What Is Alcohol, Alcohol Addiction And Its Adverse Health Impact?

Alcohol is a drug that works as a depressant in the body. It slows down the functioning of important organs in the body. A person who consumes alcohol shows common symptoms such as unclear speech, unstable movement, distressed perceptions and helplessness to react fast.

One glass a day is sufficient to cause damage to your health and become habitual of it. Frequent drinking of alcohol makes a person addict. It becomes very hard to stop this habit. The collective effects when add up leads to severe damage to the body. In this article, we will talk about alcohol addiction, and its adverse impact on the body.

About Alcohol

An alcoholic drink has a recreational drug named “ethanol”. This is what makes Alcohol dangerous for your body. It is a form of alcohol synthesized by fermentation of foods that have sugar in them such as fruits, and grains. This drink destroys the person’s capability to think rationally.

Alcohol can have unpredictable effects, such as exhilarating users in some situations and sedating them in other situations. Excitement at low doses, can lead suppression of the inhibitory areas of the brain. Vital functions like breathing, thought, speech, movement, and memory, can get affected by consuming of alcohol. On mental levels, its impact is seen as mood fluctuations, reduced inhibitions, and diminished judgment, relaxation. Severe use of alcohol leads to modification in the brain.

It distorts the judgment power in a person. As alcohol has addictive properties, an occasional drinking takes no time to become a frequent drinker. The cumulative impacts of consuming alcoholic drinks can take a toll on your body.

When used in low dosage, it can lead to a feeling of ecstasy. Alcohol relieves you from stress, and makes you more social. Once a person tastes the euphoric feeling of alcohol, he would want to experience it more. This leads to addiction to alcohol.

Long term use of alcohol makes a person dependent on it. He becomes alcoholic, and at a high risk of life-threatening diseases like cancer. When consumed in high amounts, alcohol can make a person unconscious, and can even lead to death.

How are the Alcohol drinks classified?

Alcohol has a special place in several cultures. It has been seen that males on an average consume 1.7 drinks a day and women consume 0.7 drinks a day. Based on the amount of alcohol in a drink, it is divided into three categories that includes beers, spirits, and wines.

What Is The Impact Of Alcohol On The Body?

Alcohol plays a destructive role in the body. It has the ability to make a vast damage on the body of a person. Here are the areas where alcohol can cause a severe impact on the body.

1. Endocrine, and digestive glands

Consuming a lot of alcohol causes stimulation of digestive enzymes that are synthesized by the pancreas in the body. Excess production of enzymes becomes the reason for inflammation. This is a condition called as pancreatitis that can lead to serious complications in the body.

2. Inflammatory damage

Continuous use of alcohol damages the liver. It is a vital organ in the body that breaks down as well as eliminates destructive substance from the body. Due to this reason, your body is not able to eliminate alcohol from the body.

Long-term alcohol use enhances the chances for acute liver disease, and liver inflammation in the body. Alcohol can also cause “cirrhosis”, a condition where scarring of liver tissues destroys the liver. Due to damage of the liver, alcohol is harder to eliminate in the body. it stays for the longer time in the body, and increases toxicity in the body. This leads to development of life-threatening alcoholic liver disease.

3. Unmanaged sugar levels

Hypoglycemia, is a condition when sugar levels in the blood starts to reduce. This condition happens when alcohol impairs the functioning of the pancreas and liver in the body. Due to this reason, insulin production and use is not regulated in the body. In this way, insulin is not able to make proper use of sugar and can lead to too low, or too high sugar levels in the blood. People who are diabetic or suffers from hypoglycemia should avoid alcohol consumption.

4. Central nervous system

Alcohol shows the maximum adverse impact on the central nervous system of the body. Due to reduced communication between body, and brain, it can cause slurred speech, memory loss, lack of emotional control, loss of judgmental ability etc. It is also seen in the form of mis-coordination and imbalance between the parts of the body. In addition to it, a person feels tingling, and numbness sensation in the hands, and feet.

5. Physical Dependency

People who drink alcohol frequently become emotionally and physically dependent on alcohol. Withdrawal can be tough and life-threatening. Based on the risks related to withdrawal symptoms, medical detoxification is required to be performed on either an inpatient or outpatient basis.

Impact of Alcohol Addiction

People who frequently drinks alcohol develops an addiction towards it. They feel an uncontrolled urge to drink. It is not easy for them to survive without it. Alcohol abuse impacts the following organs of the body.

