Facts About Alcohol Abuse
Essential facts about alcohol abuse! Alcohol, the most commonly used addictive substance, can cause irreversible harm if you drink in excess.
Whether your drink of choice is beer, wine, or hard liquor like bourbon, tequila, or gin, what you don’t know about alcohol could hurt you.
Of course, most people who drink don’t binge drink, don’t have physical problems related to alcohol abuse or alcoholism. And will never develop a problem with alcohol.
But before you take your next drink, consider these facts about alcohol, alcohol abuse, and your health:
1. Alcohol changes your brain.
Your brain physically adapts to your environment, so you perform better at whatever you’re doing. But when you consistently drink alcohol, your brain may interpret this as a new environment. And change nerve cells and brain connections to help you function better with alcohol in your system.
2. Binge drinking can be fatal.
Drinking excessively within a short amount of time, also known as binge drinking, is common among people ages 18 to 22. Binge drinking is about four drinks for women and five drinks for men within a two-hour period.
Alcohol depresses breathing, and imbibing too much can actually cause you to simply stop breathing. Alcohol is a sedative, and virtually all sedatives can do this at high enough doses.
Binge drinking also causes other dangerous health issues, including vomiting (which puts you at risk for choking), seizures, dehydration, and unconsciousness. Even if you’re unconscious, your stomach and intestines can continue to release alcohol into your bloodstream, raising your blood alcohol levels even higher.
3. Alcohol withdrawal can be dangerous.
When you’re dependent on alcohol and stop drinking, some nerve cells will become so agitated that you could develop a condition called delirium tremens, or DTs, which in its severe form can lead to uncontrollable seizures. DTs are a medical emergency and require hospitalization.
4. Alcoholism is partially genetic.
The strongest risk factor for developing an alcohol-use disorder is family history. Part of this is due to the genes you get from your parents, and part is the environment in which your parents raised you: nature versus nurture. Many experts put the balance at about 50-50.
5. Alcohol is a leading cause of death.
Excessive drinking also increases your risk for other diseases, including many types of cancer, such as mouth, colon, rectal, stomach, and esophagus cancers.
6. Ethyl alcohol is the intoxicating ingredient in alcoholic drinks.
Ethyl alcohol, or ethanol, is produced from fermented yeast, sugars, and starches from a variety of grains, fruits, vegetables, and plants. It is fundamentally the same in all types of alcoholic beverages.
And when you drink in moderation, your liver can comfortably metabolize alcohol from any of these beverages. But heavy drinking overwhelms your liver, and excess alcohol circulates through every organ in your body, including your brain. This is what makes you drunk.