Alcohol is a liquid produced by fermentation.
Further processing produces alcoholic drinks such as beer, wine, cider and spirits.
Alcohol is a depressant drug; this means that it slows down activity of the central nervous system and the messages going between the brain and the body.
Types of Alcohol…..
The four types of alcohol are ethyl, denatured, isopropyl and rubbing.
The one that we know and love the best is ethyl alcohol, also called ethanol or grain alcohol.
It’s made by fermenting sugar and yeast, and is used in beer, wine, and liquor.
Facts about Alcohol….
-More than 216 million Americans have tried alcohol.
-About 28 percent of all traffic fatalities involve alcohol.
-One standard drink can stay in your system for about an hour.
-The term alcoholism was first used in 1849 by the Swedish physician Magnus Huss.
READ: THE IMMUNE SYSTEM
What then is Alcoholism / Alcohol Use Disorder ???
It’s a chronic disease characterised by uncontrolled drinking and preoccupation with alcohol.
Alcoholism is the inability to control drinking due to both a physical and emotional dependence on alcohol.
Drinking alcohol in moderation generally is not a cause for concern. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, drinking is considered to be in the moderate or low-risk range for women at no more than three drinks in any one day and no more than seven drinks per week.
For men, you should not exceed 4 drinks per day or a total of 14 per week.
The French Ministry of Health and Sports suggests no more than 30 grams (roughly 3 drinks) per day for men and women alike.
So if one is found drinking more than what’s stated above , one can be said to be abusing Alcohol or has Alcohol use disorder
Before I move to the main topic for discussion, which is the side effects of Alcohol on the body, let’s take a look at some benefits….
Benefits of Alcohol to the body….
Note that, Getting wasted every weekend might not be the best thing for your physical or mental well-being, but moderate alcohol consumption may have some substantial health benefits.
It should be noted that alcohol consumption and its benefits vary based on an individual’s body makeup and type.
According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, “moderate alcohol consumption is defined as having up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men.
This definition is referring to the amount consumed on any single day and is not intended as an average over several days.”
Most of the time , when we here of Alcohol we only think about the negative side effects but you should know there are benefits associated with *drinking Alcohol in moderation*.
The following are some of the benefits associated with drinking Alcohol in small quantities…..
-It Can Lower Your Risk Of Cardiovascular Disease.
-It Can Lengthen Your Life. …
-It Can Improve Your Libido. …
-It Helps Prevent Against the Common Cold. …
-It Can Decrease Chances Of Developing Dementia. …
-It Can Reduce The Risk Of Gallstones. …
-Lowers The Chance Of Diabetes.
According to Key Chain Blood-Alcohol Testing, you are considered an Excessive drinker or ‘’an Alcoholic’’ if you are a woman who consume eight or more drinks per week. And for men, excess is defined as 15 or more drinks a week. (The researchers defined a drink as just 5 ounces of wine, 12 ounces of beer or 1.5 ounces of spirits.)
Causes of Alcoholism / Alcohol use disorder
The cause of alcohol use disorder is still unknown.
Alcohol use disorder develops when you drink so much that chemical changes in the brain occur. These changes increase the pleasurable feelings you get when you drink alcohol.
This makes you want to drink more often, even if it causes harm.
Eventually, the pleasurable feelings associated with alcohol use go away and the person with alcohol use disorder will engage in drinking to prevent withdrawal symptoms.
These withdrawal symptoms can be quite unpleasant and even dangerous.
Alcohol use disorder typically develops gradually over time.
It’s also known to run in families.
*Risk factors of Alcohol use disorder….*
Although the exact cause of alcohol use disorder is unknown, there are certain factors that may increase your risk for developing this disease.
Known risk factors include having:
-more than 15 drinks per week if you’re male
-more than 12 drinks per week if you’re female
-more than 5 drinks per day at least once a week (binge drinking)
-a parent with alcohol use disorder
-a mental health problem, such as depression, anxiety, or schizophrenia
You may also be at a greater risk for alcohol use disorder if you:
-are a young adult experiencing peer pressure
-have low self-esteem
-experience a high level of stress
-live in a family or culture where alcohol use is common and accepted
-have a close relative with alcohol use disorder
Symptoms of Alcoholism / Alcohol Use Disorder
Symptoms of alcohol use disorder are based on the behaviors and physical outcomes that occur as a result of alcohol addiction.
People with alcohol use disorder may engage in the following behaviors:
-drinking more to feel the effects of alcohol (having a high tolerance)
-becoming violent or angry when asked about their drinking habits
-not eating or eating poorly
-neglecting personal hygiene
-missing work or school because of drinking
-being unable to control alcohol intake
-making excuses to drink
-continuing to drink even when legal, social, or economic problems develop
-giving up important social, occupational, or recreational activities because of alcohol use
People with alcohol use disorder may also experience the following physical symptoms:
-withdrawal symptoms when not drinking, including shaking, nausea, and vomiting
-tremors (involuntary shaking) the morning after drinking
-lapses in memory (blacking out) after a night of drinking
-illnesses, such as alcoholic ketoacidosis (includes dehydration-type symptoms) or cirrhosis
Note that when you experience these symptoms you should report to the hospital for management.
Treatment of Alcohol Use Disorder
Treatment for alcohol use disorder varies, but each method is meant to help you stop drinking altogether.
This is called abstinence.
Treatment may occur in stages and can include the following:
-detoxification or withdrawal to rid your body of alcohol
-rehabilitation to learn new coping skills and behaviors
-counseling to address emotional problems that may cause you to drink
-support groups, including 12-step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)
-medical treatment for health problems associated with alcohol use disorder
-medications to help control addiction
Side effects of Alcohol / Alcoholism/ Alcohol Use Disorder
Alcohol use disorder can severely damage your liver.
It can also lead to other health complications, including:
-bleeding in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract
-damage to brain cells
-cancer in the GI tract
-high blood pressure
-pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas)
-changes in mental status, including Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome (a brain disease that causes symptoms such as confusion, vision changes, or memory loss)
You should also note that In men, heavy drinking affects fertility by: lowering testosterone levels, follicle stimulating hormone, and luteinizing hormone, and raising estrogen levels, which reduce sperm production.
It can also shrink the testes, which can cause impotence or infertility.
It can also change gonadotropin release which impacts sperm production.
Women who drink large amounts of alcohol (seven or more drinks a week or more than three drinks on one occasion) are more likely to have heavy or irregular periods and fertility problems.
Alcohol can also affect ovulation, which can make it difficult to conceive.
You can prevent alcohol use disorder by limiting your alcohol intake.
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, women shouldn’t drink more than one drink per day, and men shouldn’t drink more than two drinks per day.
See your doctor if you begin to engage in behaviors that are signs of alcohol use disorder or if you think that you may have a problem with alcohol.
Story written by CEO OF JOSEYS HEALTH CORNER