Alcohol Use and Its Effects
If you have a colleague, a friend, a family member that should go to rehab in Orange County, or a known person to you who drinks alcohol, it might be hard to comprehend why they do so in the first place, particularly if it causes negative issues to them. Also, if perhaps you never tasted the alcohol, you may not like the smell, taste or the sensation of being tipsy. Probably you tried once and never liked the tipsy feeling. If you belong in those categories, it may be very difficult to understand why people drink alcohol.
However, to the drinkers, they have so many reasons why they stick to it no matter the terrible hangovers the following day and failing relationships. Every human behavior has got a motivation behind them, and the motivations behind alcohol drinking are quite interesting. Since alcohol is a drink that is accepted in the Orange County, many people drink it in celebrations and parties or after a delicious meal.
The following are some reasons why people drink alcohol;
- Peer pressure
Peer pressure is one of the prominent reasons why people find themselves in alcoholism. One fears isolation from his or her friends if they don’t take a sip which leads to a bottle and later you in the game completely. It is quite normal to do a thing that your friends are doing, that is why we should be keen on who we keep around. In fact, most people drink at parties, weddings, and other social events with their friends.
Adolescents are more vulnerable to peer pressure, but even adults can be influenced by others to drink. Peer pressure to take alcohol can exist at any age gap. For alcoholics, they can blame their peers for their drinking behaviors, though they might know that they should not be drinking.
- Social norm
Social norms are behaviors that are expected in Orange County, California. Drinking has been part of our cultures for decades. After achievements we toast with a glass of beer or wine, during sports we drink, at weddings alcohol is served, even in funerals people drink. In fact, for an event to be lit, alcohol should be served since a bigger percentage of the population drink alcohol.
Additionally, alcohol is widely promoted in TVs, films, radios, and on the internet. This normalization makes it socially acceptable and normal. They make alcohol drinking as an achievement and a good thing – you can be more beautiful or handsome, have numbers of friends, and be successful- all if you drink alcohol. Sadly, our children grow knowing that it is quite in order to drink and it safe.
It is so simple. People drink alcohol because it is available. Alcohol is legal though its use is controlled by a certain body. However, it is pretty easy to get alcohol even for teenagers. Family, friends, and older siblings are good sources of alcohol for children who drink, knowingly or unknowingly.
Surprisingly, the local retailers in Orange County sell alcohol to children who are below 18 years even with the guideline not to do so. Others accept fake Identification cards for the underage alcohol drinkers. Relatively speaking and comparing with other illegal activities, alcohol is almost accessible to any person. Among many other reasons that may make a person to drink, the fact that it is pretty to get whenever you want motivates the drinkers.
People going through stressful moments like loss of job or loss of a loved one may opt drinking alcohol since it helps in reducing the negative feelings. Although temporary, alcohol assists them in alleviating stress and anxiety. After a hectic day in the office, pressures of responsibilities either at work or at home can make one grab a glass of beer to relax their nerves.
Nevertheless, drinking gives one an illusion that the stress is over, only to get sober and realize that you still have the financial crisis. Yes! One forgets about everything around them for a moment or probably hours. However, the quick vanish of the euphoric effects of alcohol can leave one with more worries than the ones you had.
Moreover, alcohol doesn’t assist us in solving the root cause of our problems. It instead covers them up and helps us avoid reality. The stress continues and one can have a challenge in coping up hence the vicious cycle of drinking alcohol to deal with our issues.
- For fun
Sadly, with all the negative effects of alcohol such as liver cirrhosis, blood pressure, financial problems, and strain in relationships, some individual find it fun to drink alcohol. Being tipsy makes them contented, happy, and ‘spirited’. Also, drinking with friends can be a fun activity after a tiresome week. If one is anxious in any situation, they will drink to calm down and have fun.
People in Orange County think that alcohol enhances the experience in parties, nightclubs, and other social gatherings. However, there are other ways of having fun in such places like dancing.
- To Lose Inhibitions
The truth is there are a lot of shy people among st us. Also, there are some situations in which a person does not have to be all that shy as you can be intimidated such as large parties and first dates. In such settings, some people will drink alcohol to lose the inhibitions. Alcohol is believed to have the ability to make one more comfortable and confident in situations that they would not.
If you are such uncomfortable in situations such that you drink alcohol as a crutch, it can be pretty harder to imagine life without alcohol, even if it gives you a temporal comfort. You have probably heard someone ask, ’how will I dance?’ ‘What will I do at my wedding?’, and many other awkward questions from shy people. This indicates a dependence on alcohol as a social lubricant that does not care about the health effects.
