Facts About Alcohol Abuse
Almost all people can agree that too much of anything can be bad- particularly when that thing is alcohol. Nearly everyone is familiar with some of the short term consequences of alcohol abuse but there are many other serious problems far beyond traffic accidents and alcohol poisoning that many are not aware of. Before taking another drink, here are several facts about alcohol abuse that are helpful to know:
Binge Drinking and Heavy Drinking
- A standard drink has only .6 ounces of pure alcohol in it. The amount of alcoholic beverage a person can drink will depend on the type of alcohol being consumed and the amount of alcohol contained within it.
- According to the Center for Disease Control, alcohol binging for women means they drink more than 4 drinks during one occasion. For men, it takes five or more drinks on one occasion to count as binge drinking.
- During the week, women must drink 8 or more drinks while men must drink more than 15 drinks a week for it to be considered heavy drinking.
Short Term Risks
Short term health risks of alcohol abuse can include bodily injuries, alcohol poisoning, traffic injuries, and risky sexual behavior that may result in sexually transmitted diseases, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse.
- Pregnancy risks, and still births could occur should the person be pregnant while drinking. If the person is trying to get pregnant at the time, complications after conception are almost certain.
- There is an increased potential of domestic violence due to the physical impairment that excessive alcohol can cause.
- There is a potential increase of dependence on the alcoholic substance and a high increase of long term addiction.
Long Term Risks
- The most well-known health risk of long term alcohol abuse is liver disease. However, there are several types of liver diseases such as alcohol hepatitis, cirrhosis, and for those with Hepatitis C, a major decrease in liver function and impairment of medication used to treat the disease.
- Alcohol abuse can damage the heart, which can cause a slew of other health problems including alcoholic cardiomyopathy. Alcoholic cardiomyopathy is defined by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism as a condition where the heart is weakened, causing it to droop. This prevents proper contraction of the heart muscle which prevents the heart from pumping blood to the organs.
- Other conditions caused by alcohol abuse include myocardial infarction, hypertension and atrial fibrillation, all of which affect the cardiovascular system.
- There are many other detrimental health conditions caused by long term alcohol use, such as: dementia, depression, stroke, cancer, chronic pancreatitis, neuropathy and a lowered immune system.
One of the unarguable facts about alcohol abuse is that alcohol abuse is currently one of the leading causes of death today. While many people keep their drinking to sparse social occasions, many others take this path to a much darker place. By being aware and understanding both the short term and long term effects of alcohol abuse, a person has a greater chance avoiding this addiction or fighting it if they are currently suffering from it.