The American Medical Association considers alcoholism to be a disease, but in a lot of peoples minds, it is a weakness of character and willpower. They just can’t grasp how anybody could destroy their own lives by doing something that seems so preventable. This is an article about alcohol addiction facts, and not about the theories and psychological aspects of why or how some people are affected. That is an area that needs at least it’s own article. and most likely, a whole book to explain. Most alcoholics themselves can’t even explain why they keep destroying their lives with alcohol.
Starting with a definition is usually a good idea:
The definition- “ alcoholism refers to addiction to alcohol which is the compulsive and uncontrolled consumption of alcoholic beverages, usually to the detriment of the drinker’s health, personal relationships, and social standing.” Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcoholism
The Stats On Alcohol Addiction
- It is estimated that there are over 100,000 Alcoholics Anonymous groups in the world.
- Alcohol is the most widely used addictive substance in the United States with about 1 in every 12 adults suffering from alcohol abuse or dependence. Many more are adversely affecting their health and well being by over drinking or binge drinking.
- An alcoholic becomes physically dependent on alcohol and can suffer for years with the need to keep a percentage of alcohol in their system at all times.
- The need for alcohol outweighs anything else including family, health and occupation and the long term effects of alcoholism are noticeable in all these aspects of an alcoholic’s life.
- Cirrhosis of the liver affects nearly 20% of all alcoholics and heavy drinkers.
- Alcoholics are more likely to develop and suffer from such things as, cancer, infections and of course problems with the liver and other organs.
- Car accidents are the leading cause of death among teenagers and about one third of those are alcohol related.
- Alcohol affects your ability to make good decisions and a large percentage of our prison population have been convicted of crimes committed while they were inebriated.
- A drunk is capable of doing things that they would never do if they were sober, violence is often a by-product of alcohol.
- There is no cure for alcoholism and the best treatment is to develop a system that works for each individual that will help them abstain from drinking any alcohol.
The History Of Alcohol
The fermentation of grains, fruit and other foods has been a part of humankind for thousands of years and I suspect that it has always caused problems. The ancient Greeks made an alcoholic beverage called mead which was fermented with honey and water. Even before the Greeks and as far back as 7000 BC it has been thought that alcoholic beverages were made in China and India from rice. They didn’t have any cars to wreck back then, but I would bet that the ancient alcohol was fuel for a good many altercations, just like it is today. It is also more than likely that a few chariots and ox carts had to be pulled from the ditch. The fact that some religions don’t allow their followers to drink alcohol is probably a custom born from the devastating effects that alcohol causes in a percentage of people that drink it.
The Effects Of Alcohol on The Body
When you drink any type of alcohol, it is absorbed into the bloodstream and travels merrily along where it is distributed throughout your body and organs. The body can only process a certain amount of alcohol and that amount will differ for each individual. It depends on size, gender and some other things including recently eaten foods. The reason we get drunk or impaired is because the body can only expel a small amount of alcohol at a time. For most heavy or steady drinkers the exit of alcohol just can’t keep up with the intake of the booze. The results are impairment and sometimes being drunk can create a whole whack of problems that just don’t happen to non drinkers. That’s the short term look.
Continued heavy drinking for years will put your health in serious jeopardy. The scientific term used most often is “gettingtheshitkickedoutofyou.” But enough with the Latin, let’s just say that the results are not pretty. Heavy drinkers and smokers don’t need to be told that it these habits are not good for them, they can feel it everyday. Health warnings and pictures of diseased livers and lungs have no affect on addicts.
Addiction is a bitch once you’re in it. Advice from family and friends is good but it’s up to each person to decide when they’ve had enough. Hopefully the decision comes before all of the following things take effect.
Here are some of the long term risks of heavy drinking
Blackouts happen and it’s a fact that a large percentage of the prison population wouldn’t be there without alcohol or drugs.
The pancreas starts to produce toxic substances due to alcohol abuse. That’s okay, the liver will handle those toxic substances, BUT WAIT!!
Excessive drinking leads to cirrhosis of the liver. When the liver doesn’t work the toxic crap can’t leave the body. It’s not really very funny due to the fact that liver disease is life threatening.
Alcohol abuse also raises the chances of liver cancer and you might as well throw a little bit of diabetes in there too.
Heavy and long term drinking can damage the nervous system and even shrink the frontal lobes of the brain causing brain damage and dementia in some cases.
Alcohol can damage the salivary glands causing irritation to the mouth, tongue and gums which leads to tooth decay.
It can wreak havoc on the digestive system, the circulatory system, the immune system, the skeletal and muscle systems and also kick the crap out of your sexual and reproductive health.
Oh, and I almost forgot to mention, it can eventually lead to heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure and of course, constant diarrhea which is always pleasant.
The scary thing about all of these facts is that knowing them usually won’t stop a heavy drinker from continuing on this destructive path. That’s the mental aspect of addiction that non addicts will never understand. Hell, I don’t think anybody really knows why. Alcohol is just a beast that needs to be fed. In time, the addict either decides to quit, or they don’t.
All I can say is that life is a hell of a lot safer and a lot longer if you don’t drink alcohol.
My apologies for screwing up your day with these awful facts on alcohol addiction.
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