It is sometimes referred to as ‘liquid courage’ and to many alcoholics, they claim it is an amazing though temporary, ‘social lubricant’. Besides, to binge drinkers, alcohol can make them so inhibited such that they end up behaving inappropriately and embarrass themselves.
- Past Experiences
Past experiences with alcohol can determine whether you will take or not. For instance, if in the first attempt you didn’t like the taste and the tipsy feeling, chances are you will not drink it again. However if you experienced positive effects and loved the taste and smell, high chances are you will be motivated to drink again.
- Act of rebellion
Some people and especially the teenagers drink as a sign of rebellion. They want to defy set rules and try to prove that they are not like the others. This is mostly due to the adolescence factor.
Signs of alcohol use disorder or alcoholism
There are many symptoms that are related to alcoholism. They become severe with time and the user might not notice. Additionally, some symptoms are recognizable, but others are hard to identify. Also, the severity can be influenced by a person characters. For instance, many people try to hide their drinking behaviors and isolate themselves completely. This makes it tricky for family members and friends to notice and intervene to help the fellow.
Mild alcoholism symptoms can be overlooked, but whatever appears as minor can end up being very dangerous later. Early symptoms should never be ignored and include the following;
- Frequent drinking.
- Drinking alcohol in dangerous situations like when driving or operating a machine.
- Experiencing blackout after drinking. You are not able to remember what happened when you were drunk.
- Becoming violent when drunk.
If the early symptoms are not addressed, alcohol abuse can get out of control and impact on one’s life. Recognizing the early signs and getting treatment can be an important step in recovery. Although there is no exact formula to know whether someone has alcohol use disorder, the following could be the signs;
Being unable to control your drinking habits, though you have the desire. Prioritizing alcohol over any other thing in your life such as job, family, and even your health. Continuing to drink even though it is causing negative effects on your health and relationships. Strong cravings for alcohol even when you are at work or in class. Withdrawal symptoms such as insomnia, headache, dizziness, and shakiness.
Effects of Alcohol on the Body
A glass of your favorite wine or beer can make you relax and seem harmless, but have ever thought of the effects it has on your body? The pleasurable effects of alcohol are deniable. It makes one forget about all the problems they have. Just like any other things, alcohol can be enjoyable, but only if taken moderately. Drinking large quantities of alcohol or frequently can take a heavy toll on your body.
Alcohol affects the body inside and outside. Although you can notice the damage on your internal organs, never ignore the warning signs. Sometimes you can’t notice the effects until later when the damage has already occurred making it a challenge to reverse the damage. The health effects occur even after a single glass of alcohol. The more one drinks, the worse the effects.
After drinking alcohol, 33% of it is absorbed instantly into your blood via the stomach lining. The rest is slowly absorbed through the small intestines. Once it gets into the bloodstream, alcohol starts to diffuse into all the tissues of the body through the permeable cell membranes. If one drinks more alcohol than their body can withstand their blood alcohol level (BAL) increases. The rate at which it raises and its effects depend on a number of factors such as gender, age, weight, the composition of the body, the health condition of a person, and presence of other substances and medications in the bloodstream.
Although every organ of the body suffers from alcohol use, some are believed to be at a great danger. When you drink alcohol, it moves from mouth to the stomach, circulatory system, brain, kidneys, liver, and kidneys. As it moves and gets absorbed it affects them. The best way to avoid such damage is to stop drinking alcohol, but with the help of a specialist. The following is a breakdown of how alcohol affects the above organs;
Alcohol consumption and its harmful effects start at the entry point which is the mouth. Alcohol burns or irritates any bodily surface. When you take the first sip, you may immediately feel the sensation into your mouth down the lining of the esophagus; especially if you take the strong liquors. Moreover, alcohol is carcinogenic and its prolonged use can cause mouth, voice box, and throat cancer.
Alcohol is not necessarily digested since its molecules are tiny and can be easily absorbed via the lining of the stomach. When you drink alcohol on an empty stomach, it passes directly into the blood. However, if the stomach has food, especially protein-rich foods, the rate of absorption is low. Carbonation drinks such as soda, speed up the absorption.
Not all alcohol is absorbed in the blood, and some are left in the stomach. It increases the acidity levels in the stomach and irritates or burns the delicate stomach lining. If the irritation is severe, it can cause corrosion of the lining. Nevertheless, moderate drinking can also give rise to the existing stomach or intestinal ulcers. Alcohol also blocks the absorption of essential vitamins such as Vitamin B1 and B12, thiamine, fat, folic acid, and amino acids.
