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This is a topic that has been somewhat controversial in recent years, mostly around marijuana. If you asked doctors 15-20 years ago, when it was still fairly illegal across the board, we had much more clear opinions on the matter. These days, given that it’s legal and easily accessible, the times have had to adjust and incorporate it into our thoughts and recommendations.
Generally? Small doses and moderation are key for either alcohol or marijuana. Used recreationally in small doses and not daily should lead to few problems. If you find you’re particularly sensitive to either and don’t feel restful or good after using it. While some feel it calms them, many experience anxiety, a racing heart, disorientation, and paranoia with marijuana. In excess, either one causes significant disruption to sleep architecture which is vital to normal and healthy restfulness.
Another hidden health danger of alcohol is its calorie content. It’s closer to fat than it is protein or carbs. That doesn’t include any sugars that are in mixed drinks or sugars in wine or beer. As in all things, moderation remains key not just for the addiction potential, but also for general health principles and for a cleaner diet.
An often-overlooked part of consuming too much of anything, is its effect on your sleep. Alcohol dysregulates your body temperature overnight, which is crucial to sleeping comfortably. If you’ve even been “over-served” you probably woken up hot and uncomfortable. That’s because alcohol causes vasodilation, flooding your skin with warmth. It’s why older depictions of an alcoholic show (usually a him) red-faced. That’s not to mention, hangovers, dehydration, and strange dreams that can prevent a deep and restful sleep.
And what are signs of a problem? Well for either alcohol or marijuana, if you feel that you’re consuming more than you would like, or people in your life are concerned that you consume too much, or you feel that it’s difficult to cut down on your own, you’re drifting into some trouble territory. Many things impact someone’s tolerance or ability to become addicted to alcohol, marijuana, or other substances. Genetics plays a large part, but also psychological use (“self-medicating”) plays a large role as well.
After a certain point, brain chemistry acclimates, missing the substance and craving it, just to “feel normal.”. That’s when dependence starts, and real problems begin. If you feel you may have any significant issues or potentially problematic use, please talk to your provider at Aveo or if you’re not part of Aveo Wellness, reach out to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
(https://www.nami.org/About-Mental-Illness/Common-with-Mental-Illness/Substance-Use-Disorders) to connect with someone today.
For more information on alcohol, here is the CDC’s current recommendations; https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/moderate-drinking.htm
The American Heart Association also has a great, common sense approach to alcohol:
And here is an excellent site from the CDC with FAQ about marijuana and its effect on people:
Author Dr. Jon Doctor, Entrepreneur, Founder of Aveo Wellness