Alcohol: All Pain, No Gain
Today’s society is filled with alcohol: it’s shown in magazines, comic books, movies, popular television shows, even novels. The truly spectacular thing, however, is how rarely it is shown in its true light. Alcohol can provide a buzz and act as a social lubricant, how could it be a bad thing? The fact of the matter is that alcohol can not only cause a variety of adverse physical problems but it can also severely impact our minds if it is abused. Alcohol abuse can also affect the people around you, like your family and friends. You may say or do things you wouldn’t otherwise say or do when sober, causing pain and sorrow to those you love. Is the buzz really worth it?
Let’s take a brief look at some of the ways alcoholism can damage your body. For one there’s liver disease, vomiting, mental confusion, you can develop severe seizures and hypothermia from dehydration. The medical conditions that can be caused by alcohol abuse are almost endless and can strike anywhere from our brain to our pancreas. Cancer is even a possible outcome over alcohol addiction, ranging from throat cancer to liver cancer, and nobody wants that.
The thing about alcohol is that, in moderation, is not inherently bad. Doctor’s sometimes even recommend a glass of red wine a night for your heart in middle aged adults, but that’s where it ends: one glass, not a bottle.
Alcohol abuse can lead to a great many things and they don’t always involve your own health, physical or mental. Sometimes it involves your family and friends, as stated earlier. The words “drunk” and “belligerent” are not strangers to one another, often being paired up to describe someone being loud, obnoxious, disruptive and/or violent. Simply put, alcohol abuse can lead to you physically harm someone you didn’t mean to hurt.
Is It A Gateway Drug?
What is a “Gateway Drug?” This is a drug or a substance that “opens the gate,” so to speak, to using other substances such as marijuana, tobacco, cocaine, heroin, or any number of other dangerous narcotics. A gateway drug basically opens up the individual to the mindset of using other substances in order to feel different sensations or different stimulations. Many have speculated that marijuana or tobacco are the gateway drugs that lead teens into stronger, more dangerous drugs, taking into consideration marijuana’s current legal standing.
According to a study published by the Journal of School Health, the theory that the gateway drug is marijuana is not entirely true and that the more prominent gateway drug is alcohol. The original purpose of this study was to find out which drug (tobacco, marijuana, or alcohol) was the drug that tended to lead to additional substance abuse, using a national representative sample of High school seniors. The results of this study showed that students who used and/or abused alcohol tended to be more susceptible to using licit and illicit drugs.
What’s The Worst That Could Happen?
Delirium Tremens is probably the strongest, most damaging side-effect of alcohol abuse. There is a stage where alcohol addiction is so intense that withdrawal will incur Delirium Tremens, usually occurring three days into withdrawal and will last for two or three days. You may see or hear things others don’t, and that’s the light side. The physical effects involve shaking, shivering, sweating with a very high temperature or seizure that could even cause death. This withdrawal symptom is categorized as a medical emergency and should be treated as soon as absolute possible.
There are several signs you can look for if you know someone going through withdrawal from alcohol abuse. Nightmares are one, disorientation and global confusion can also occur, there’s also auditory and tactile hallucinations (feeling an imaginary object). Fever, high blood pressure and hyperactivity are also signs of Delirium Tremens, and if you know anybody developing these symptoms you should consult a medical physician immediately. These signs differ from the usual symptoms associated with alcohol withdrawal in that they include signs of mental deterioration and an altered mental status (hallucinations, confusion, delusions, severe agitation.)
The cause of DT is mainly due to a long period of heavy alcohol abuse being stopped cold-turkey. It can also be caused by an infection, head injury or illness in those who have a history of alcohol abuse. In very rare cases it can be caused when alcohol abuse is present, but the body isn’t receiving the same level of alcohol intake as it is used to. This is a rare case, but it does prove that these horrific side-effects can occur under circumstances other than just withdrawal.
It is imperative to understand just how important this information is and how fatal DT can be. Besides the psychological issues it can cause, the physical problems (some of which were listed above) can be life-altering, if not life ending.
If you or a loved one are suffering from alcohol abuse, we hope you realize just how dangerous your addiction can be. There is an abundance of help available out there in many different variations. Alcoholics Anonymous groups are all over the country and the only requirement to join is the desire to quit drinking. These groups employ the 12-Step programs that have proven to be successful for almost 80 years, and they can help you too. There are also options for alcohol detox and rehab treatment centers that are covered by most insurance companies, now that addiction and substance abuse are considered diseases and mental illnesses. Alcoholism is a horrible thing that can destroy you and those around you, and nobody deserves that kind of thing overwhelming their entire life. It’s time to turn your life around and make a change. Call today (520) 288-8484.