It seems as though every time you turn around, you see someone drinking, or getting drunk. Alcoholism has become the new normal in our society, despite the fact that it is really just another form of suicide.
Those words may seem a bit extreme, however, when you view the numbers, it is indeed a factual statement. With over 80,000 people dying each year in the United States alone, at their own hand, alcoholism is an epidemic that is claiming twice the number of people than suicide itself.
Whether it is used as a means to celebrate some wonderful news, or as a way to kick back and relax after a stressful day, heavy drinking has become a longstanding trend in the American lifestyle. Sadly, while we pat each other on the backs with a beer in hand, we push suicidal mental health patients to the side, and brush them off as crazy. Meanwhile, alcohol wreaks as much havoc on our bodies, if not more, than their suicide attempts.
Here are four dangerous results of heavy drinking that we should consider:
1. Liver Damage
Drinking over 40 grams of alcohol per day is enough to seriously damage the liver. If you break that down, that is just four drinks.
Anything over 40 grams of alcohol will overload your liver with toxic enzymes. Over time, these enzymes will damage your liver, and cause permanent scar tissue to develop. Not only is your liver the one who pays, but also your intestine. Numerous diseases are caused by this, including fatty liver disease, cirrhosis of the liver, liver cancer, and hepatitis.
2. Increased Risk for Cancer
Researchers recently discovered that alcohol is linked to various forms of cancer. Cancers of the mouth, liver, colon, bowel and even breast have been scientifically linked to the consumption of alcohol.
And the more you drink, the higher your risk becomes, as one study showed that for every two drinks consumed each day you increase your risk for bowel cancer by 8%.
Alcohol is a diuretic, which causes your body to push out more water than the alcohol actually consumed. Why?
This occurs because alcohol blocks the ADH hormone which tells your kidney to absorb water.
Unfortunately, thirst is not the only consequence of dehydration. Prolonged dehydration leads to severe or permanent brain damage.
4. Mental Illness
Although alcohol can provide a soothing effect, once that wears off, alcohol works as a depressant.
There is a certain balance required in the human brain of neurotransmitters that keep you cognitively healthy. Alcohol throws off this balance while drinking, but over time, the damage will become permanent. This is why many people become sad, or violent, with the course of time, if they consume heavily.
Of course, a drink every now and again is nothing to worry about. It is only when you find yourself consuming multiple drinks consistently that the alcohol becomes an ongoing problem. Despite the fact that society glorifies having drinks each day as a daily rite of passage, it is not normal to drink daily, especially in heavy amounts. If you find that alcohol is becoming a problem for you, it may be time to wrangle the beast of alcoholism, and quit drinking once and for all. The detrimental health risks that will ensue if you don't will eventually ruin you, mind, body, and soul.
Written by Danielle