This article is intended to be used by the general public for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be used as a reference for educational research papers, nor is it a reflection of the services available through our Rehab Program in Thailand.
It is common knowledge that drinking alcohol to excess does you a lot more harm than good. This is whether you drink on a constant basis, drink far too much when you do drink, or are prone to regular binge drinking sessions.
We will leave aside the social effects of excessive drinking and concentrate on some of the health consequences those with a dependence on alcohol bring upon themselves.
This will include cirrhosis of the liver which will be a familiar term to many, and lesser known problems such as cardiovascular problems and cancer.
This condition is caused when your red blood cell count is abnormally low. Your blood, spleen, bone marrow and liver make up the hematologic system of your body.
Excessive drinking can cause this low count leaving symptoms that include regular feelings of fatigue, a shortness of breath and feelings of light-headedness. It can also be a sign that serious illness is coming your way.
For starters many heavy drinkers smoke which obviously increases the risk of cancer. What is not so well known is that heavy and sustained alcohol consumption can speed the development of cancer to the mouth, throat, larynx, liver, breast and colorectal regions of the body.
The reason for this is that your body converts alcohol into acetaldehyde which is a known carcinogen; the substance that causes cancer.
Those dependent upon alcohol are increasing their chances of heart attacks, weakening of the heart muscle and heart-rhythm problems. You also need to add to this an increased risk of suffering from a stroke.
This is because drinking to excess raises the fat levels in your blood. This can lead to high blood pressure which is the cause of many cardiovascular diseases.
This is the potentially fatal condition most associate with alcoholics. Alcohol causes the liver to become inflamed and those who drink to excess are increasing the chances of scarring the liver tissue. If this scarring is severe enough it will stop the liver from functioning.
Some factors to bear in mind: Not all heavy drinkers are susceptible to cirrhosis, it is thought to run in families, and women suffer from this condition more often than men.
Constant drinking can weaken your immune system. This increases the chances of infections. Those with chronic drink problems are more likely to suffer from diseases such as pneumonia and tuberculosis.
Sexually transmitted diseases are also something to bear in mind. This is not because of the alcohol itself, but the effects it has on those under the influence.
Many who drink heavily have an ‘anything goes’ attitude. This mindset leaves them far more likely to indulge in risky, unprotected sex.
Heavy drinkers, those who regularly binge drink, and those withdrawing from alcohol can suffer from an acute and prolonged epileptic seizure that is life-threatening.
It is also known that excessive alcohol can trigger epilepsy in those who did not have the condition before they started drinking.
Increased psychological problems:
The above serious physical problems are by no means exhaustive, but hopefully it explains the damage you are doing to your body by drinking excessively. We will finish off with 2 psychological problems that heavy drinkers are opening themselves up to.
Because heavy drinking affects various areas of the brain it can lead to memory loss and dementia symptoms. Known as alcohol dementia it results in difficulty with decision making and those affected often suffer with issues of poor judgement.
Those who drink heavily for a long period of their lives may also suffer from short-term memory loss. In addition to this many who rely on alcohol suffer from nutritional deficiencies due to a poor diet. This can also cause symptoms which are the onset of dementia.
This is a common symptom many associate with heavy drinking. Many of us presume that people turn to drink when they are depressed. While this may well be the case it is important to understand that those who are dependent upon alcohol are increasing their chances of developing depression.
Don’t soak yourself in alcohol:
Life offers enough potential health problems without you creating your own. If you do drink, moderation is the name of the game.
Those who find themselves slipping into a more regular and heavier drinking regimen must seek help and support as early as possible. The longer you leave things the deeper your dependence upon alcohol will become, and as seen above, the greater your chances of suffering serious health problems become.