10 Risks of Alcohol Use at Any Age
Many individuals start abusing alcohol at a young age while others may continue to do so well into their golden years. Whether a person drinks too much in a short period of time or drinks excessively every day for several years, there are always possible risks involved, and age is often not a factor. There are 10 risks of alcohol use that can affect a person at any age.
According to the NIAAA, “Drinking too much increases your chances of being injured or even killed.” It does not matter what your age is; anyone can drink excessively and put themselves in harm’s way. “Alcohol is a factor, for example, in about 60% of fatal burn injuries, drownings, and homicides; 50% of severe trauma injuries and sexual assaults; and 40% of fatal motor vehicle crashes, suicides, and fatal falls.” Because alcohol inhibits cognition and coordination, many individuals hurt themselves while others are may be attacked as a result of their inebriated state.
The overindulgent use of alcohol can cause reduced sexual ability in men, specifically erectile dysfunction, while female drinkers may lose their ability to menstruate if they drink to excess. Both genders can also experience a decreased ability or desire for sex, especially if they drink often and in large quantities. This occurs because alcohol “is actually classified as a depressant – a substance that slows the central nervous system” (CESAR).
Another result of excessive alcohol use all at once, alcohol poisoning is like overdosing on a drug. It can actually be deadly if the person is not taken to the hospital immediately. “Cold, clammy, pale or bluish skin,” irregular breathing, no breathing, vomiting, and unconsciousness are all signs of alcohol poisoning. Usually, the person will be extremely difficult to wake, and there is a high risk of the individual choking, especially if they vomit.
Heavy drinking increases a person’s chances of being diagnosed with cancer. “Cancer of the breast, mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, and colon” are all possible outcomes of excessive drinking, according to the CDC. While these are usually considered to be long-term effects of alcoholism, a person who drinks heavily may be diagnosed with these problems even if they are considerably young.
Even individuals who do not drink enough to experience alcohol poisoning can experience memory loss. This can be extremely risky, as those who have abused alcohol heavily and then do not remember what they did during the time they spent drinking could be putting themselves in danger for many reasons. “Risky sexual behaviors, including unprotected sex or sex with multiple partners” are common and dangerous activities for individuals who abuse large amounts of alcohol. In many cases, these behaviors can result in other issues like sexually transmitted diseases or pregnancy. When one does not realize or remember that they have participated in these activities, it is harder for them to get help for their condition.
In addition, memory loss only becomes worse over time, and many individuals also experience severe learning problems as the result of alcohol abuse.
Alcohol is a depressant, and drinking large quantities can cause feelings of depression to surface. Individuals who abuse alcohol are also more likely to experience issues with anxiety and other types of mental disorders. Alcohol can also be used as a dangerous coping mechanism for mental disorders that are already present. According to the NLM, “Oftentimes, people drink to make themselves feel better or to block feelings of sadness, depression, nervousness, or worry.” Abusing alcohol usually only makes these issues much worse the longer its done and the more heavily it is abused.
According to the NIAAA, “Approximately 7.2 percent or 17 million adults in the United States ages 18 and older had an [alcohol use disorder] in 2012.” Alcoholism is always a risk when a person drinks excessively every day, and it can be extremely dangerous as well as very hard to control once it gets to this point. Alcoholics crave the substance all the time and constantly feel the need to drink more. They can also experience dangerous withdrawal symptoms that can even be deadly. Alcoholism takes over a person’s entire life and often keeps them from enjoying every other aspect of it until they are able to receive help.
This is another short-term risk of alcohol abuse that could happen to anyone and lead to nearly anything. While some individuals are likely to hurt themselves when they become too drunk, others may not judge a situation carefully and hurt someone else. Many people drive under the influence of alcohol when they shouldn’t, unable to judge the situation properly, and wind up hurting or killing someone else. The risky or unprotected sexual activities listed above are also more likely to occur as a result of poor judgment, as are their consequences.
Drinking can make it more difficult for your body to get the nutrients it needs from food. As a result of excessive alcohol use, the digestive tract has a more difficult time absorbing B vitamins and other nutrients. The body also cannot control bacteria as easily or as well as it should be able to when a person overindulges in drink. This can lead to an overall unhealthier sate and malnutrition, even if an individual eats consistently or healthily.
Those who drink are often more likely to experience personal problems than those who do not. This can include relationship issues, family problems, legal issues, work- and school-related problems, and others. A person is more likely to get bad grades, get reprimanded at work, or engage in arguments with their significant other if they are constantly abusing alcohol. These personal problems often occur because alcohol is a mind-altering substance, and it causes individuals to act in a way that they normally would not. Over time, it also causes a person to believe that drinking is more important than anything else, which is extremely harmful to all other aspects of their life.