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Alcohol and Health

Why Liquor Can Make Us Sicker: The Hidden Risks of Hard Alcohol

July 5, 2023
8 min read
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A team of researchers and psychologists who specialize in behavioral health and neuroscience. This group collaborates to produce insightful and evidence-based content.
July 5, 2023
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Certified recovery coach specialized in helping everyone redefine their relationship with alcohol. His approach in coaching focuses on habit formation and addressing the stress in our lives.
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Recognized by Fortune and Fast Company as a top innovator shaping the future of health and known for his pivotal role in helping individuals change their relationship with alcohol.
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Reframe Content Team
July 5, 2023
8 min read

As the world becomes more health-conscious, we constantly seek ways to improve our lifestyle and make better choices for our well-being. One area that often comes under scrutiny is our alcohol consumption. While moderate drinking can be part of a balanced lifestyle, it's important to understand the potential risks associated with different types of alcohol. In this blog, we'll explore why liquor can be more hazardous to our health than other alcoholic beverages.

The Lowdown on Liquor

Let’s start with the basics: what is hard liquor? Types of hard liquor, also known as spirits or hard alcohol, include drinks like vodka, whiskey, rum, tequila, and gin. These drinks have a higher alcohol content compared to beer or wine. For instance, a standard beer has about 5% alcohol, wine hovers at around 12%, and most liquors start at 40%. This high alcohol concentration in liquor is the primary reason why it can make us sicker, so let’s look at that factor and a few others to understand liquor’s inherent risks. 

As for the question of soft liquor vs. hard liquor, there are some options: amaro and other liqueurs have less alcohol than vodka and rum, usually closer to 20%. Lower ABV options like wine and beer, while certainly “softer,” aren’t distilled, so they aren’t types of liquor at all. 

High Alcohol Content: The Road to Intoxication

The high alcohol content in liquor leads to quicker intoxication. Consuming a large amount of alcohol in a short period can overwhelm the body's ability to process it, leading to alcohol poisoning, a potentially life-threatening condition. Symptoms include confusion, vomiting, seizures, slow or irregular breathing, and unconsciousness. 

Dehydration and Hangovers

Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it makes you urinate more, which leads to dehydration. Dehydration can cause a myriad of health issues, including dizziness, rapid heartbeat, and even fainting. It's also the primary culprit behind the dreaded hangover. Liquor, with its high alcohol content, can cause severe dehydration and horrible hangovers.

Damage to the Liver and Other Organs

Excessive consumption of any alcohol can lead to liver damage, but the high alcohol content in hard liquor poses a potent threat if it’s consumed in excess. Over time, heavy drinking can cause alcoholic hepatitis, cirrhosis, and other serious health problems. Moreover, alcohol can harm other organs and cause pancreatitis and neurological complications.

Calorie Count and Weight Gain

Liquor is calorie-dense. A single shot of liquor can contain at least 100 calories, not including mixers that are very often high in sugar. Regular consumption can lead to weight gain and associated health risks, such as diabetes and heart disease. 

Impact on Mental Health

Alcohol, particularly when consumed in large amounts and over a prolonged period of time, can have a profound effect on mental health. It can exacerbate feelings of depression and anxiety and can contribute to the development of long-term mental health problems.

Tips for Responsible Liquor Consumption

While it's not our intention to demonize liquor or those who enjoy it responsibly, it's crucial to understand the potential risks associated with its consumption. Remember, moderation is key! 

If you choose to drink, do so responsibly. Stay hydrated, never drink on an empty stomach, and always arrange for a safe ride home. Your health and well-being are worth it. To minimize the risks associated with liquor consumption, consider the following tips for responsible drinking:

  1. Know your limits. Be aware of your personal alcohol tolerance and set limits for yourself to avoid overconsumption.
  2. Pace yourself. Sip your drink slowly and avoid consuming multiple drinks in a short period.
  3. Eat before and during drinking. Consuming food can help slow the absorption of alcohol into your bloodstream, reducing the risk of intoxication.
  4. Stay hydrated. Alcohol can be dehydrating, so be sure to drink water or other hydrating beverages alongside your liquor.
  5. Avoid binge drinking. Binge drinking, defined as consuming five or more alcoholic drinks within two hours for men and four or more drinks for women, significantly increases the risk of alcohol-related harm.
  6. Don't mix alcohol with other substances. Combining alcohol with other drugs, such as prescription medications or illicit substances, can lead to dangerous interactions and increase the risk of adverse effects.
  7. Seek help if needed. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol-related issues, don't hesitate to seek help from a medical professional or support group.

Though liquor can be enjoyed as a part of various occasions and experiences, it’s crucial to be aware of the potential dangers associated with its consumption. By practicing responsible drinking habits and being mindful of the risks, you can enjoy liquor safely.

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