Alcohol Abuse Info: Signs and Symptoms, Health Risks, Preventing Practices
What Exactly Is Alcohol Abuse?
Alcohol abuse or alcoholism is a condition that involves the unregulated use of alcohol by an individual. According to the Washington Post, almost six people die from alcohol poisoning every day and around 76 percent of them are adults aged between 35-64.
Key Signs and Symptoms of Alcoholism
In order to tackle alcohol abuse early on, it is important to identify its telltale signs and symptoms. Depending on the level of addiction, they might be easy or difficult to find.
Some common symptoms of addiction include but are not limited to:
- A rise in the tolerance of higher quantities of alcohol and a decrease in symptoms associated with a hangover that follows after a drink.
- Consuming strong drinks in higher quantities than before and an increase in consumption frequency.
- Drinking at places where it is prohibited or inappropriate, such as places of worship or the office.
- A compulsion to be present in places where there is a possibility of finding alcohol and avoiding other places.
- Consuming alcohol at an improper or unhealthy time, for example: after waking up in the morning.
- Changing social groups: addicts will prefer hanging around individuals who are heavy drinkers themselves.
- Drinking in secret and feeling guilty while drinking.
- A decrease in interaction with friends and relatives.
- Suffering from mental health issues such as depression because of changes in dopamine production in the brain.
- Inability to execute regular life activities without being dependent on alcohol.
- Decrease in work performance or losing a job.
- Legal issues such as being arrested.
What Are the Health Risks Associated with Drinking?
Drinking alcohol on a regular basis or consuming a huge quantity on a single occasion can have significant consequences for your mind and body. It will lead to many short-term problems which might escalate to something serious over the long term.
Here are some of the short-term effects caused by spirits:
- A decrease in reaction time
- Having a bad reflex
- A decrease in brain activities
- A decrease in the person’s inhibitions
- The blurring of the vision
- Breathing problems
- Feeling jittery and restless.
In the long term, alcohol abuse leads to a host of diseases affecting different parts of the human body.
Binge drinking can cause blood platelets to cluster together to form a clot which might result in a stroke or a heart attack. According to a study by Harvard researchers published in 2015, people who indulged in binge drinking had a 72 percent higher chance of having a heart attack than those who didn’t.
Addicts might also suffer from a condition known as cardiomyopathy in which the muscles of the heart weakens and fails. They might also experience abnormalities in heart rhythm like ventricular and atrial fibrillation. These two conditions cause the heart muscles to constrict in a chaotic fashion, thereby leading to a stroke or even death.
Drinking a lot of liquor can lead to an abnormal decrease in the number of red blood cells in the body. This leads to conditions such as shortness of breath, fatigue, and lightheadedness.
Heavy drinkers expose themselves to the risk of developing cancer. Alcohol, when it enters the body, is converted to acetaldehyde, which is a powerful carcinogen. Cancer might develop in the mouth, liver, larynx (voice box), esophagus, pharynx (throat), and breast. The risk of head and neck cancer increases in alcoholics who also consume tobacco.
Alcohol is harmful to liver cells. It leads to the development of cirrhosis, a deadly disease that causes the liver to stop functioning. It is, however, difficult to predict whether a drinker is susceptible to cirrhosis since it is not seen to be occurring in every addict.
Practices to Prevent Alcohol Abuse
Alcohol abuse or alcoholism take a certain time to develop, and with the help of preventive practices the rate of procuring this addiction can be decreased. These following guidelines can help an individual to maintain control over their drinking habits:
- Avoid stocking alcohol: While purchasing drinks, make sure not to buy more than it is necessary. Also, if alcohol is readily available in your house, you will be more inclined to drink.
- Do not use alcohol as an emotional escape: Because of the feel-good factor associated with getting drunk, people are prone to use liquor whenever they are feeling down or are going through a tough time.
- Avoid hanging out with drinkers: It is best to avoid social circles that rely heavily on drinks to socialize and instead spend some time with sober groups.
- Stop visiting bars: Instead of choosing bars as a place to socialize, try hanging out at a place that does not allow alcohol.
Alcoholism leads an individual to become heavily dependent on alcoholic beverages to the extent that it cripples their ability to perform well at work, manage personal aspirations, build relationships, and maintain good health. There are, however, a lot of ways it can be prevented or cured, however strong the addiction is.