Wine Addiction and Its Effects

Wine is typically seen as an elixir of class. Very many people consume this alcoholic beverage gotten from fermented grapes at varying levels. You have the average day to day drinker, the heavy consumers and the wine connoisseurs who make it their business to know all there is to know about different wines from different sources and of different ages. The way in which wine is brewed is unique due to the natural chemical balance in grapes which allows them to ferment without the addition of sugars and enzymes. The yeast consumes the sugar in the grapes and converts it to ethanol and carbon dioxide.

Wine Addiction

As with any other substance that is ingested or drunk, there is a general risk of going overboard with wine consumption. It isn’t so much an issue of addiction but one of the levels of consumption. The effects and/or benefits of wine consumption depend mostly on how much is consumed. So it is somewhat dual faced. Is wine consumption healthy? Yes and No. Is it fattening? Yes and No. In the long run, however, one can become addicted to wine if one doesn’t control the amount one consumes and the frequency with which one consumes it.

Effects of Wine Addiction

There are a number of side effects that have been shown to occur with wine consumption.

Effects of drinking too much wine include:

  • High levels of cholesterol and toxins in the body caused by the slow detoxification of the liver.
  • Premature aging.
  • Increased risk of infertility for women.
  • Loss of sexual response in men because of sex hormone depletion.
  • Impairment of sleep leading to restlessness and poor concentration or even the brain damage from alcohol in some cases.
  • Psychological effects of alcohol.

Wine addiction almost always translates to excessive consumption and this excessive consumption has a number of side effects which sometimes are direct polar opposites of the benefits derived from moderate consumption. One of such direct opposites is in the area of weight gain. If you consume wine moderately, some of the antioxidants present in it can actually help your body burn brown fat and consequently help you lose weight as a result of the unique compounds. On the reverse side, excessive consumption of wine can actually make you gain excess weight. There is a lot of energy gotten from wine consumption and most of it is just empty calories (i.e. sugar without nutritional value). With this considerably higher kilojoule density, there is a much higher amount of energy per gram found in wine than you would normally get from carbohydrates. Also with this level of consumption, you are stimulating your appetite with the alcohol and so you get the ‘munchies’ and you end up eating a lot more than you normally would. Some women that drink alcohol during pregnancy prefer wine as they believe it to be less harmful for the fetus, although this is not proved by research.

There are a lot more alcohol side effects of excessive wine consumption or wine addiction and some of the major ones are listed below:

  • Excessive consumption starts to burn out the liver and slows down the detoxification of the body. As a result, toxins begin to accumulate in the body which will also increase fat storage levels and move your cholesterol levels up.
  • Prematurely age your body (another example of a polar opposite).
  • Have an adverse effect on your sex hormones and increase the risks of loss of fertility in women and depletion of testosterone in men causing loss of sexual response.
  • Affect the quality of your sleep. The same way moderate consumption can help you with sleep, excessive consumption can also impair your sleep and in the end, leave you chronically tired and lacking in concentration.
  • Effects of alcohol on blood pressure can also lead to hypertension.
If you are still not sure if you drink too much you can have a look at this chart from Philip J. Cook’s “Paying the Tab”. He brilliantly presents an economically inclined examination of the costs and benefits of alcohol control in the US and it shows a statistic of how much Americans drink per capita.

Ways to Fight Wine Addiction

It is very easy to become addicted to wine consumption and wine addiction symptoms are sometimes very subtle until they become an issue.

You can prevent wine addiction by following these simple steps:

• Keep an accurate record of your all your wine consumption for a period of time.
• Don’t drink too much on particular occasions just because you’ve missed out on prior.
• Avoid to keeping wine in your house.

We sometimes become too accustomed to the ritual of opening up a bottle of wine at the end of a long day to relax or unwind. We are constantly reading about all the benefits of wine and that gives us a false sense of confidence and we thus continue to drink lots of the stuff. It becomes very easy to convince oneself and believe one is not drinking too much wine and to pretend it’s harmless; but the reality is that so many people already fall within the range of excessive consumption and if not properly checked, it can become an addiction. There are so many ways to curb your wine overconsumption or perhaps even stop drinking wine entirely and here are some simple ways in which you can fight wine addiction:

  • First of all, you should have a clear picture of how much wine you are consuming and you can do that by keeping an accurate record of all the wine you drink for a period of time, preferably a week. You can’t confront the problem until you know exactly how bad the situation is. It also helps to associate a financial value to the amount of wine you consume so as to know how much it bleeds your income.
  • Don’t restrict your drinking to particular days or specific occasions with the intention to drink all what you’ve missed out on prior. Some people tell themselves they only drink once per week and think it is okay to consume the whole bottle and go about their normal schedules for every other day. It is very dangerous to fall into this habit of drinking too much wine at a go. Binge drinking, as it is so often called, can potentially be more harmful to health.
Perhaps one of the easier ways to check your consumption of wine is to limit its availability by refusing to keep wine in the house. If you must have some around, be careful not to buy more than one bottle from the store and make sure you don’t buy another till at least three days after.
This will help you limit the availability of wine and consequently reduce your consumption levels per week.

Benefits of Wine Consumption

Studies have shown various health benefits of moderate wine consumption and the key word here is moderate when the mental, physical, and social effects of alcohol abuse are not present.

Health benefits of moderate wine consumption:

• Promotes sleep because of its melatonin content.
• Delays the process of aging and prevents cancer.
• Reduces the risk of prostate cancer by 50%.
• Rejuvenates skin cells.
• Reservatrol in red wine helps prevent hair loss and improves eyesight.
• Protects the brain from diseases like dementia. However, the excessive wine consumption can lead to the reverse effect called an alcoholic dementia.

As recommended by the South African heart association, moderate falls at one unit (150ml) a day for women and two units a day for men. Women have lower lean muscle mass so their ability to metabolize the alcohol is lessened hence the lower level recommendation.

One Standard Drink

Some of the major benefits of moderate wine consumption are outlined below:

  • Melatonin present in red wine regulates the body clock so drinking a glass of red wine before bed may help you sleep.
  • Anti-oxidants present in wine possess anti-aging properties and cancer preventive properties.
  • Around 4 glasses of wine per week has been shown to reduce men’s overall risk of prostate cancer by 50%.
  • Red wine contains polyphenol that helps to strengthen the gums and prevent gum inflammation.
  • Wine stimulates the development of new cells in the skin outer layers.
  • Resveratrol is a substance found in red wine and it is a class of anti-oxidants that has been known to prevent hair loss, improve eyesight and fight cancer.
  • Wine has also been shown to boost brain health, memory power and prevent diseases like dementia.

Moderate wine consumption can be beneficial, however, the excessive drinking requires a professional alcoholism treatment. There are many different types of rehabilitation, including the alcohol outpatient programs, support groups and medical detoxification.