People have been drinking alcohol for thousands of years now, and over those years the practise has become traditional for almost every culture on the face of the earth. There is good reason why it should continue to hold that status – alcohol is a spectacular social tool, and beneficial to one’s health…If used in moderation. The problem, however, is that social drinking can easily become alcohol abuse, which poses major health risks, as well as social risks.
There are both short term and long term risks associated with alcohol abuse. Alcohol slows the drinker’s reactions, thus making him feel tranquil and relaxed. Alcohol lowers a person’s inhibitions, which can result in various reactions depending on the mood. When high doses of alcohol are consumed, it can cause a mental block out – a state of impaired ability to concentrate and judge situations properly. This can lead to any number of situations, including highly emotional reactions. In the short term, these reactions are the main risk of alcohol abuse.
In the long term, however, alcohol has a number of targets. One of the main ones is the liver. Heavy drinkers may develop alcoholic hepatitis, which results from damage to liver cells due to alcohol consumption. However, the main alcohol-related liver disorder is liver cirrhosis – a condition where large parts of the liver are damaged due to long-term alcohol abuse. The effects of alcohol abuse on the liver can be lethal.
Alcohol abuse also damages the skin: the reason why the skin of alcoholics have a permanent reddish look is alcohol’s vasodilator properties – over a long period of alcohol abuse the blood vessels found in the skin dilate and are unable to shrink back to normal.
Heart disease is also a major cause of alcohol abuse. The most common heart conditions caused by alcohol are cardiomyopathy, which develops due to the damage to the heart’s muscle tissue caused by prolonged alcohol abuse – this can result in heart failure. Some of the less significant heart problems caused by alcohol are anemia and various bleeding disorders.
Another are affected by alcohol abuse is the stomach. Alcohol irritates the stomach lining and can cause chronic stomach problems, such as peptic ulcers disease among others.
The blood vessels found in the skin surface usually widen as a result of alcohol intake because of the alcohol’s vasodilator properties. This is the reason why the skin of heavy drinkers appears flushed. Chronic alcohol abuse results in the inability of the blood vessels to shrink back to normal giving the person a permanent reddish look.
Cardiomyopathy is a major health risk alcohol abusers are likely to suffer. Long-term alcohol use creates damage and weakens the heart’s muscular tissue resulting in heart failure. Anemia and bleeding disorders can also result from chronic alcohol abuse.
Peptic ulcer disease is likely to develop in heavy drinkers. Alcohol can irritate the stomach lining and prolonged use can cause chronic stomach problems including peptic ulcers.
These are just a few of the multitude of risks of alcohol abuse, but even these should be enough for alcohol abusers to seek immediate rehabilitation and treatment.