It’s a fallacy that just because alcohol is legal, it means that it is safe. Alcohol is in fact a dangerous drug and a toxin. People often don’t stop to think about the actual damage drinking, especially to excess, can cause to both the short and long term health. Alcohol causes damage and stress to just about every system and major body function there is. Ultimately, alcohol abuse can be fatal but long before it gets to this point it can still cause a hugely negative impact on health.
One of the first signs of alcohol addiction may be lessened interest in personal appearance or decreasing standards of personal hygiene. When someone is addicted to alcohol, they are less likely to look after themselves properly. This can also include neglecting their diet. Alcoholics may be more interested alcohol than paying attention to proper nutrition and may suffer from weight fluctuations. Alcohol is fine calories and up to 50% of heavy drinkers calorie intake each day be made up by the nutritionally empty calories from alcohol. People who are addicted to alcohol often suffer from malnutrition which weakens the body and makes it more susceptible to alcohol is damaging effects. Alcohol also inhibits effective absorption of nutrients from any food that is concerned to, increasing the likelihood of illnesses and degenerative health conditions.
Some problem drinkers will try and negate their alcohol consumption by exercising frequently. It’s a valiant effort, but may not be as effective as hoped. Alcohol reduces the benefits of exercise and can even make it more difficult to achieve desired fitness goals. Exercising is much less effective and efficient when someone has alcohol in their system. Alcohol reduces hydration levels and dehydrates the body meaning performance and concentration is reduced. Fat metabolises differently when alcohol is present and the body will make sure alcohol is burnt off before it even starts getting rid of the fat. Drinking also decreases motivation-it’s unlikely someone suffering with a hangover is going to want to go and do a lengthy session at the gym.
Alcohol can also have differing effects on men and women. A heavy drinking man will often find that he suffers from impotence as consuming alcohol makes getting and maintaining an erection difficult. Any temporary boost to confidence and the libido may be somewhat negated by the dreaded Brewers droop. Alcoholics testicles will also shrink and the quality of their sperm will decrease.
Women who are addicted to alcohol and drink too much may find that their periods stop or become irregular. This can make it difficult to conceive.If they do become pregnant the risk damaging their unborn child if they continue drinking. Alcohol crosses the placenta into the bloodstream of the foetus and can cause miscarriage and premature birth. Drinking in pregnancy can cause developmental abnormalities whilst the foetus is growing which can result in a whole host of health problems for the baby lasting long into later life.
Alcohol addiction is a disease which is difficult to beat, and technically it can be cured. Someone who suffers from alcohol addiction may not have a drink for years but may find they still have cravings every day. This shouldn’t be seen as a reason not to try and stop, however, the impact alcohol has on health is one that cannot be ignored.