Alcohol disorder or alcoholism refers to the symptoms which make a person develop cravings to consume an excessive amount of alcohol. This is considered a severe form of alcohol abuse as the person cannot, in effect, manage his drinking habits. It can result in mental, social, and physical harm. The medical field has different views on how this particular behavior is defined, yet the majority agree that this behavior of chronic heavy drinking is both a disease and an addiction.
The effects of alcohol vary for every person. Some people, like young adults, can hold their alcohol well and can control their consumption. Others may unknowingly follow the extreme side of excessive alcohol use and drink more than they can manage. Binge drinking has its consequences so the understanding of what constitutes one drink should be well defined.
One drink may mean 12 fluid ounces of beer that may contain five percent alcohol. Malt liquor at eight to nine fluid ounces has around seven percent alcohol while wine at five fluid ounces has more or less 12 percent alcohol.
Stronger drinks or distilled spirits with 80-proof alcohol content like gin, tequila, and vodka whisky, to name a few, have an estimated amount of 40 percent alcohol. These hard liquor standard drinks would amount to 1.5 ounces.
How much alcohol consumption is considered too much? According to the current CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidelines, women should have 1 or fewer drinks each day and men 2 or fewer drinks daily.
You might have heard that drinking moderately can even contribute to some health benefits. These claims, however, need more research as there is no “safe” amount of alcohol consumption. No matter how you see it, even drinking moderately may impact the health of your brain.
Excessive Alcohol Use And Its Side Effects
There are short and long-term effects when you drink excessively. Depending on your alcohol tolerance, these manifestations may surface as you gradually increase your alcohol intake. Moderate drinking may bring some noticeable short-term effects like slurred speech, lack of coordination, impairment of vision, mood swings, and memory lapses.
There is the feeling of relaxation and drowsiness that can have the aftermath of a headache and hangover the day after. Your alcohol-related consumption will not be worrisome and have fewer complications if you only drink socially or on special occasions.
There are instances, however, where an individual develops the habit of excessive alcohol consumption. When they drink heavily, their body develops tolerance and may result in substance abuse, particularly alcohol abuse. Binge drinking becomes regular as the body is adjusting to the level of alcohol use. There are various reasons why people consume alcohol excessively which can result in habitual chronic drinking.
Effects Of Drinking On A Person
Drinking alcohol causes euphoria. It enhances and boosts the mood of the person if he is depressed. The feeling of anxiousness may disappear after a few glasses or bottles of alcohol. It can enhance sociability and may even become an escape rather than facing problems. If your excessive drinking has become a means to cope, escape or avoid situations, it’s high time that you seek help for this heavy alcohol consumption.
Effects Of Alcohol Abuse And Alcoholism
Alcohol abuse can be avoided if people would control their intake of the substance and drink in moderation. Others can spiral from one drink alone into dangerous paths that have harmful consequences. They can develop a pattern of drinking that can affect their work or school, relationships, finances, and emotions. This pattern of dangerous drinking habits known as alcohol use disorder can impact the brain and lead to compulsive behavior of alcohol abuse and dependency or alcoholism.
Each person has tolerance for alcohol. Because of this, the effects of alcohol vary in every individual. Those who have trouble with their excessive alcohol use often have the feeling of not being able to function normally without alcohol on their system. This may result in different issues that can impact their life, mental disorders, for one.
Alcohol Use Disorders
The diagnostic and statistical manual or DSM has integrated two distinct disorders: alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence to be called into a single disorder called AUD or alcohol use disorder. It has three classifications ranging from mild, moderate to severe.
The diagnostic and statistical manual provides eleven criteria for AUD. Having two criteria in the list within the 12 months would mean the person has potential AUD.
Health Risks Of Alcohol Abuse
There are varieties of negative health complications associated with heavy alcohol consumption. Our body’s ability to break down and eliminate the alcohol consumed is limited to what it can metabolize. The thing is, heavy drinking has the opposite effect as the body may absorb alcohol as fast as you consume it, yet its ability to metabolize alcohol is slower.
There is a limit to the process of alcohol metabolism since only a certain amount can be handled by our liver every hour. Excess alcohol can accumulate in the blood vessels and can affect the heart and other body functions. The heart can pump and circulate blood alcohol which in turn affects the body’s chemistry.
Take, for instance, one to four standard drinks consumed by an adult male. It will take between two to seven hours from the time he stopped drinking for the body to return to zero blood-alcohol content (BAC) or blood alcohol concentration.
Effects Of Heavy Alcohol Consumption
A person who drinks excessively, to some extent, could develop chronic diseases. They may encounter the following health risks: stomach ulcers, respiratory infection, alcohol-related liver disease, nerve-damaged and can increase the risk of developing cancer.
The chemicals in the brain are affected by heavy drinking. This in turn can impact the overall mental health of the person. The short-lived effect of feeling relaxed after a drink can turn into depression and stress that is much harder to deal with in the long run.
Personal And Social Relationships
Chronic liver disease and other diseases caused by heavy alcohol intake can develop from abusing the body through the substance. This may not only affect the person but also the people around him. The alcohol’s effects will greatly impact the persons’ finances as well as his family, friends, and loved ones. They unknowingly bear the brunt of his negative habits. Relationship problems may occur between family and friends.
Financial issues can arise as the person concerned may be able to properly manage his finances. Poor performance at work or school due to chronic drinking might result in negative consequences.
Risks That May Result from Alcohol Abuse
Alcohol is the fourth leading cause of preventable death in the United States. Excessive alcohol consumption may result in violent crimes and accidents. Pregnant women who take alcohol at any given time during their pregnancy will cause harm to the unborn child who could suffer fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.
