Most of us like a drink or two now and again, but alcohol abuse is characterised by excessive and repeated alcohol consumption and intoxication. Many alcoholics deny having a problem, and may even try masking their drinking by talking about the potential health benefits. While it is true that medical practitioners believe that moderate, occasional drinking may be beneficial for our health, this amounts to just a glass or two of wine, a few times a week.
Alcohol addiction of course goes well past this point, and so the alcohol consumed is almost certainly having a negative effect on ones health. Any potential health benefits of drinking are quickly eliminated with increased volumes and frequency of consumption.
So what really are the problems with alcohol abuse? What do the statistics tell us about the effects of alcohol addiction on one’s health?
Problems With Alcohol Abuse: Drunkenness
Alcohol abuse by its very definition leads to drunkenness. Alcohol intoxication isn’t necessarily always a bad thing but it is worth noting that it can serve to slow down reaction rates, reduce barriers and lead to feelings of excessive belief in one’s own abilities.
This means that drunkenness can in some situations lead to considerable problems. These may include accidents, such as when attempting to drive when under the influence of alcohol, aggression leading to fights and physical damage not to mention of course the financial consequences of buying all that alcohol in the first place.
Physical Problems With Alcohol Abuse
Drunkenness is of course only one aspect of alcohol abuse, and in many cases the side effects are temporary. Many people will awake the following morning with little more than a hangover and few badly spelled texts to show for their evening of drinking.
However those individuals who fall into a pattern of abuse which borders on alcohol addiction can soon find themselves suffering from a number of other unpleasant physical side effects.
These side effects are most likely to be experienced when a reliable on alcohol starts to develop. Like any other drug, a lack of alcohol in the body then starts to cause a range of unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. The only way to rid yourself of these physical side effects is to either undergo an addiction treatment program or – more commonly – to just keep drinking.
One example of the physical problems of alcohol abuse can be sweating and tremors as the alcohol level in the body starts to drop. This can make alcoholics agitated, and can lead to “tunnel vision” until they’ve managed to bring their blood alcohol level back up to the required level. Nausea and vomiting is also common in these situations.
Another problem caused by repeated alcohol abuse can be problems with sleep. Many alcoholics find themselves suffering from unbearable insomnia which keeps them awake at night for hours – or sometimes even days – at a time. Sooner or later though the body normally gives in, leading to feelings of tiredness throughout the day and a preponderance to sleeping in.
More extreme symptoms may follow. Regular alcohol abuse can affect the immune system, making it harder for your body to fight diseases. For this reason, many alcoholics find themselves unable to fight off diseases and seem to catch every cold, virus or bug that they come into contact with.
At its most severe, alcohol abuse can even lead to organ damage – or all-out failure. It is not uncommon for the heart, liver and kidneys to struggle with an excessive, repeated alcohol intake and even cancer is more prevalent among alcoholics in comparison to the rest of the population.
Mental Problems Alcohol Addiction
All this sounds pretty unpleasant so far I think you’d agree. Alcohol abuse can, in some instances, kill you. In others, it can make life very unpleasant indeed. However we still have one more category of side effects to discuss; namely the mental problems that can be caused – or exacerbated – by alcohol abuse.
While small amounts of alcohol has reduce paranoia (making it one of the key reasons why so many people enjoy a drink), alcoholics can find that it has quite the opposite effect. In essence, excessive alcohol consumption on a regular basis can result in an overwhelming feeling of paranoia among alcoholics. A feeling that is only quenched by alcohol.
Hallucinations are another not-infrequent side effect of alcoholism. The experience can be truly terrifying for those who experience them and have led to people doing some crazy things to try and rid themselves of these demons.
Lastly, it should be said that depression and alcohol abuse seem to be strongly linked. Quite whether depression increases your odds of becoming an addict, or whether being an alcoholic increases your chances of suffering from depression isn’t clear. However what is clear is that alcohol abuse can most certainly worsen feelings of depression which ca, in turn, increase suicide rates.
The message here is pretty simple. Alcohol abuse increases the odds of all manner of unfortunate – and sometimes even potentially fatal – side effects. The best strategy for avoiding these is to stop drinking excessively. In the case of a bone fide addiction, seeking professional help is normally the only solution, to not only beat an alcohol addiction but also to ensure that your detox program allows you to eliminate alcohol from your system in the safest and most efficient manner possible.