Alcoholism at a glance
Although moderate consumption of alcohol is not detrimental psychologically or physically, it eventually precipitates heavy drinking which can cause serious health and mental concerns. Heavy drinking is also known as binge drinking. Binge drinking occurs when a male consumes more than five drinks all at once and for a female, four drinks in a row. Heavy consumption of alcohol every other day is more harmful than frequent small consumptions. According to the University of Glasgow researchers, "Men who drink twenty-two or more units of alcohol a week have a twenty percent higher rate of admissions into acute hospitals than non-drinkers." Researchers from the University of Illinois reported that healthy young adults who consistently binge drink may be at a higher risk of heart disease in years to come. Binge drinking is more prevalent in teenagers on college campuses.
Underage drinking is the source of alcoholism in many adults today. A study was conducted and found that teenagers who drink before the age of fifteen usually will have problems with alcohol in their adult life. Another factor contributing to alcoholism is stress. When stress levels reach its breaking point, persons consume alcohol with the hopes of alleviating whatever the cause of the stress was. Other factors which may lead to alcoholism are: peer pressure, having a low self-esteem and the media through advertisement.
According to the Mayo Clinic, these are symptoms of those who abuse alcohol and also alcoholism:
- Has no limit on the amount of alcohol they partake in.
- Their tolerance level for alcohol is increased, therefore more is required for them to feel good.
- They are very secretive with drinking.
- Prior conversations and appointments are easily forgotten. This phase is known as a "blackout".
- They are very irritable when alcohol is not available.
- They have legal or socially problems resulting from excessive drinking.
- Their interest is lost for activities that use to bring them excitement.
- Experiences nausea, sweating when they do not drink. These are withdrawal symptoms.
- Have money problems as a result of drinking.
According to the Medical News Today, there are many complications surrounding alcoholism and alcohol abuse. The individual has a higher probability of developing hepatitis and cirrhosis. These two diseases affect the liver. Hepatitis causes inflammation of the liver and has little or no symptoms. This disease if left untreated can lead to fibrosis and cirrhosis, which is an advanced liver disease. Malfunction of the liver occurs in the short term. Gastrointestinal complications may also occur. As a result gastritis or pancreas damage may occur. Gastritis is another inflammation, but this inflammation affects the lining of the stomach, gradually irritating or eroding it. If left untreated may eventually lead to loss of blood and a risk of developing cancer in the stomach. This affects the ability of the body to digest and absorb vitamins from food and produce hormones which aid in regulating metabolism. Did you know that alcohol abuse also raises your blood pressure? If this pattern continues, eventually it will lead hypertension. Alcohol abuse can lead to heart problems resulting in heart failure and stroke. Diabetes has also been linked to alcohol abuse and alcoholism. In women, alcohol abuse can affect your menstruation cycle by either interrupting or even stopping it completely. For men erectile dysfunction is prevalent among alcoholics. Pregnant women who abuse alcohol, usually in most cases have babies with birth defects. This is known as fetal alcohol syndrome. It is a great probability that if you are an alcoholic you have thinning bones, because alcohol disrupts the production of bone growth. This puts the alcoholic at an increased risk of getting fractures as a result of falls they might incur. The brain is one of the most important organs in the body, unfortunately alcohol abuse affects this also. Alcohol abuse can lead to brain disorders affecting memory, language and thinking. This type of disorder is known as dementia. Alcohol abuse puts the individual at a higher risk of developing various cancers such as: cancer of the mouth, esophagus, liver, colon, rectum, breasts, prostate and pharynx. Studies also concluded that alcohol abuse was linked to bowel cancer. Alcoholism is a serious disease that leads to other diseases that may lead to death.