Moderate Drinking Harms Your Brain

moderate drinking

Most people are aware that alcoholism and binge drinking can kill brain cells, but a new study finds even moderate drinking can be a problem. New research from Rutgers University shows that what moderate drinking and binge drinking have a very negative effect. Both can reduce the production of adult brain cells by as much as 40 percent.

The study’s lead author, Megan Anderson, said that even those who only over indulged on weekends could significantly reduce the structural integrity of the adult brain.

"Moderate drinking can become binge drinking without the person realizing it," said Anderson. "In the short term there may not be any noticeable motor skills or overall functioning problems, but in the long term this type of behavior could have an adverse effect on learning and memory."

In their lab tests, the researchers found that rats exposed to an amount of alcohol equivalent to 3 to 4 drinks for women or 5 drinks for men produced 40 percent fewer nerve cells in their hippo campus when compared to non-drinking rats. This is very troubling as the hippo campus makes new neurons and is necessary for some types of new learning.

The truly alarming thing about these new findings is the fact that damage can occur with relatively few drinks. Most people do not see 3 to 5 drinks as binge drinking. Often, they will not even feel drunk or have a hangover. This is because the real damage occurs slowly over a long period of time. Most people will never realize it is happening until it is too late.

"If this area of your brain was affected every day over many months and years, eventually you might not be able to learn how to get somewhere new or to learn something new about your life," said Anderson, a graduate fellow in the Department of Neuroscience and Cell Biology. "It's something that you might not even be aware is occurring."

While more research is needed to fully understand the long term effects of moderate drinking, it is important that people keep better track of their drinking habits and understand the consequences of their actions.

If you are struggling with your drinking, please click here to find addiction help.


  1. alicia says

    wow so nice to see someone had nice input and advice. I will have 7 years April 6 godwilling. But I remember feeling like a caged animal for two weeks, the anxiety was horrible and the sweating in bed changing my sheets over and over along with my tshirt thru the night.. I tried many times before. I had 4 months before. I always wished I had money to go to a rehab, but I did not. I was trying to hold onto my house for my daughter and myself. She was 10 at the time. I went to AA like I had on countless attempts to stop. I had been on a binder for over 2 weeks and all of a sudden I couldnt drink enough to get drunk, I was stone cold sober even after drinking straight shots. I cried uncontrollably. I didnt want to feel what life was at that time. The real estate market had just tanked. I stayed home and drank day and night with no money except what i bought at the store. 18 pack of beer or 30 if I had money and maybe some tequila or red wine. After I couldnt get drunk and i went thru the dt's for 4 maybe 5 days I went to that meeting and cried more uncontrollably. I got a sponsor before I left that room. I called her every day for hours on in.. today, she is a very dear friend...who after i spoke to today is loosing one of her friends due to this disease. She found out her friend only has 4 months to live..he has jondice and cerosis of the liver. Being sober isnt easy, but after the initial detox, it gets better..I have anxiety and depression too. I have gone to county hospitals and been seen. I waited till I had a year before getting meds. I thought I was bi polar. I am not. But bad anxiety.. The meds are nessacary. My friend please get help.. god loves you, but you must learn to love yourself. The people in AA will love you till you can love yourself.. you have to stop beating yourself up... it hurts, I know. Just take it one night of not drinking and go to a meeting whenever you usually drink. if your not working go to 3 a day... whatever you have to do...please. your worth it....

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