Alcohol is a drug. It depresses the central nervous system and impairs normal brain chemistry.
Worldwide alcohol consumption, with many thousands of variations of beverages, brands, and methods for making, marketing, and distributing it, is also is the most universally consumed drug in the world.
Alcohol is not the drink itself but the by-product from the fermentation process of yeasts in grains and plants that creates the substance ethyl alcohol; the only type of alcohol used in adult beverages.
Alcoholism is the dependency developed from chronic use and abuse of alcohol. It is a true addiction requiring detoxification and supportive therapies if it is to be permanently turned around into sobriety. An alcoholic “needs” a drink constantly in order to stem the withdrawal symptoms and cravings that follow each drinking session.
There are many reasons for over-drinking and developing a dependency upon alcohol. These pages may help the reader understand how they can break the cycle that enslaves them or a loved one to the greatest single addictive drug the world has known throughout its thousands of years of recorded history.
Action Recovery Group of Ogden specializes in alcohol abuse, dependency and addiction recovery. A call to our staff at (801) 473-HOPE can help you begin the path to freedom from alcohol, and also deal with Alcohol Use Disorder and with the disease of alcoholism.
Facts About Alcohol Abuse, Dependency and Alcoholism
Alcohol Abuse Disorder (AUD) is a classification medical doctors make to attempt to categorize the severity of alcohol abuse into mild, moderate, and severe sub-classifications. Alcoholism itself may be also considered in the classification of an AUD but is the addiction to alcohol itself.
The phenomenon of injuries, death, and personal losses due to alcohol use is worldwide and not subject to age, ethnic, or social conditions. It is a universal problem and health crisis in part due to its legal ease of obtaining alcoholic beverages.
Most thinking individuals will agree that alcoholism has caused more harm to individuals, their families, employment, productivity, careers, personal relationships, and increased accidental and even criminal behavior than many other drugs when combined. The statistics are overwhelming when it comes to the harm associated with over-drinking.
When it finally becomes enough of a problem for a person it has already caused health, financial, possibly legal concerns and relationship damages.
That’s when an alcohol rehab and recovery treatment center usually comes in to play. But to give a quick idea of the dangers associated with continued alcohol use, Action Recovery Group cites the following information.
In 2012 the World Health Organization reported the following:
- Approximately 3.3 million deaths, or 5.9 percent of all global deaths were attributable to alcohol consumption.
- Alcohol contributes to over 200 diseases and injury related health conditions, most notably alcohol dependence, liver cirrhosis, cancers, and injuries. In 2012 5.1 percent of the burden of disease and injury worldwide (139 million disability adjusted life years) was attributable to alcohol consumption.
The National Institute of Health has created the following information on the effects and damages to the body caused by alcohol use and associated drinking disorders including alcoholism:
Alcohol’s Effects on the Body
Drinking too much – on a single occasion or over time – can take a serious toll on your health. Here’s how alcohol can affect your body:
Alcohol interferes with the brain’s communication pathways, and can affect the way the brain looks and works. These disruptions can change mood and behavior, and make it harder to think clearly and move with coordination.
Drinking a lot over a long time or too much on a single occasion can damage the heart, causing problems including:
- Cardiomyopathy – Stretching and drooping of heart muscle
- Arrhythmias – Irregular heart beat
- High blood pressure
Research also shows that drinking moderate amounts of alcohol may protect healthy adults from developing coronary heart disease.
Heavy drinking takes a toll on the liver, and can lead to a variety of problems and liver inflammations including:
- Steatosis, or fatty liver
- Alcoholic hepatitis
Alcohol causes the pancreas to produce toxic substances that can eventually lead to pancreatitis, a dangerous inflammation and swelling of the blood vessels in the pancreas that prevents proper digestion.
Drinking too much alcohol can increase your risk of developing certain cancers, including cancers of the:
Drinking too much can weaken your immune system, making your body a much easier target for disease. Chronic drinkers are more liable to contract diseases like pneumonia and tuberculosis than people who do not drink too much. Drinking a lot on a single occasion slows your body’s ability to ward off infections – even up to 24 hours after getting drunk.
Information courtesy webpage: http://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/alcohols-effects-body
Psychological Reasons Justifying Alcohol Use
There are many emotional and underlying psychological reasons a person may attempt to delude themselves into believing about over-drinking and why it is not harmful to them.
Some of those reasons are fairly common and discussed at 12 step programs to help alcoholics see the false narrative they have created to justify their personal drinking behavior in new terms. The false reasonings for drinking goes something like this:
“It helps me feel at ease and comfortable in social settings.”
“I can handle stress and pressure better when I have a little to drink.
“I just need it to relax a bit; take the edge off.”
“My peers drink and it would be an insult to not associate with them in a few drinks.”
“I’m a person who can handle as much drinking as I want.”
“I am not the problem it is other people who are the problem.”
“It helps me forget my problems and focus upon what I need to do.”
“OK, I know I have a problem, but I can handle it.”
For the person who suffers from alcohol use disorder (AUD) or abuses alcohol frequently, and especially for those who have developed chronic alcoholism, these kinds of thoughts are not imaginary in terms of benefit. They are relied upon to produce a justification for themselves and others; notwithstanding the evidence of the negative consequences of alcohol in the drinker’s life.
Effects of Alcoholism
The many negative social consequences of alcoholism include:
- Family break-ups
- Loss of productivity and employment
- Violence and abuse at home
- Driving under the influence (DUI) and creating accidents, injury and death to loved one’s and others
- Legal embarrassment and costs associated to society with prosecuting intoxicated persons causing injury to others or breaking laws
Health consequences of alcoholism and the diseases and damages to the body are already listed but include the increased chance of death from cirrhosis of the liver and heart disease. Increased suicidal tendencies and thoughts have been attributed to alcoholism.
Withdrawal and Detoxification from Alcohol
Unlike withdrawal from other drugs such as opiates and cocaine derived substances, alcohol has more potential for fatal results in attempts to detox. Some of the distinct withdrawal symptoms include: high blood pressure, seizures and strokes, the “shakes” or “delirium tremens,” and hallucinations.
Because detox and rehab go hand in hand Action Recovery Group of Ogden employs compassionate and caring medical supervision, expert therapy designed to personally benefit and treat underlying issues of the patient in both inpatient and outpatient services which monitor the individualized need of the sufferer.
If you or a loved one suffers from alcoholism or alcohol related dependency, the staff at Action Recovery Group is ready to help you begin the healing process today. Make the first call to save the life that matters most right now: call us at (801) 473-HOPE.