Damage to Body from Perpetuated Alcohol Abuse
As a contributing factor in more than 200 different health conditions involving injury or disease, WHO reports that alcohol accounts for over 5 percent of the global burden of disease. Alcohol can interfere with the body’,s natural ability to fight off infections and the immune system, potentially opening the door for health problems. The medical journal BMC Public Health warns of an increased risk for contracting tuberculosis for those who drink heavily or are dependent on alcohol, for example. HIV/AIDS may progress more quickly in someone who consumes alcohol as well. Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) may be more rapidly spread among individuals who binge drink, as drinking alcohol can lower a person’,s inhibitions and potentially increase sexual contact without regard to adverse consequences. The journal Alcoholism Clinical &, Experimental Research found that women studied who engaged in binge drinking quadrupled their risk for contracting the STD gonorrhea when compared to their peers who abstained from alcohol consumption. Sexual assault and unwanted pregnancy may also be side effects of alcohol abuse. Alcoholism symptoms physical effects.
Episodes of alcohol abuse can also have many additional negative health ramifications, including:
Alcohol Dependence and an Alcohol Use Disorder
Alcohol temporarily alters the chemistry in the brain, elevating levels of dopamine (which increases pleasure) and GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid, which has sedative effects). In so doing, alcohol interferes with emotional regulation, impulse control, decision-making processes, problem-solving abilities, memory, and learning functions. The more often one drinks alcohol, the higher the likelihood that brain circuitry is negatively impacted.
Regular alcohol consumption at certain levels can cause a person to become tolerant to the substance. When tolerance occurs, the person must then drink more each time in order to keep feeling alcohol’,s effects the way they may want to. Increasing consumption regularly can heighten the risk factors and potential negative side effects of alcohol and also possibly lead to alcohol dependence. When the brain becomes accustomed to the changes made by alcohol, a physical dependence may form, making it difficult to stop drinking as intense, and even potentially dangerous, withdrawal symptoms may set in when alcohol wears off.
Alcohol dependence is influenced by several factors, including biology, genetics, environmental aspects, high levels of stress or trauma, and any co-occurring mental or medical issues. If someone starts drinking alcohol before their brain is fully developed, this may make it more likely that they will develop problems with alcohol or drug addiction later in life as well.
Alcoholism symptoms physical effects
Alcohol is the most commonly abused substance by young adults and teenagers, NCADD reports. It can lead to future problems with drugs or alcohol, and also further affect judgment and impulsivity, lead to bigger risk-taking behaviors, and possibly damage the developing brain, causing memory and learning issues and difficulties regulating moods. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) publishes the Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey, which indicates that as of 2015, over a quarter of all 8th graders had drank alcohol, close to half of all 10th graders had, and nearly 65 percent of all 12th graders had consumed alcohol at some time in their lifetime.
An alcohol use disorder is defined as the inability to control one’s use of alcohol despite attempts to do so and with full knowledge of its negative effects. According to NSDUH in 2014, approximately 17 million Americans (over age 11) battled an alcohol use disorder. Alcohol use disorders can lead to a perpetuation of alcohol abuse and therefore compound all of alcohol’,s potentially negative side effects that may be physical, emotional, behavioral, social, interpersonal, financial, or legal.
NIAAA publishes that men who drink fewer than four drinks per day (or 14 drinks in a week) or women who drink fewer than three drinks a day (or seven drinks in a week) are at a low risk for developing an alcohol use disorder.
Alcohol Withdrawal and Delirium Tremens
Alcohol withdrawal affects at least half of those who battle an alcohol use disorder (AUD) and attempt to stop drinking. Symptoms may range from mild to severe, the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) publishes. The New York Times breaks alcohol withdrawal down into the following timeline.
This is the most severe form of alcohol withdrawal. NEJM estimates DTs occurs in about 3-5 percent of all alcohol withdrawal cases. The New York Times publishes DTs is fatal about 15 percent of the time. DTs constitutes a medical emergency, and immediate medical attention is needed.
Alcohol withdrawal is uncomfortable, unpredictable, and potentially life-threatening, as the brain struggles to restore balance after functions of the central nervous system have been used to being suppressed by alcohol. These functions, like heart rate, body temperature, respiration, and blood pressure, may become hyperactive with the removal of alcohol. In a similar fashion, the brain’,s chemical messengers will also take time to return to previous levels after alcohol is removed. Low levels of dopamine can significantly impact moods for up to several weeks.
In general, the majority of alcohol withdrawal symptoms typically peak within 1-3 days, according to the National Library of Medicine (NLM). Alcohol is one of those substances that should not be stopped suddenly and without medical intervention once a dependence is present. Medical personnel should be on hand to monitor vital signs and provide medical assistance when needed. Medical detox, which uses both supportive care and pharmacological methods, is the safest option for withdrawal from alcohol.