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Alcohol Related Side Effects

Need for Alcohol TreatmentThere are so many different side effects associated with drinking alcohol...from  the sublime to the extreme. There are the physical manifestations from a one time use to a white-collar worker not able to get through the day with out surreptitiously imbibing. Teens and pre-teens in greater numbers are testing the drug invested waters with inebriation as their first gradient step. News stories about college dorms time and time again report initiating type "drinking games" with fatal results. It's rarely a surprise to hear that the reason behind a car accident was caused by a drunk driver. Lives are ruined not only for the drinker but for the drinker's friends and family.

It can be a confusing issue when you look at the millions of dollars that are spent every year on advertising and promoting alcohol, in fact, more dollars are spent on alcohol than on any other product. So it is understandably easy to forget that alcohol is a drug. In fact, alcohol is the most widely used and abused psychoactive drug in the world today. Drug abuse rehabs are the answer.

One of the difficulties in delineating the effects on people is that it affects everyone a little differently depending on size, sex, body build and their metabolism. Alcohol has a myriad of effects from the mild to the extreme. Absorbed directly into the bloodstream alcohol becomes a factor for several life-threatening diseases. Alcohol depresses the central nervous system and depending on the amount of alcohol consumed, side effects may run from having mildly impaired reflexes to black outs, comas and even death in extreme cases. Click here for alcohol rehabs info and resources if you have suffered from anything close to these symptoms.

Drunk driving problemsAlcohol has a multiphasic effect meaning its effects change over time. At first, the drinker generally feels relaxed and cheerful. General effects are a feeling of warmth and flushed skin. Continued use can produce blurred vision and coordination problems impairing reflexes making it extremely dangerous for someone who has had a just a few drinks to get behind the wheel of a car. Continued imbibing slurs speech, and can result in poor judgment (which explains why someone would even contemplate getting behind the wheel of a car) and a loss of inhibitions. Black outs and memory lapses can occur where the individual continues to be active but will have no memory after the black out begins. Cell membranes are highly permeable to alcohol so once in the bloodstream, alcohol can effect/diffuse into most every biological tissue of the body. Excessive consumption could lead to unconsciousness and possibly even alcohol poisoning leading to coma or death. Death can also occur through asphyxiation by vomit.

A hangover (technically called veisalgia), may occur following heavy consumption of alcohol with unpleasant physiological effects. The most commonly reported characteristics of a hangover include headaches, nausea, lethargy, sensitivity to light and noise, dysphoria and thirst.

 Long-termed excessive use of alcohol really can take its toll on the body. Physical health problems may include cirrhosis of the liver, pancreatitis, polyneuropathy, epilepsy, alcoholic dementia, an increased chance of cancer, heart disease, nutritional deficiencies, sexual dysfunction, and death from many sources.

One of the saddest of all side effects is when the mother continues to drink during pregnancy. When the mother drinks, the alcohol passes from her blood stream into the baby's. Pre-natal exposure to alcohol can cause a wide range of disorders known as fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) which can include mental retardation and birth defects. People born with FAS may have difficulties with learning, memory, attention span, vision, hearing or a combination of these. FAS is a permanent condition which affects the individual throughout his life. Of course it would be a rare case where the mother knowingly puts her unborn child at risk, but the woman who drinks and has unprotected sex may continue to drink not knowing she is pregnant for several weeks or more.

Another dangerous effect alcohol can have is when the individual combines alcohol with other drugs. Alcohol increases the effects of the drugs making them stronger and more dangerous. Many accidental deaths have occurred while combining alcohol with drugs, even legal drugs such as sleeping pills. One should never drive after drinking while using antihistamines, tranquilizers, sleeping pills, cold or cough medicines, pain killers and especially the long list of illegal drugs available on the streets.

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Asphyxiation: to cause to die or lose consciousness by impairing normal breathing, as by gas or other noxious agents; choke; suffocate; smother.

Cirrhosis: A chronic disease of the liver characterized by the replacement of normal tissue with fibrous tissue and the loss of functional liver cells. It can result from alcohol abuse, nutritional deprivation, or infection especially by the hepatitis virus.

Dementia: severe impairment or loss of intellectual capacity and personality integration, due to the loss of or damage to neurons in the brain.

Dysphoria: An emotional state characterized by anxiety, depression, or unease.

Epilepsy: Any of various neurological disorders characterized by sudden recurring attacks of motor, sensory, or psychic malfunction with or without loss of consciousness or convulsive seizures.

Inebriation: to make drunk; intoxicate.

Imbibing: to drink, esp. alcoholic beverages.

Multiphasic: having many phases, stages, aspects, or the like.

Pancreatitis: Inflammation of the pancreas.

Permeable: allowing fluids or gases to pass or diffuse through.

Polyneuropathy: a disease of nerves; especially : a noninflammatory degenerative disease of nerves usually caused by toxins.

Psychoactive: Affecting the mind or mental processes. Used of a drug:

Veisalgia: Hangover; the disagreeable physical aftereffects of drunkenness, such as a headache or stomach disorder, usually felt several hours after cessation of drinking.

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