binge drinking, which can in turn lead to Holiday Heart Syndrome.
How Does Binge Drinking Trigger Holiday Heart Syndrome?
Holiday Heart Syndrome is a condition that individuals who overindulge themselves over the holidays can contract: a combination of overeating, stress, and binge drinking can place a huge amount of strain on the heart and cause a number of complications.
The syndrome occurs in individuals with, or without, a history of heart problems, and it can lead to stroke and other heart ailments.
Symptoms of Holiday Heart Syndrome include palpitations, chest pain, fatigue, lightheadedness and shortness of breath.
The intake of alcohol has been seen to have a definite link to Holiday Heart Syndrome as it interferes with cardiac function and arrythmogenic properties that result from the rise in plasma free fatty acids.
When combined with overeating and too much stress during the holidays, binge drinking can cause complications that go beyond a holiday hangover and can possibly even lead to stroke.
Both frequent and infrequent drinkers can contract this condition, which is why doctors and researchers suggest taking it easy during the holidays regardless of an individual's drinking pattern. Naturally, though, those with a history of binge drinking and heart complications are at a higher risk.
How Does Binge Drinking Damage The Brain?
Drinking a few glasses of wine or any sort of alcohol can have positive benefits to the body, but binge drinking can trigger a domino effect in the brain. The three stages of alcohol addiction show the increasing damage that too much alcohol can inflict.
In the first stage alone, the networks in the human brain that enable us to function properly are disrupted by the addiction cycle.
By the second stage, the disruptions continue, leading an individual to crave for alcohol since the pleasure that comes with alcohol intake is already diminished.
By the third and last stage, the brain can no longer function properly due to the many changes in its structure and function. A binge drinking individual is now unable to process his or her own executive control systems, emotions, actions, and impulses, including the impulse to seek more alcohol.
The consequences of alcoholism go beyond the individual because it also affects the people around them. It is, however, important to remember that alcoholism is a treatable condition, and a combination of medication and therapy has been proven to help binge drinkers. Still, other illnesses require lifelong treatments.