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Dangers and Risks of Alcohol – The Facts You Should Know

Lisa Taylor
Lisa TaylorAddiction Counsellor

It is very easy to ignore the dangers and risks of alcohol in a culture that so readily accepts drinking. We have that very problem here in Great Britain. We allow teenagers an opportunity to consume alcohol in public places while having a meal with parents or guardians. Our casual attitude toward drinking may be good in the sense that we no longer hold to outdated moral imperatives of the past, but could it be that we are setting ourselves up for long-term social ills due to our permissiveness?

The debate over whether or not we unnecessarily encourage alcohol abuse will continue for the foreseeable future. But rather than getting into that debate here, it's more important we share with you some important facts you need to know about the risks of alcohol abuse. What you do with these facts is entirely up to you. However, we are here to help you if you suspect you have a drinking problem.

Here are eight facts you need to know about the dangers and risks of alcohol consumption:

Fact #1: Excessive Alcohol Promotes Liver Disease

Alcohol has an adverse effect on liver tissue no matter how much you drink. The simple fact of the matter is that the liver can only process so much alcohol in a given amount of time. Any excess slowly breaks down liver tissue until the organ no longer functions properly. The longer a person persists in alcohol abuse, the more likely that person will develop cirrhosis, fibrosis, or complete liver failure.

Fact #2: Excessive Alcohol Increases Cancer Risk

As the liver breaks down alcohol, it produces several toxic substances, one of them being acetaldehyde. This substance is also a known carcinogen. Over time, acetaldehyde can accumulate in the body and lead to mouth, throat, oesophagal, breast, and colorectal cancer. Alcoholics are at significantly higher risk of developing cancer as a result of long-term drinking.

Fact #3: Alcohol Consumption Contributes to a Long List of Diseases

Liver damage and cancer risks are not the only physical problems related to excessive alcohol consumption. Alcohol affects virtually every part of the body one way or the other. If you want to lead an unhealthy life, one of the best ways to do it is to consistently drink too much.

Excessive alcohol consumption has been linked to:

  • hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • cardiomyopathy (sagging and stretching of the heart muscle)
  • cardiac arrest and heart attack
  • weakened immune system
  • increased risk of infectious diseases
  • increased risk of diabetes.

The simple fact of the matter is that alcohol consumption affects the entire body and all its systems. The longer you drink more than you should, the greater your chances of experiencing deteriorating health.

 

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Fact #4: Alcohol Consumption Kills People

It should be obvious from the first three facts that alcohol consumption can kill by way of disease. But it kills in other ways too. Alcohol abusers tend to take greater risks that can easily lead to serious injury or death. Drinking driving is but one example. Every year there are thousands of accidents on UK roads directly related to alcohol. People are injured and killed in these accidents. Furthermore, alcohol kills by way of workplace accidents, household accidents, and just plain carelessness.

Fact #5: Alcohol Ruins Relationships

Almost every alcohol abuser and alcoholic we have helped has experienced relationship problems in addition to their drinking problems. The two go hand-in-hand. A person who drinks too much is a person who is no longer dependable. He or she is a person who no longer invests in his/her personal relationships and someone who may even become antagonistic and abusive. All of this leads to broken relationships that completely destroy families. Separation, divorce, and loss of contact with children are common problems for alcohol abusers.

Fact #6: Excessive Drinking Leads to Violence

Science has proven that alcohol consumption, no matter how minor, encourages a loss of inhibition and emotional outbursts. The combination of the two leads to violence in many cases. As an example, data from the World Health Organisation shows that countries with the greatest levels of domestic violence also have extremely high levels of alcohol abuse. In some countries, more than half of the domestic abuse cases investigated by police are directly related to alcohol consumption.

Fact #7: Alcohol Consumption Can Lead to Poverty

One of the dangers and risks of alcohol we seldom talk about is the reality of poverty. There is no question that persistent alcohol abuse often results in financial problems as the drinker struggles to hold a job and make enough money to both pay the bills and purchase alcohol. When the drinker does lose his or her job, he/she must either find another one or face to very real prospect of living in poverty. Unfortunately, poverty wins out more often than not. Families with at least one alcoholic member are significantly more likely to suffer from chronic poverty.

Fact #8: Alcohol Consumption Can Lead to Mental Illness

We have already discussed how excessive alcohol consumption harms the body in a long list of ways. But guess what? It also harms the mind. Persistent drinking changes the chemical composition of the brain, causing it to produce certain chemicals that can ultimately lead to mental illness. Research has shown that alcohol abusers are significantly more likely to develop either clinical depression or anxiety. Developing one of these additional mental illnesses only makes treatment more difficult.

You Can Be Helped with Treatment

We have given you eight facts relating to the dangers and risks of alcohol consumption. Now we want to give you one more fact that is decidedly positive: you can be helped with appropriate treatment and support. There is no reason you need to continue down the destructive path of alcohol abuse if you are already on it. We can help you get off that path if you are willing to contact us.

Speaking with one of our counsellors opens the door to finding a way to an alcohol-free future. Our counsellors can provide a comprehensive assessment of your circumstances, followed by recommendations for treatment. Any recommendations will be based on the results of our assessment combined with your needs and preferences.

The dangers and risks of alcohol consumption are very real. If you think you have a drinking problem, don't ignore those dangers and risks. Doing so is not worth it. Instead, get the help you need to overcome your drinking problem.

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