Elements Behavioral Health CEO Dr. David Sack spoke with Shape magazine for its November issue about the science behind alcohol consumption.
With the number of binge-drinking women on the increase, the article titled, “Smashed: Learn Why a Growing Number of Successful Adults are Hitting the Bottle Harder Than Ever,” looks at how the everyday stress women feel surrounding having to be the best mom, be successful at work, have the best body and the most beautiful home, as well as the party-hard messages on social media and in TV ads, have led an increasing number of women to drink their way into relaxation … or oblivion.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that more than half of the alcohol adults consume is excessive.
“Everywhere we look, there are representations of binge drinking as light-hearted entertainment,” Dr. Sack told the magazine. “It sends the false message that it’s normal and harmless.”
Dr. Sack goes on to explain that alcohol tricks the brain into overproducing an amino acid called glutamate — a stimulant — which is why people feel frazzled and anxious after a night of heavy drinking. If you’ve ever woken up in the middle of the night after tying one on with a racing heartbeat, this is why, Dr. Sack said.
“Over time, the excess of glutamate damages the amygdala, a part of the brain that deals with emotions,” which can lead to fights with loved ones, Dr. Sack said. Damage to the amygdala can also leave you with a kind of “beer goggles” that you never take off.
“Women who binge drink eventually become less able to pick up on the cues that signal danger, making them more likely to take risks,” Dr. Sack said.