Ep. 005 – Watch Your Alcohol Intake

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Good morning and welcome to Episode 005 of the Train Your Brain Podcast with Dr. Michael Trayford. This is a shorter, five-minute episode where Dr. Trayford brings you a tip for improving the function of your brain.

In Episode 005, Dr. Trayford gives us a sobering reminder of the effects of alcohol on the brain. It is quite interesting to note the cultural practices that surround alcohol consumption in the United States versus other locations in the world. Understanding what alcohol does to the brain will help you make a better decision about how and when to have a drink.

If you have any concerns regarding the information and applications discussed in this podcast, please consult your physician and a doctor who is experienced in functional neurology. Michael Trayford DC, DACNB is available for consultation by calling (828) 708-5274. Thanks for listening.

We are largely a society of drinkers. We know in the United States that drinking is a problem and many people who do drink can sometimes struggle to manage to drink in moderation. When we look outside of the United States at places like South America, and European Countries, we see that alcohol consumption is looked at differently in other culture.

Of course there are some cultures that have their alcohol stereotypes for heavy drinking. By and large people in other cultures tend to see drinking different than we do here in the United States. In American culture there is a greater tendency for binge drinking.

In America there tends to be this almost pervasive notion that we work hard throughout the course of the week and when we get to the weekend we start consuming alcohol in larger volume. There’s almost this sort of notion that binge drinking is making up for the lost opportunity to relax during the week.

Of course binge drinking can be a big challenge for the brain. Ultimately the brain likes everything in moderation. Flooding your brain with massive amounts of alcohol has consequences that come with it, that go beyond suffering through a hangover.

There are actually a lot of long term ramifications that come with binge drinking. Long term binge drinking can contribute to problems like depression, anxiety and even dementia.

Dementia is actually a very serious long term consequence of drinking. In chronic alcoholics the brain actually starts to shrink. This is particularly true for the front part of the brain. It’s these frontal lobes that do a lot to define what it means to be human. They help us to think, reason, and calculate. As the frontal lobes of the brain start to shrink the person begins to move into a state of dementia.

That can be a big challenge. In one case study we had a client come in that was suffering from dementia and peripheral neuropathy. Peripheral neuropathy is a condition where the peripheral nerves become damaged in a certain part of the body. It can affect many parts of the body and also involve problems with the digestive system.

In this individual’s case the peripheral neuropathy was located in his legs. The patient told me that he was drinking around a fifth of gin each night. Unfortunately he also refused to quit drinking. When we gave him an MRI, it showed that his brain was shrinking and it confirmed the neuropathy diagnosis. There really was no way to help him if he didn’t quit drinking.

The best brain training tips can help get some function back, but participation and in this case total cessation was the only way to make any significant improvement.

Ultimately alcohol consumption, especially binge drinking is a sure road to causing your brain to not work appropriately.

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