Daily consumption of alcohol can also develop alcoholic hepatitis which is the inflammation of the liver. Daily drinking can eventually lead to liver failure. These are just some of the consequences associated with alcohol use.
What Are The Top Ten Long-Term Health Effects Of Alcohol Consumption?
The effects of alcohol abuse can be felt when chronic drinkers start to develop symptoms associated with anemia. This can include shortness of breathing, fatigue, and lightheadedness. Excessive alcohol interferes with the function of the hematologic system. Since this system is composed of the liver, blood, and bone marrow, the red blood cell can be affected resulting in an abnormally low count.
Cancer risk can be doubled if the person drinks and smokes. Harmful substances from both habits can have irreversible and fatal consequences. Heavy drinking will push the body to convert alcohol into acetaldehyde which is considered a form of carcinogen, a cancer-causing substance.
Most cancer cases resulting from drinking alcohol have been found to target the mouth, including the pharynx or throat, and larynx or the voice box. It can also affect the breast and the colorectal region. There is a high probability that alcoholic liver disease can develop further into cancer.
3. Cardiovascular Or Heart Disease
To binge drink means excessive alcohol use over a short period. Teen drinking does make a habit of binge drinking when they are new to alcohol. Heavy drinkers, on the other hand, refer to people who consume 15 drinks or more per week. These habits, if done for prolonged periods, can raise the levels of fats in the blood or triglycerides.
This will lead to high blood pressure and stroke. Cardiomyopathy which is the weakening of the heart muscles and heart rhythm abnormalities – atrial and ventricular fibrillation – is likely to follow. These two can have fatal consequences. Developing heart disease is inevitable when you drink alcohol and abuse it.
Alcohol consumption can cause the liver to inflame and cirrhosis can develop out of chronic drinking. The longer alcohol is consumed the potential risk of developing this fatal disease increases. Cirrhosis is the scarring of the liver to a point that it can no longer function. Not all heavy drinkers develop the disease and studies show that it seems to run in the family. Women do have a higher risk of developing the disease than men.
Poor judgment, difficulty in decision making, and memory loss are just some of alcohol’s effects on the body. Alcohol intoxication directly targets the central nervous system, particularly the brain. These symptoms of dementia can have an increased risk of developing into Korsakoff’s syndrome.
Individuals who suffer from this syndrome can have short-term memory loss. Poor diet and not following the dietary guidelines can also contribute to the symptoms of dementia.
Depressed people may turn to alcohol as a form of self-medication. Mixing alcohol and depression is not a good move since studies have shown that people can also develop depression due to alcohol abuse and alcoholism.
The brain has a delicate balance of processes and chemicals. Alcohol is a depressant that can disrupt this balance and can throw off normal thoughts, feelings, and actions. This may lead to mental health problems.
People who have no medical history of seizures can develop the condition when they cultivate the habit of excessive drinking. Status epilepticus or acute and prolonged epileptic seizure is a life-threatening condition that affects those who have heavy alcohol drinking issues. Medication for this condition is available but can make you more sensitive to the effects of alcohol. The level of alcohol in your body can also interfere with the treatment of the epileptic condition.
Uric acid formation in the joints may develop a type of painful arthritis called gout. The risk is observed to have higher cases of happening in men. Their beer consumption can fuel the condition and worsen the symptoms.
9. High Blood Pressure
Hypertension or high blood pressure is likely to develop in people who consume too much alcohol. It can advance into a chronic disease that can result in other medical conditions like stroke, kidney, and heart disease.
10. Infectious Diseases
Infectious diseases can be contracted when the person who drinks develops a weakened immune system. It would be easier for the person to acquire infections and contact diseases like pneumonia and tuberculosis. Engaging in risky sexual behavior can also result in HIV/AIDS and STDs or sexually transmitted diseases. Binge drinking can bring about lower immunity and the inability to fight infection for up to 24 hours.
Core Value of St John Recovery Place
Helping people to rebuild their lives and relationships has been their goal. This can be made possible because of their mission to empower individuals to fight for themselves and go against their addiction. Throughout the treatment, individuals will be learning how they matter to others and that their addiction is but a process that they need to eliminate from their system. St John Recovery Place‘s well-equipped facilities are manned by highly trained staff that can assist in making your recovery as pleasant and comfortable as possible.
Providing a healing opportunity for their clients is a commitment that St John Recovery Place has at heart. It has been their driving force and had helped a lot of their clients foster trust and confidence to undergo treatment under their wings.
St John Recovery Place can become a haven for those who seek illumination from the bondage of alcohol addiction. The therapy and guidance are centered on the treatment and healing of the clients’ physical, psychological, spiritual, and emotional elements.
St John Recovery Place is going to be your home away from home where recovery can be done in a pleasant and secured facility. Our expert clinical staff and compassionate medical team will give their best to assist you. We are committed to aiding our clients to acquire skills that can empower them as they follow the road to sobriety.
Give St John Recovery Place a call and begin your journey towards recovery.
Where To Get Help
Dangerous drinking habits can impact not only the person but also the other aspects of his life. Help can be obtained by recognizing that you need help and have to get it as soon as possible. Taking your first step to recovery should be done by contacting St John Recovery Place.
Located in Melbourne Florida, SJRP has been extending its helping hands to assist people who have problems with alcohol abuse and addiction. They have various treatment programs and goals that are specifically made for individualized treatment.
Intervention should be done to obtain an early and reversible consequence of alcohol.