Alcohol Statistics in the United States

Alcoholism is an overwhelmingly present issue.  It is a very powerful and damaging disease that is very capable of taking your health for a horrific downfall if left untreated.

People who abuse alcohol, whether they are a weekend binge drinker or someone in the middle of the disease of alcoholism there are of course short- and long-term effects on the body. The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism or NIH states that “Alcohol interferes with the brain’s communication pathways, and can affect the way the brain looks and works. These disruptions can change mood and behavior, and make it harder to think clearly and move with coordination.” These are obviously the immediate effects.

Some short term effects include:

  • Slurred speech
  • Drowsiness
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Upset stomach
  • Headaches
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Distorted vision and hearing
  • Impaired judgment
  • Decreased perception and coordination
  • Unconsciousness
  • Anemia (loss of red blood cells)
  • Coma
  • Blackouts

What one may not realize is that the weekend binge drinking can too often turn into the long-term and then you have reached an entirely new obstacle.

So what happens when you drink alcohol? Sure, it all seems like a good time…until you over-drink, become ill and swear off drinking all together!

First of all it is absorbed into your stomach, entering the bloodstream and working its way into your tissues.  Doesn’t sound too appealing.  Once absorbed, your body starts to feel the effects. Depending on how much you consume, as well as your body type, etc., the effects will vary.

However, one thing is certain, continuing to consume alcohol will bring upon you uninhibited feelings tied with possible dizziness, slurred speech, possible aggressiveness, emotional ups and downs and a sense of false well-being. Then you can look forward to the next day…the infamous hangover.  A typical hangover which results from too much alcohol will cause headache, nausea and fatigue.

While many people consume alcohol and willingly endure these short-term effects without having any sort of trouble or difficulty stopping, some aren’t willing to stop and become hooked. Alcoholism is tied with long-term effects of the behavior. While stopping all consumption of alcohol seems a reasonable fix, someone suffering from alcoholism cannot do that without suffering painful withdrawal and damaging side effects.

Long term effects of binge drinking and alcoholism can most certainly be life threatening. According to the CDC, 88,000 lives are lost per year in the United States due to excessive use of alcohol. Drinking heavily also reduces the life expectancy by almost 30 years! This stuff is no joke.

Some long term effects are:

  • Unintentional injuries such as car crash, falls, burns, drowning
  • Intentional injuries such as firearm injuries, sexual assault, domestic violence
  • Increased on-the-job injuries and loss of productivity
  • Increased family problems, broken relationships
  • Alcohol poisoning
  • High blood pressure, stroke, and other heart-related diseases
  • Liver disease
  • Nerve damage
  • Sexual problems
  • Permanent damage to the brain
  • Vitamin B1 deficiency, which can lead to a disorder characterized by amnesia, apathy and disorientation
  • Ulcers
  • Gastritis
  • Malnutrition
  • Cancer of the mouth and throat

There is a thin line between drinking alcohol in moderation and having it consume your life. Alcoholism often begins with casual and social drinking and then turns into a long-term lifestyle. No matter what your decision, to drink or not, the best thing you can do is be as aware as possible of all the dangers of alcohol running rampant.

 

Short and long term effects listed from www.drugfreeworld.org

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