What is Alcoholism?
Alcoholism (also known as alcohol use disorder or alcohol dependence) occurs when your intake of alcohol is so high that your body eventually develops dependency upon alcohol. Alcohol becomes the most important thing in your life. Sadly, people with alcohol dependence continue to use it even when drinking directly brings negative consequences to them such as losing their jobs. These individuals might know how alcohol is affecting their lives adversely, but this is often not enough to compel them to stop drinking as it is the alcohol that is now controlling them. In other scenarios, some individuals may drink alcohol until it reaches a point when it causes them to act like a typical alcoholic, but in reality, they are not a dependent on the alcohol. Authorities in the medical field refer to this as alcohol abuse and some even go to the extent of terming it as a disease.
The exact cause alcoholism is still unknown to many medical experts who seek to understand where alcoholism has its roots. Alcohol dependency on the other hand develops an individual addiction as they drinks so much causing their brains to undergo chemical changes in the brain. These particular changes increase, the feeling of pleasure that one gets when they drink alcohol. Such individuals drink more often even when they are fully aware of the harm it may be causing them. In the end, just like many other drugs that cause addictions, the feeling of pleasure that they usually associate with the use of alcohol goes away, resulting in the individual engaging in heavy drinking to avoid withdrawal symptoms. The withdrawal symptoms that a person with alcohol dependency develops are quite unpleasant and dangerous at times.
Dangers of Alcohol Abuse
Alcohol abuse is the highest number of addicts among all known drugs in the world. As per the World Health Organization figures, approximately more than two million individuals die yearly from alcohol abuse. By giving this staggering statistic, the World Health Organization was bringing to light an issue that many in the society trivialize tine and again. In the process, the World Health Organization also found an opportunity to create awareness about this affliction and to urge people to learn about ways to help those who might be struggling with alcoholism so that they can never again become part of that statistic. Movies and television shows often represent alcoholics as ‘funny’ people, but when you ask the family of a known alcoholic, they will tell you that there is nothing funny about alcoholism. There are functioning alcoholics who manage to behave well at work, but it’s normally within the confines of their homes that this big revelation occurs.
As a type of hazard, injury can be as a result of alcohol use. It is important to note that injury is different from violence as injury is accidental. Accidental injuries that are as a result of alcohol addiction and abuse include injuries emanating from drunk driving, burns, injury from falling and drowning. Suicide and self-injury are common among persons that are under the influence of alcohol. These issues may be more frequent after intoxication as depressive-type feelings well-up in certain people after drinking heavily. To prevent these people from seriously injuring themselves, many professionals recommend alcoholic rehabilitation at treatment center for alcoholism. These facilities assist those suffering from alcohol addiction and assist them to live healthy lifestyles.
Intense alcohol is to blame for various acts of violence by otherwise calm people. Although not all people mete out violence on others as a result of alcohol use, this particular problem is most common among individuals that engage in heavy drinking. Acts of physical violence may include assault, homicide and even the abuse of immediate family members. To prevent these occurrences, most interventions seek out appropriate help for alcohol addiction from known drug and rehab centers. Many people argue that alcohol use cannot take all the blame for acts of violence but truth of the matter is that it directly relates to the presence of violence. Such is the case because alcohol has been known to lower individual’s inhibition making them prone to acts of physical violence. If both men and women frequently abuse alcohol, the women are oftentimes more likely to experience physical violence.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
When under the influence of alcohol, an individual is more likely to engage in reckless sexual behavior that may include sex without protection and having sex with multiple people. Such risky behavior increases the chances of contracting Sexually Transmitted Diseases. Additionally, pregnancy can be a consequence of consuming large quantities of alcohol and indulging in irresponsible behavior.
Alcohol abuse goes hand in hand with poor judgment and risky sexual behavior. Alcoholics often experience memory loss which is a common side effect of the heavy intake of alcohol and the main reason why STD testing rarely does occur. Lack of STD testing means that when there are complications, they gradually worsen the patients prevailing condition. Furthermore, those who test positive for the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) typically turn to drinking alcohol regularly and become alcoholics. It is therefore important to prevent your loved ones from catching a harmful STD by seeking professional help at a drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre today.
Risk of Developing Cardiovascular Disease
Heavy drinking leads to an alcoholic’s platelets becoming more likely to clump together, forming blood clots that can lead to a stroke or heart attack. In a major study undertaken in the year 2005, Harvard researchers came to the conclusion that binge drinking doubles the risk of death among initial survivors of a heart attack. Another consequence of heavy drinking is cardiomyopathy which is a potentially deadly condition that causes the hearts muscles to weaken and eventually fail together with heart rhythm abnormalities such as ventricular and atrial fibrillation. Atrial fibrillation causes the heart’s upper chambers (the atria) to twitch chaotically instead of constricting rhythmically leading to blood clots that are capable of triggering a stroke. The ventricular fibrillation also causes chaotic twitching of the heart’s pumping chambers (the ventricles) causing rapid loss of consciousness which may lead to sudden death in the absence of immediate treatment.