Excessive alcohol consumption is costing far more than any other drug abuse problem. The CDC estimated that the price tag for alcohol abuse in the United States was $223.5 billion dollars in 2006 alone – and that number is just increasing.
This liquid drug is causing problems not only with traffic and other accidents brought on by poor judgement, but also by the health complications it causes.
Everyone has a different level of tolerance. Men are typically able to safely drink more than women. However, individual sensitivities vary widely and it is the responsibility of the person drinking to determine what is a healthy amount for them.
The more alcohol consumed, the greater the danger of developing serious health problems a consequence.
The Struggle an Alcoholic Faces
The physical health problems caused by alcohol are numerous and varied. Once alcohol is consumed, it is absorbed and distributed throughout the body via the bloodstream. Even a small amount can have a big impact.
Short-term dangers are typically more focused on the possible health hazards associated with poor judgment, such as accidentally falling off a building or stumbling in front a car. However, even first time drinkers are at risk for blackouts, overdose or death.
Any amount of alcohol use can lead to alcoholism. Becoming chemically-dependent may not take as long as you think.
Long-term overuse of alcohol can lead to serious health issues, including liver failure, chronic pancreatitis, brain damage, and many others. One of the more famous symptoms is Jaundice, a yellowing of the skin and eyes, which is a direct result of liver damage caused by drinking. Other organs that can become seriously damaged are the digestive tract, reproductive system, heart and brain.
Alcohol-related dementia (ARD), is a brain disease caused by excessive alcohol consumption. This permanent condition is characterized by damage to cognitive abilities, such as short-term memory loss and impaired executive function, which is responsible for judgement and planning.
The frequency that a person drinks and amount ingested as well as genetic factors are key components in understanding individual risk levels.
Messing with Your Head
Alcohol is a depressant. Even small amounts have an effect on the brain and, consequently, a person’s psychological processes.
Because alcohol crosses the blood-brain barrier, it has the potential to disrupt brain functioning in a wide variety of ways. It can cause depression, anxiety and many other emotional and mental disorders.
For people who are already living with mental illness, alcohol threatens to exacerbate symptoms. For example, someone who is suffering from depression would most likely see an increase in their depressive symptoms if they add alcohol to the mix.
The Responsibility of Drinking
Alcohol is a widely used and abused substance. The more a person drinks the greater the risk of developing health problems as consequence.
The majority of American adults consume alcohol at one time or another. The key is to tailor one’s drinking to their own physiology. The amount that is okay for one person may not be for another.
It is vitally importance to know how alcohol affects you as an individual and respond appropriately.