1. Brain

Alcohol addiction causes irreversible damage to the brain. Its prolonged and heavy consumption interfere with the mode of operation of brain, and the way it is structured. It adversely impacts the communication pathways of the baby and can lead to damage of various areas of the brain that includes the cerebellum, cerebral cortex, and limbic system.

2. Heart

Alcohol addiction weakens the heart, and reduces its functioning. This reduces the efficiency with which nutrients, and oxygen are supplied to other important organs in the body. Excessive consumption of alcohol increases blood triglyceride levels and the risk of developing severe health conditions such as diabetes, stroke, and cardiac death.

3. Liver

Alcohol abusers are at a high risk of life-threatening liver disorders, like alcoholic hepatitis, fibrosis, liver cancer, liver cirrhosis, and liver failure. It constitutes to fatty liver wherein bad fats get accumulated in the liver.

4. Pancreas

Alcohol addiction can severely damage the pancreas and impairs the ability to regulate the sugar levels in the blood. It causes an irreversible condition “pancreatitis”, wherein the blood vessels surrounding the pancreas begins to swell. This enhances the chances of developing pancreatic cancer in the body. Inflammation of pancreas impairs the digestive system in the body.

5. Digestive system

Alcohol increases the synthesis of stomach acid and causes rupture in the stomach lining that can lead to ulcers. It can even alter breakdown, absorption, storage, transportation and excretion of nutrients in the body. This results in deficiency of nutrition, or malnutrition in the body.

6. Cardiovascular health

Excess of consumption of alcohol builds high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, and even heart attack in a person. An alcohol addict feels difficulty while pumping blood to different parts of the body. It leads to clotting of blood, stroke, sagging, and stretched of cardiac muscle.

7. Reproductive health

Alcohol abuse causes reproductive issues in men and women. Loss of libido, erectile dysfunction, irregular menstruation, and infertility are some of the severe symptoms of excessive drinking. It is severely damaging for pregnant women. They are at a high risk of miscarriage, a fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, and stillbirth.

8. Bones

Imbalance of calcium is also the impact of alcohol abuse. Excess amounts of alcohol disturbs the secretion of vitamin D in the body that is required for absorption of calcium in the body. Alcohol abuse results in osteoporosis, that can increase the possibilities of pain, weakness, thinning and fractures in bones.

Side Effects of Alcohol Addiction

Side Effects of Alcohol Consumption

Alcohol abuse causes long-term, and short-term side effects on a person that directly affects family, friends, and colleagues. The severity of symptoms depends on the amount, and the duration of intake, factors, the age, weight, gender, and liver function.

1. Short-term side effects:

In the initial days of addiction, short-term effects on the body and mind is observed. The liver fails to metabolize alcohol that raises alcohol content in the blood with each drink. Other symptoms include:

  • skin flushing
  • vomiting
  • poor judgment
  • inability to focus
  • lack of body co-ordination
  • blurred vision
  • impaired perception
  • slowed breathing rate
  • extreme mood swings
  • memory lapse
  • reduced body temperature, and
  • high blood pressure

All these effects have the ability to cause extensive destruction to oneself, and people who surrounds them in the form of driving under the influence, engaging in criminal activities, unintended self-damage etc.

2. Long -term side effects

Heavy drinking over a period of time results in severe mental, and physical health issues. It can lead to following symptoms such as

  • liver fibrosis
  • memory lapse
  • fatty liver
  • heart ailments
  • loss of attention span
  • difficulty in learning
  • slowed reaction times
  • seizures
  • cardiomyopathy
  • sluggish immunity system
  • multiple kinds of cancer such as throat cancer, mouth cancer, larynx cancer, breast cancer, liver cancer, colon cancer, colorectal cancer, or esophageal cancer
  • high blood pressure
  • stroke
  • erectile dysfunction
  • low libido
  • fatigue
  • learning difficulties
  • stop of menstruation
  • infertility
  • thinner bones, and risk of fractures
  • muscle weakness, and cramps
  • risk of fetal alcohol syndrome disorder, premature delivery, stillbirth, or miscarriage
  • difficulty remembering
  • lack of clarity
  • loss of consciousness
  • irregular heart beat
  • heart failure
  • heart attack
  • nerve damage
  • hemorrhoids
  • esophagus
  • colon Issues
  • digestive troubles

Long-term side effects can impact various aspects of life in the form of relationship issues, legal distress, financial problems and poor performance in school or at work.

