Some people find drinking alcohol a pleasant way to spend their time. When dealing with an alcohol use disorder, they are drinking to excess and they endanger themselves and their loved ones. So when does drinking become a problem? When someone’s drinking patterns have adverse consequences, and they lose their control of how much alcohol they use. Statistics show that less than 20% of the 589,101 alcoholics from England get specialized help. In 2018, the Office for National Statistics has released a study on Adult drinking habits in Great Britain: 2017. It concluded that more than 27% of drinkers in the UK binge drink regularly, meaning that women have over six units and men over 8.
Discussing Drinking Problems and How They Affect Your Life
But how is alcohol affecting users’ health?
Alcohol is the leading cause of more than 60 health problems, like depression, cancer, high blood pressure, and cirrhosis. Between 2016 and 2017, only in England were registered more than 337.000 hospital admissions for patients suffering from health problems related to alcoholism. Over 1 million people got to the hospital for alcohol consumption; this means more than 7% of the entire admissions. In Scotland, 34.000 people were admitted to hospital suffering the same issue.
When used for long periods alcohol affects the overall health of the drinker. Doctors cannot reverse or treat some of the problems alcohol causes. Alcohol abuse affects the following body parts: pancreas, kidneys, liver, heart and immune system.
A list of the most common problems alcohol causes:
- Inflammation of the pancreas
- Chronic kidney disease
- Acute kidney failure
- Alcoholic hepatitis
- Irregular heartbeat
- High blood pressure
- Increased susceptibility for issues like pneumonia and tuberculosis
- Cancer of the colon, throat, esophagus, mouth, breast, rectum
Alcohol affects the brain
Depending on how long the user drinks alcohol, they can suffer from short or long-term effects on their brain. Commonly, it damages the brain’s communication pathways; therefore it can affect the user’s cognitive function, behavior, and even mood. Because many of the people who abuse alcohol neglect to eat properly, they are also dealing with brain damage because of poor nutrition. When pregnant women drink heavily, they expose their baby’s brain to alcohol spectrum conditions.
A suitable treatment can help patients with drinking problems to treat their brain problems. Rehab and abstinence can also help in recovering some of the brain functions they lose because of alcohol.
Alcohol influences people’s behavior
Some of the problems alcohol abusers face are confusion, memory issues, motor impairment, and slurred speech. These effects regularly cause violent behavior, injuries and an increased risk of accidents. Alcohol is one of the leading factors in around 50% of homicides, drownings and fatal injuries. It’s also one of the leading causes of suicides, sexual assaults, and complex injuries. 40% of the fatal motor vehicle crashed are the result of alcohol abuse.
Drinking problems are often associated with risky behaviours like unprotected sex that can result in unplanned pregnancies and STDs.
Signs you are dealing with a drinking problem
How can you tell you are a problem drinker? Pay attention to the following signs:
- Alcohol makes you blackout
- You are driving under the influence
- When under the influence you do an illegal act
- You made unsafe decisions like unprotected sex, or sex with someone you don’t know
- It affected your relationships with your loved ones
- You spend more money than you can afford on alcohol
- You are feeling depressed, angry or violent when you drink
- It made you lose your job or miss classes
You can differentiate if you are an alcoholic or a problem drinker based on the time you can stay without drinking. Problem drinkers can go even weeks without drinking alcohol, but when they do it, they experience some of the above problems. Pay attention to problem drinking because it can easily lead to addiction. help4addiction.co.uk recommends seeking help before your condition gets worse. Both alcoholism and drinking problems can affect your life negatively.
Why should stop drinking?
If you still need a reason to stop drinking, here we list more.
By reducing the amount of alcohol you ingest, you can control your weight. Alcohol can represent a great part of the calories you consume daily, even if they have no nutritional value. Alcohol leads to both obesity and anorexia because some drinkers do not eat well when under the influence. Above we mentioned the health problems, you can experience when you drink heavily, so when cutting the amount or when stopping the addiction you improve your health.
Improved sleep and mood
Alcohol is often a factor of physical and mental health issues. Alcohol abusers are more prone to anxiety and depression, and they can even experience complex mental health disorders when drinking heavily.
Alcohol also prevents a peaceful sleep, so stopping this addiction could help. Yes, alcohol helps people fall asleep easier, but it affects sleep quality, and it generates hangover effects.
You protect your unborn child
When planning a pregnancy, or when pregnant, it’s advisable to stop drinking. In addition, drinking when breastfeeding is not recommended because it can get into the milk the baby ingests. Drinking heavily during pregnancy endangers your unborn baby’s health and life.
It interacts with medications and drugs
No matter if you are using medications to treat a health condition or illicit drugs, alcoholic beverages increase the risk of side effects. Alcohol combined with treatment for depression can boost the risk of overdose. The combination can also affect your driving abilities. Make sure you know the risks you expose yourself to when mixing alcohol with other drugs, it puts your life to danger.
The conclusion is that even a single episode of binge drinking can affect your health and relationship with other people. You should think not only how much you drink, but also the effects it has on your life. If this habit is taking the main role in your life, you should stop it, and ask for professional help.