Everyone reaches for the bottle of wine after a hard day’s work. Enjoying a single glass of red wine can have multiple health benefits. Additionally, some people like to enjoy a shot of high-quality bourbon or a bottle of beer – to the taste and experience.
However, when the bottle becomes a ‘helping hand’ for the individual to cope with the stress of everyday life – that’s the moment where things begin to fall into a downward spiral. This can have a far-reaching negative impact not only on the alcoholic’s health but also his social circle.
Here are some of the negative impacts of alcohol addiction.
Alcoholic liver disease
The continuous and prolonged consumption of large amounts of alcohol directly damages the liver tissue and disrupts its function. The liver is the cleaning station of the body – it breaks down the harmful toxins which are then released by the kidneys. Liver scarring and fat accumulation occur as the liver tries to regenerate the damaged tissue – leading to a condition called fatty liver.
Cirrhosis is another disease which is characterized by liver dysfunction, the buildup of fluids in the abdomen and jaundice. The damage caused by cirrhosis while reversible – requires medical attention. Unfortunately, sometimes the liver can be damaged beyond its ability to regenerate, requiring a partial or total liver transplantation.
Alcohol is a relaxant psychotropic, which impairs alertness and slows down reaction time. Every year, thousands of people die as a consequence of driving under the influence of alcohol. DIU is considered a reckless disregard for human life, so if you are planning on having more than one drink on a Saturday night – make sure to leave your car at home, or have a sober designated driver.
Depression and suicide
Many people who are suffering from depression turn to alcohol as an emergency relief mechanism. Alcohol is also a depressant which stimulates the brains reward system. This, in turn, disrupts the normal neurotransmitter balance in the brain i.e., lowers the overall serotonin levels. After the initial feelings of euphoria and inebriation – feelings of profound hopelessness or sadness can occur as a result of the lack of serotonin. This, in turn, can worsen the symptoms of depression, which can eventually lead to suicide.
Poor impulse control
Alcoholics can become very irritable when experiencing withdrawal symptoms. This can lead to situations of spousal or child abuse, as well as create a highly volatile and chaotic environment for children to grow up in.
Exposure to physical, emotional or sexual family abuse can be very damaging to the child. In order to cope with the chaos, they develop maladaptive coping mechanisms, which vastly increases their chances of also becoming an alcoholic. This is why many health experts claim that alcohol is a generational and far-reaching problem.
As the alcoholism worsens, the alcoholic’s behavior can become erratic, unreliable and outright dangerous. This is especially true in jobs where alertness is an essential part of the job, such as transport, construction, surgery and many others.
It can become increasingly difficult for the alcoholic to hold down a job, which directly impacts his livelihood, which in turn makes him consume even more alcohol in order to cope with stress.
Alcoholism is an insidious addiction that destroys millions of lives worldwide. It can be successfully treated with a combined approach of medications and psychotherapy – to help the addict regain his dignity and once again become a productive member of society.