Alcohol– also known as its chemical name ethanol is a psychoactive substance found in beer, wine and spirits. Alcohol is the third leading cause of preventable death in the United States. Two thirds of the American population consumes alcohol on a daily or weekly basis. Year to year these numbers increase proving that alcohol abuse is a major growing problem. Alcoholism is extremely daunting to the body, very cost consuming and dangerous for everyone. Alcohol attributes to about 88,000 deaths per year and many of these deaths are young adults. These deaths occur due to alcohol poisoning, fatal injuries, and car accidents.
Effects of Alcohol on the Body
Drinking, no matter the amount, over time takes a toll on our body health. Young adults whom consume alcohol have undeveloped and growing bodies. Alcohol use at an early age can increase the chances of alcohol addiction years down the road and can disrupt the growth process of the body, particularly the brain.
Our brain holds the pathways to communication and our response systems. The use of alcohol can disturb these pathways causing abrupt change in mood and behavior. Once alcohol begins to metabolize in our bodies it becomes more difficult for the brain to think clearly. It slowly demobilizes the central nervous system and alters the body’s fine motor skills such as:
- Movements of the fingers and hands
- Depth perception
- Correlation between eye contact and walking
- Functions of the eyes such as blinking
- Coordination between arms, legs, and large body parts
- Alcohol can cause many heart problems such as
- Cardiomyopathy also known as heart muscle disease. This is caused when the heart is stiffened and restrained where blood has difficulty flowing. The heart muscle has a hard time pumping the blood through the body and therefore blood gets pushed into the lungs.
- People who drink alcohol over long periods of time or consume an excessive amount in one day can cause their hearts to have an irregular heartbeat known as Arrhythmia.
- High Blood Pressure
- Drinking alcohol over long periods of time can greatly affect the liver.
- Fibrosis is an unusual large amounts of scar tissue in the liver caused when there is damage to the liver and the body tries to repair and replace the lining of the liver.
- Cirrhosis or fatty liver is an abundance of fat within the liver causing an imbalance of the liver’s functionality.
- Alcohol Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver.
- Excessive amounts of alcohol weaken the immune system. The body becomes more susceptible to disease and increases the chance of some cancers.
- Throat cancer
Alcohol and Addiction
What causes someone to become addicted to alcohol? Well, there are many factors that can contribute to the risks of alcoholism. Studies have shown that anyone can become addicted to alcohol so it raises a huge red flag to people today to get more education on how to protect our selves and our loved ones.
Science has shown that genetics, physiological, psychological and social factors are the main causes of alcohol addiction today. Although chances of alcohol addiction can be cause by inherited genes, scientists are working hard to identify exactly which gene targets and magnifies addiction. Also because alcohol has a chemical effect on the brain, it releases neurotransmitters such as dopamine to make us feel good. These physiological and psychological factors cause the brain to crave this “feel-good” feeling and to drink more and more.
We are all highly influenced by our environment and peers in good and bad ways. Depending on the sociological factors we are encompassed by can increase our chances of alcohol abuse. For example, children of parents whom are addicted to alcohol are 4 times more likely to be alcoholics then those in drug-free environments.
Alcohol is one of the deadliest addictions and is sometimes underestimated because of ease of accessibility. The misconception that alcohol is not a huge problem to society because major drug medication need prescriptions to obtain is a major set back in today’s drug education. Alcohol is one of the most deadliest addictions because for of it’s agonizing withdrawal process. Withdrawal symptoms can be noticed even a few hours after the last drink. If you or a loved one has an alcohol dependence please do not act alone. Alcohol addiction is extremely life-threatening and professional medical supervision is needed 24-7 during the beginning stages of healing and recovery.
Withdrawal Symptoms Timeline
|6-8 Hours after last drink||24-72 hours after last drink||1 week after last drink|
|Shaking Handing||High Blood Pressure||Agitation|
|Vomiting||High Levels of Stress||Seizures|
|Anxiety||Increased Body Temperature||Hallucinations|
|Abdominal Pain||Racing Heart Beat|