Alcohol abuse is a serious problem that has negative effects on people other than the abuser. In many cases, with any type of abuse, the abuser tends to think he is the only one affected. He does not think about the problems that his abuse is having on the family, the children, the community, or at work. Even if he understands alcohol is causing potential life damaging problems, breaking away from alcohol once hooked can seem too hard to handle.
What is Alcohol Abuse?
According to About Alcohol Abuse, “alcohol abuse is a pattern of drinking that can result in physical injury; ongoing alcohol-related relationship problems; the failure to attend to important responsibilities at school, work, or home;” and ongoing problems with driving while intoxicated (DWI) or driving under the influence (DUI) during a year long period.
Signs of alcohol abuse or addiction include:
- blaming others for personal problems
- using excuses as to why alcohol is needed
- unable to go a few hours without a drink
- emotional when no alcohol is available
- ignoring friends, family, work, or school
- constantly spending money on alcohol
- fighting with loved ones over alcohol-related issues
- constant alcohol-related incidents (DUI, DWI, other types of physical abuse, blackouts)
- binge drinking
- experience of shaking or twitching if not drinking (body going through withdrawal)
These are problems alcohol abusers often experience. However, alcohol abuse is not just a long term problem, it can be a potentially fatal short term problem as well.
Binge drinking is when a person takes in a large amount of alcohol in a short amount of time. Teenagers and college students often become victim to binge drinking, not because they necessarily intend to, but because they do not completely understand how drunk they really are or how much alcohol is too much.
Statistics have shown that underage drinking is a large problem in the United States, and parents have a huge influence as to whether or not a child drinks. This does not mean the parent influences them or buys alcohol for them, it simply means parents may make drinking look or sound desirable while not meaning to encourage it. However, some parents may discourage it and a child may still do it.
Parents need to make it clear to children, as do many adults, that drinking alcohol can be fatal. Since binge drinking is a problem, talking about the effects of binge drinking is important. Young people need to be cautious, and understand that drinking alcohol (especially binge drinking) can cause physical, social, and mental problems, and may even cause death.
Binge drinking also has the potential to cause embarrassing moments, erratic behavior, blackouts, physical abuse, and accidents which could have been avoided. It can also lead to long term alcohol abuse, and to long term health problems.
Alcohol Abuse Damages the Body
Long term alcohol abuse can harm the body. Drinking over a period of time can cause damage to organs in the body, leading to transplants or death. The most common health problem related to alcohol is liver disease.
One form of liver disease caused by drinking is also known as, alcoholic hepatitis. The symptoms include discoloration of the skin, eyeballs, and urine, fever, abdominal pain. Excessive drinking will cause scarring to the liver (cirrhosis of the liver), and can lead to a liver transplant or death. Even so, if the drinking is stopped, it can be helped through medication or even reversed just by quitting drinking.
Pancreatitis is another problem that can occur from long-term alcohol abuse. The pancreas helps regulate blood sugar levels in the body, and is needed for proper digestion. There is really nothing that can be done for pancreatitis. The symptoms are extreme weight loss and abdominal pain. The ultimate result is death.
Heart disease and different types of cancer can be a result of alcohol abuse. Other problems related with long-term abuse include “irritated stomach lining and bleeding from stomach ulcers, nerve damage, loss of brain cells, epilepsy, vitamin deficiency, obesity, muscle disease, skin problems, infertility, and sexual problems.”
Overall, the bodily harm alcohol can do is not worth the risk. Medical attention is needed immediately if any of these problems occur, and the most important treatment is to stop drinking. With help from a doctor, from family, friends, co-workers, and other sources, it can be done. If this is not enough to cause one to stop abusing alcohol, perhaps taking a good look at relationships and social problems will help.
Alcohol Abuse Leads to Relationship and Social Problems
Alcohol abusers often drink to forget problems, or to avoid problems. Drinking is a way to escape, but in reality drinking causes more problems personally and really provides no escape from life. Every aspect of the drinker’s life is affected by alcohol, and her family life and social life will suffer at some point due to the unnecessary abuse.
Alcohol abuse, in worst case scenarios, results in physical violence. Alcoholics are not mentally aware of their surroundings when they drink. They drink in excess and the alcohol may cause them to hallucinate or act out emotions which may result in harm to others or themselves. However, some abusers may act out violently due to not being able to drink, from the problems the excessive drinking has caused, or use drinking as a cover up for their violent behavior.
In many cases, those who are on the receiving end of an alcoholic’s abuse turn to alcohol, causing them to become an alcoholic as well. Even if their spouse or partner is not an alcoholic, abused women tend to turn to alcohol or other substances to deal with the emotional and physical turmoil.
Children of alcoholics suffer greatly, and despite seeing what can happen, may turn to alcohol as a way to forget the problems. Children of alcoholics have to grow up fast, not enjoy what their friends enjoy, not get items they need, and live with the secret (or in some places a publicly known fact) of having alcoholic parents or family members.
Alcoholism can also cause the alcoholic to become a social outcast. Alcoholics often exclude themselves or are excluded (due to repeated alcohol incidents) because of excessive drinking. This can be devastating. It is bad enough to be an alcoholic, but to become a social outcast or feel like no one will pay attention is very hard.
Alcohol Abuse Help
For anyone who has a problem with alcohol, or knows somebody with a problem needs to seek help immediately. Stop drinking as soon as possible, and go to a doctor, get help from a family member or friend (who can help or find help effectively), or locate substance abuse and treatment facilities online through The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA),” and start living a happier healthier life today.