Symptoms Of Alcohol Withdrawal

Alcohol withdrawal is not easy for a person who is addicted to it. Sudden stop of alcohol consumption can lead to certain discomforting and unbearable symptoms in the body. A lot of people fear from withdrawal due to its devastating effects in the body.  Some of these symptoms include:

  • high blood pressure
  • anxiety
  • nausea
  • heavy sweating
  • tremors
  • nervousness
  • slowed, and irregular heartbeat
  • delirium
  • seizures,
  • hallucinations

Treatment Of Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol addiction can quickly disrupt the dreams, objectives, and future of a person. However, you do not have to become hopeless and work towards the road of destruction. There are various specialized alcohol addiction treatment programs that have successfully assisted millions of addicts to overcome alcoholism.

Customized alcohol addiction recovery plans are offered in specialized facilities that are equipped with the necessary amenities, and therapies to meet the needs of an addict. The addiction recovery program teaches you ways to deal with triggers, maintain sobriety and control your urges to drink.

After an excessive alcohol abuse, a person develops heavy physical dependence on alcohol. The road to recovery involves a withdrawal, or detoxification process. The type of recovery treatment prescribed will be based on the past alcohol history, history of substance abuse and present health condition.

Medical detox is the early, and essential treatment to recover from alcohol addiction. The process enables to get rid of the toxic impact of alcohol by way of medications, nutrition, emotional support, therapeutic approaches, and stress management.

Alcohol de-addiction programs are performed in various ways:

1. Residential Inpatient

A person can remain in inpatient treatment centers that provide 24-hour care, and rehabilitation. It provides them quick, and easy access to psychiatric, and medical services during the time of their stay. Residential treatment facility provides one-month program to enable patients to focus completely on their addiction recovery without getting distracted of their daily lives.

2. Partial Hospitalization Program

This treatment program is called as day program that is not as strict as the inpatient program. In this flexible program, you will need to attend a day treatment program for five days and will get four hours of group therapy every day. This type of treatment option is ideal for addicts who experience moderate severity of disorders.

3. Intensive Outpatient Program

Intensive outpatient programs require 24-hour detoxification, or supervision. These types of programs aim at creating an environment that is free from drug, and alcohol abuse. It provides coping strategies, build support mechanisms, and also assist with relapse management.

4. Standard Outpatient

Outpatient rehabilitation program operate in various settings such as in the clinic of hospital, office of counselor, community clinics, or inpatient or residential rehabilitation amenities. The program provides flexibility to patients.

They can continue their work or family obligations along with the treatment. Its duration is limited to only a few hours in the week. The program is conducted in the form of daily one to three sessions that happens on the weekends, and evenings.

Behavioral Therapies to Cure Alcohol Addiction

Behavioral therapies aim at modifying attitudes, and behaviors of a patient related to alcohol abuse. These therapies can be administered via various individual, and group counseling sessions. Some of these therapies are:

  1. Cognitive-behavioral therapy: This program teaches patients to identify, prevent and manage situations that leads to alcohol abuse.
  2. Family behavior therapy: This program addressing family influences on harmful substance use patterns to enhance the household environment and overall functioning of the family.
  3. Contingency management: This program promotes positive change in behavior of a person through privileges and rewards
  4. Motivational enhancement: This program aids individuals to resolve uncertainty related to treatment and discontinuing use of alcohol use.
  5. Twelve-step facilitation: This program is an active strategy that prepares people to engaged in twelve step programs. This program encourages an addict to accept addiction and get actively involved in twelve-step meetings and other types of recovery programs.

Aftercare Programs

Aftercare is as important as the deaddiction treatment. It begins after the successful completion of the recovery process. This program prevents you from falling into the temptation of addiction.

These programs provide an ongoing assistance, and continued support to patients to preserve long-term sobriety. Aftercare treatment program generally comprise of continued therapy sessions with a professionally trained therapist, sober-living arrangements, and continuing involvement in peer support groups.

Conclusion

Addiction to alcohol makes a person mentally and physically impaired. Its short-term, and long-term effects are destructive. Not just the addict suffers, but also his family. It is the time to practice self-control, and stop dependency on alcohol. Though overcoming alcohol abuse is tough, but with support of professionally trained therapy specialists, it is easier to come out of it and lead a healthy, and strong life.

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