“Don’t drink and drive…” How many times have we heard this slogan or observed it on the bumpers of cars? Yet, drive into a petrol station with a convenience store and find out they sell beer and wine. Some towns and cities even have drive-in liquor stores, or stores that sell liquor that are open 24/7. Bars stay open until at least 2:00 a.m. So is this a mixed message? It would seem so…
In most societies, alcohol is easy to come by. In the United States, studies show that 75% of the population consumes some sort of alcohol on a regular basis; with one out of every ten people suffering from alcoholism.
The culprit is an ingredient called ethanol or (ethyl alcohol). This substance can also be found in many products from gasoline to hair sprays, spray paints, mouthwash, some pharmaceuticals and even soaps and shampoos. Some folks are able to handle the effects of ethyl on their systems. They are known as “social drinkers.” Others cannot process this ingredient either because of genetic reasons, psychological problems or other issues. These people are known to abuse alcohol, always chasing and looking for that high. They are known as alcoholics or chronic drinkers.
Women are more susceptible to the problems of alcohol than men are. This is attributed to the fact that women have less water in their body, and more fat then men; therefore the alcohol stays concentrated in the bloodstream longer rather than dissipating quickly. Women also appear to suffer from more psychological disorders while drinking than men do. Alcohol effects can include depression, mood swings, high anxiety and eating disorders. Although drinking is usually how these women try and manage their mental problems, once the high goes away, if the person has not sought help, the problem still exists. It is a vicious cycle of abuse to your own body and mind.
Some people can hold their liquor. Others are known as “happy drunks” and are usually invited to all the parties simply because they keep people laughing when they are high. But others, become combative, lose focus and coordination, and partake in compulsive behavior not remembering a thing the next morning when they have slept off the drunk.
Medical science cannot explain why some people get hooked and others don’t. There are many self-help books and support groups available, not even for the alcoholic, but also for the alcoholic’s friends, spouse, family members or loved ones.
Alcohol abuse is a poison to the body. Used frequently, it can rob the body of various nutrients. Alcohol abuse can eat away at brain cells, cause seizures, and cuts off oxygen to the brain. Abusing alcohol can impair vision, and slowly eat away at the internal organs. Liver damage is common in alcoholics, for although a liver that is damaged can usually be repaired and the person live a fairly long life after surgery. Once alcohol continually invades the liver, this regeneration is no longer possible. Heavy drinkers can get cancer of the mouth and throat, gastritis, ulcers, hepatitis, cirrhosis, pancreatic cancer, anemia, and skin problems. The alcohol dissolves the fats stored in your nerve cells and puts some of your brain cells into a holding pattern where they just shut down.
Fetal alcohol syndrome
Alcohol abuse while pregnant is a dangerous undertaking, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome abounds because some women do not want to take the responsibility of stopping while pregnant. And Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is a life-long problem for the child born of an alcoholic mom. There are growth deficiencies, facial disfiguration, birth defects and central nervous system disorders. These kids can’t sleep off the drunk, it follows them through their lifetime. FASD is physically characterized by the high, hairless forehead. Even one drink when pregnant is dangerous to the fetus.
There is help out there. One doesn’t need to keep the secret quiet any longer. Support groups; Alcoholics Anonymous, Al Anon, Rebos (sober spelled backwards) are just some of the main focus groups. You can enroll yourself into rehab, talk to your doctor, and ask about antibuse and other drugs that stop the craving for alcohol.
Unlike some cancers, alcohol abuse is treatable. People can and do quit drinking easier that smokers can quit smoking. It is mind over matter, and when it comes to alcohol, your mind matters!
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