5 Signs Alcohol is Killing You
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Notice the Dangers of Alcohol Before it’s Too Late
Too much of anything, no matter how much pleasure it brings, can lead to harmful effects. Take anything you might enjoy—eating chocolate, shopping, playing blackjack, even working. Any of these could cause harm if it is overdone.
The adverse effects of overindulgence are well known. This can cause obesity, bankruptcy, harm to the body, mental distress, and more. The same can be said about alcohol. An occasional drink is not a problem. But if drinking takes on a major role in your life, the effects can be very harmful.
Alcoholism is a widespread problem in the U.S., with 88,000 deaths each year attributed to alcohol. Ethyl alcohol is a highly toxic substance that can cause extreme damage to someone’s life. A drinking problem can harm you both physically and psychologically. Not only yourself but others if they are hurt or killed due to drunk driving.
For many, the harmful effects of heavy drinking may not be clear for some time. But at some point, it will become obvious that alcohol is killing you.
Heavy Alcohol Consumption Defined
The CDC has set guidelines that help people to be aware of what constitutes heavy drinking. According to the CDC:
- Excessive drinking: 8 or more drinks in a week for women; 15 or more drinks in a week for men.
- Binge drinking: 4 or more drinks in a single session for women; 5 or more drinks in a single session for men.
- A “drink”: A 12-ounce beer, 8 ounces of malt liquor, 5 ounces or wine, or 1½ ounces of liquor.
5 Signs Alcohol is Killing You
It is mind boggling just how hard alcohol is on the brain and body. The signs alcohol is killing you may creep up slowly, with a symptom here or there. Or it may hit you all at once with a liver that has ceased to function, as in late stage alcoholism. Here are 5 signs that alcohol is killing you:
- Cardiac symptoms. Long-term heavy drinking takes a toll on the heart. A sign of a serious cardiac issue that could result in death is a heart arrhythmia, another term for abnormal heart rate. Alcohol can also cause alcoholic cardiomyopathy. This is when the heart muscle weakens and cannot pump enough blood to the organs. This can result in organ damage or heart failure.
- Cognitive problems. Excessive alcohol use can lead to brain damage, which shows up first when cognitive function is reduced. Memory problems are another sign. Thiamine (B1) deficiency often results, leading to brain damage.
- Gastrointestinal problems. Heavy drinking can cause excess stomach acid, such as acid reflux which can lead to gastritis. It also causes problems in the stomach lining, such as ulcers and bleeding. The loss of blood can lead to anemia, causing extreme fatigue.
- Liver disease. Alcohol is highly toxic to the liver. The problem with liver disease is that the signs of it may not be noticed until later stages. This happens with cirrhosis. It often begins as fatty liver disease. It is a fatal condition unless a liver transplant succeeds.
- Cancer symptoms. Excess drinking causes an increased risk of many types of cancer, most of them deadly. Types of cancer linked with heavy drinking include oral, throat, esophageal, colon, rectal, pancreatic, liver, and breast cancer.
In addition to these health effects of alcoholism, other very bad consequences can be caused in other ways. These include legal problems due to DUIs, loss of a job, divorce, custody battles, and money problems.
Detox and Withdrawal
The first step in recovery will involve detox. Withdrawal symptoms range from mild to severe depending on factors like drinking history, age, health, and mental health.
The detox timeline is fairly consistent. What is not so easy to predict is acute alcohol withdrawal syndrome or the DTs. This health emergency emerges on days 3-4 in about 5% of those going through detox. But of those who it affects, there is a 15% death rate.
Stage 1: Symptoms commence 6-12 hours after the last drink. This early phase lasts only one day and includes such symptoms as hand tremors, headaches, and nausea.
Stage 2: Symptoms peak during this phase, which begins on day 2 and usually lasts two days. This stage includes such symptoms as vomiting, sweating, confusion, fever, irritability, mood swings, heart palpitations, anxiety, and insomnia. Those with a more severe alcohol problems may also have hallucinations, mental confusion, and high blood pressure. There is also a risk of seizure.
Stage 3: The final two days will see the symptoms subside as the brain becomes stable. While the intense symptoms start to decrease, some still feel the psychological effects. These include depression, anxiety, irritability, and insomnia.
Comprehensive Treatment for Alcoholism Recovery
After the detox is complete, the individual will be stable enough to begin treatment. Treating alcoholism relies on a group of therapies that are designed to work in tandem. Treatment helps them change toxic behaviors and equips them with new coping skills.
These rehab elements include:
Psychotherapy: Therapy is at the heart of treatment. Using evidence-based theories such as CBT, DBT, and motivation enhancement clients learn new thoughts and behavior patterns. Therapists will work with clients to assist them in changing thought distortions that have led to the drinking problem.
Group work: Group therapy allows clients to share about the events in their lives that have led to the problem of drinking. These peer support groups provide a safe place to help each other while in rehab.
12-step program: A.A.’s 12-step program is often added to the treatment plan, but not always. There are non 12-step recovery programs available as well, and some rehabs offer both types of meetings.
Recreation therapy: Restoring health after alcoholism is a key focus during rehab and beyond. Nutritional counseling and outdoor fitness provide ways to improve brain health and wellness.
Holistic activities: To learn how to reduce stress is key in recovery. Many rehabs today offer holistic activities that teach clients how to relax. These might include yoga classes, massage, guided meditation, art or music therapy, and mindfulness training.
Golf Drug Rehab Provides Effective Treatment for Alcoholism
Golf Drug Rehab is a unique rehab program located in South Orange County. Using a blend of evidence-based therapies and golf recreational therapy, clients balance recovery work and enjoyable pastimes. For any questions about the program, please connect with Golf Drug Rehab today at (877) 958-5320.
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