Researches show that alcohol is responsible for many deaths and disabilities globally as smoking or high blood pressure are. The studies further attribute about 60 different diseases with alcohol consumption. In similar development it was found that 4% of the global burden of disease is linked to alcohol, compared with 4.1% to tobacco and 4.4% to high blood pressure (Mongan et al, 87-120).
Some of the major health problems associated with alcohol include; Acute Accidents and injury, Esophagitis, Gastritis, Peptic ulcer, Pancreatitis, Gastrointestinal bleeding, Aspiration pneumonia, Cardiac arrhythmia, Cerebro-vascular accident (stroke), Neurapraxia, Hypoglycemia, Mallory-Weiss syndrome, Cardiomyopathy, Cerebro-vascular accidents (stroke), Coronary heart disease, Peripheral neuropathy, Osteoporosis, Brain damage: Dementia, Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, cerebellar degeneration among many others (Mongan et al, 87-120).
Harm related to alcohol and alcohol abuse is immense, varying from death, diseases, accidents and enhanced crime rate. Alcohol harm problems can generally be classified into two categories, short term harm due to intoxication (drinking to get drunk) and long term harm caused by alcohol dependence. Severe intoxication as a result of heavy drinking (Binge drinking) presents health problems to the drinker. Heavy drinkers are likely to develop toxic damage to the small bowel, which in turn may cause diarrhea, depression of the central nervous system, hangovers, headaches as well as stomach complications leading to nausea, shakiness in addition to vomiting. The fact that intoxication impairs thinking capacity puts not only the drinkers themselves at harm but also others. Alcohol causes physical injury as a result of falls, risky behavior or assault. This renders alcohol consumption to be closely associated with a number of road accidents, fights as well as violence, coercive sexual indulgences in addition to insecure sex (Bradford, 80-83).
Excessive and serious drinking culminates into alcohol poisoning in most cases (Alison Go, 7). This happens upon the alcohol level in the blood stream rising at a dangerous point. With high blood alcohol levels a person risks fit, loss of conscious and subsequent slip into coma (Alison Go, 7). In some occasions alcohol can make an intoxicated person to die due to;- The depressing effect of alcohol slows down the mental as well as nervous system, rendering them incapable of maintaining breathing and heart functioning. A drinker will automatically die if he stops breathing or his heart stops due to the impairment caused by high blood alcohol level. The drinker can also die upon being choked by his own vomit while unconscious.
Death is also prevalent among a drinker who happens to combine alcohol with other medication. The alcohol reacts with the other drug the drinker might have taken, whether prescribed, over the counter or illicit drug. These deaths can occur at a relatively low blood alcohol level causing them to be unpredictable.
On the other hand, alcohol can cause death to the drinker upon being exposed to relatively warm temperatures. This is due to the fact that alcohol interferes with the body’s thermostat as well as a person’s perception (cold and hot) capability. Thus, a person who is under the influence can feel cold while in fact his/her body temperature is increasing drastically (Bradford, 80-83).
Alcohol has psychologically as well as socially related harm not only to the drinker but also to others. Long time excessive drinking is related to a number of psychological as well as psychiatric problems (Mongan et al, 87-120). However, it is difficult to establish which one took place first. Alcohol use and depression are closely linked. Alcohol stimulates biological changes in the brain similar to those found with depressive mood disorders. However, the depression in most cases is secondary with the drinking problem being primary. In such circumstances it is important to persuade the person to refrain from alcohol before embarking on any psychological therapy.
In some other cases alcohol misuse might be as a result of an underlying depressive illness as is the case with most women with family history of effective disorders. Alcohol misuse has been known to account for about for about 15% – 25% of all suicides in England and Wales. Suicide therefore becomes a crucial risk in patients with severe alcohol troubles (Bradford, 80-83). To some individuals’ alcohol is used as an alternative of coping with social and other anxieties thus culminating into harmful drinking. Many symptoms related to the problem of drinking are seen to vanish upon individual stopping alcohol consumption.
Alcohol drinking is also associated with or hastens psychotic illness such as schizophrenia. In such instances diagnosis becomes complicated, a factor that requires cautious collaboration pitying specialized services. Alcohol consumption is also known or linked with episodes of amnesia. Alcoholic amnesia is a common experience among the young men, with young women accounting for 10% during heavy drinking (Bradford, 80-83).
Alcohol is also associated with morbid jealousy, a delusional belief of unfaithfulness or infidelity. Armed with incriminating evidence, the outcome normally involves physical harm and sometimes it is even tragic (Alison Go, 7).
Alcohol is also known to cause problems in the social spheres or setting. This is mainly caused by intoxication or drinking in unsuitable settings. Other problems are due to effects of chronic alcohol use culminating into social breakdown. Alcohol affects interpersonal relations in form of domestic conflict as well as aggression. Families with alcohol problems are more likely to report child abuse and neglect, and sexual assault. Effects of alcohol on a family can serve as pointer to seriousness of the problem (Mongan et al, 87-120).
Alcohol does not spare the working environment, as it causes problems in the form of inefficiency, impaired work performance, accidents as well as absenteeism. Alcohol abuse is responsible for certain criminal adventures while some of the offenses are by their nature alcohol related. These include drunk and disorderly as well as driving under the influence of alcohol. Alcohol is greatly known to impact on the commission of certain offenses such as criminal damage, theft, burglary and sexual offenses among many others. Chronic alcoholics drift into vagrancy and homelessness upon losing social and financial support (Mongan et al, 87-120).
Bradford D, O Farrell A, Howell F. (2006) Blood alcohol levels in persons who dies from accidents and suicide. Irish Medical Journal, 99, 80-83.
Mongan D, Reynolds S, Fanagan S & Long J. (2007). Health-related consequences of problem alcohol use. Overview 6. Dublin: Health Research Board. P. 87-120.
Alison Go – Delaware Freshman Dies After Party; Police believe 18-year-old died of alcohol poisoning after fraternity party. The Paper Trail – November 10, 2008