"That's the problem with drinking, I thought, as I poured myself a drink. If something bad happens you drink in an attempt to forget; if something good happens you drink in order to celebrate; and if nothing happens you drink to make something happen . " â € • Charles Bukowski
This is how Charles Bukowski, a renowned writer and poet, summed up the thoughts of a person addicted to alcohol. The quote aptly highlights the plight of the people suffering from alcoholism. For, Bukowski was one of those who himself knew how alcohol takes the prime slot in an alcoholism patient's life. For them, they have no reason to drink.
Besides driving a wedge between loved ones, persistent drinking leads to increased dependence on alcohol and eventually addiction. Alcoholism is a chronic disease characterized by uncontrolled drinking patterns and preoccupation with alcohol. In fact, people become so obsessed with alcohol that other priority take a back seat. They witness the downfall in all aspects of life.
Apart from dependence and above consequences, unrestrained alcohol consumption leads to various health problems, such as:
- Cardiovascular diseases : Though there are studies claiming the antioxidant resveratrol in red wine is associated with lower risks of heart aging, heavy drinking weakens the heart muscle. As a result, the heart is unable to pump blood efficiently cardiomyopathy. Besides causing cardiomyopathy, heavy drinking leads to premature death due to heart failure.
- Cancer : Alcohol is also associated with the risk of developing cancer. With the identification of alcohol as a carcinogen by the National Toxicology Program of the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), it is clear that it increases the risk of cancer. Some of the commonest cancers associated with alcohol consumption are that of neck, esophagus, liver and breast.
- Diabetes : Excessive drinking increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Moreover, in case a person is already diabetic and is on medications for controlling the level of blood sugar, the consumption of alcohol can have an adverse reaction, such as a massive decline in the sugar level due to hypoglycemia. Since people with diabetes are on a strict diet, every morsel and calorie intake matters. Therefore, any form of alcohol is dangerous.
- Inflammation of pancreas : Alcohol is also detrimental for the functioning of pancreas. Prolonged and hazardous level of drinking can cause pancreatic inflammation or pancreatitis. Many a time, the damage is irreversible in nature.
- Increased waistline : Though an evening cocktail may sound harmless, it is loaded with calories and responsible for causing the same weight gain as caused by a large burger with fries on the side. Studies have shown that binge drinking is associated with an increased waistline. When one starts drinking heavily, he or she is more likely to end up with a massive paunch and a surefire hangover the morning after. The same applies for beer. It is a gross misconception to consider beer as light, as a can of light beer has an excessive amount of calories.
- Depression : One of the common misconceptions about alcohol is that it is great for beating the blues. Moreover, it is assumed that the problems get sorted automatically when one is high on alcohol. The seemingly tongue-tied person suddenly becomes talkative, which is seen as one of the wonders of alcohol. When one has alcohol in his or her system, the person feels invincible and on top of the world. Unfortunately, the crash follows soon after. One of the commonest symptoms that follows binge drinking is depression and guilt-trip. Being a depressant, one of the harshest side effects of chronic alcoholism or alcohol dependence is clinical depression.
Recovery from alcoholism
Alcohol addiction is a chronic disease that disengages the individual from life. Fortunately, with timely help one can easily overcome the condition. People suffering from alcoholism should not feel embarrassed to seek help or treatment and share their problems with loved ones. Rather than feeling low due to the stigma attached to alcoholism, individuals should accept the reality and take effective measures against the problem.