Additionally, excessive drinking stimulates the production of gastric juice which when it combines with the alcohol increases the irritation and can lead to bleeding of the stomach. This also causes nausea, vomiting, heartburn, and diarrhea since the acidity rises up into the food pipe.
Acute gastritis; swelling of the stomach lining also occurs that causes loss of appetite, stomach pain, nausea, and indigestion. Persistent vomiting after drinking alcohol can lead to vomiting of blood due to tearing of the food pipe. Long term use of alcohol puts one at a risk of the esophagus or food pipe cancer and chronic gastritis.
- Circulatory system
Once alcohol gets in the bloodstream it is quickly distributed throughout the body through the circulatory system. It dilates the blood vessels which causes increased flow of blood to the skin surface. This creates a temporary feeling of warmth. Some researchers have stated that moderate drinking of alcohol can cause ‘thinning of blood’, but excess alcohol makes it thick.
Additionally, alcohol causes a hypercoagulable condition which is characterized by platelets and red blood cells coming together hence clumping up. This increases the probability of formation of blood clots and can reduce blood circulation. This in turn, deprives body tissues oxygen. Presence of alcohol in the blood reduces the ability of the body to fight disease-causing organisms since it suppresses the function of the white blood cells. This makes it very easy for an alcoholic to get ill.
Shortly, alcohol passes through the delicate organ of a human being, the heart. This organ is extremely vulnerable to the effects of alcohol consumption. Short-term use of alcohol can cause inflammation of the muscle walls of the heart referred to as myocarditis, but long use can have worse effects on the functioning of the heart. However, both short-term and long-term drinking of alcohol can impact the heart rate, disrupt its rhythm, and cause an irregular heartbeat.
Alcohol can lead to a heart condition known as alcoholic cardiomyopathy. It is described as dilated cardiomyopathy or big and underperforming heart muscles. The muscles drop and weaken due to repeated exposure to alcohol. Ineffectiveness of the heart occurs which means that it is not able to pump blood efficiently throughout the body. This wreaks havoc on a number of body organs by depriving them blood –oxygen and nutrients.
Excessive drinking increases triglyceride levels- a fat that is found in the blood. High levels of the fat put an individual at a great danger of getting heart diseases, stroke and diabetes.
95% of alcohol that gets into the body leaves after oxidation by the liver. Oxidation is the process of converting of alcohol to water and carbon dioxide. The liver can only process one bottle of alcoholic drink in an hour. This is why people get tipsy without time due to the flooding of the unprocessed alcohol in their blood. However, drinking too much alcohol within a short period of time or binge drinking can overwhelm the liver.
Heavy drinking causes fat to accumulate in the liver leading to a fatty liver condition. Also, alcohol reduces the ability of the liver to break down the fats that collect around it. If the liver is clogged with the fats, its ability to perform weakens hence affecting the rest of the body. Besides, when one stops drinking, the condition can be reversed. Fatty liver can cause alcoholic hepatitis, an inflammation of the liver which is very common among heavy drinkers.
Inflammation of the liver cells inhibits the normal flow of bile. The build-up of bile causes jaundice which is characterized by yellow skin and eyes. Jaundice is dangerous and can be an alert of a permanent liver failure. Excessive drinking also causes liver cirrhosis in which the liver is not able to regenerate.
This occurs when the liver is totally damaged and has been replaced by a scar tissue. This means that there is no detoxification, making of vital proteins, storage of vitamins and sugars, and no chemicals which are essential for digestion. A person who has cirrhosis, and still continues to drink, risks liver failure which can be fatal and cancer of the liver.
Long term consumption of alcohol can cause health complications and permanent damage of the pancreas. Sadly, most of the symptoms of pancreatic complications are unfelt and can be left untreated. This is the organ that is responsible for blood sugar regulation in the body.
Heavy drinking can cause inflammation of the pancreas or pancreatitis which does not heal and worsens over time. The swelling can block the secretion of digestive enzymes which can instead attack the pancreas as well as other tissues that surround it. Results are digestion of healthy body tissues that can cause severe hemorrhage. It is that unpleasant and could require surgical processes.
Acute pancreatic might include abdominal back pain, nausea, fever, increased heart rate, and diarrhea. Pancreatitis can cause pancreatic cancer, a type that spreads quickly and is life-threatening. Although medications are administered to help manage pancreatitis, it has proved to be almost impossible to treat the condition. Heavy drinking also reduces the ability of the pancreas to manufacture insulin, leading to diabetes.
Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning that it the more you take the more urine is formed and the more you will urinate. It causes the loss of water through the kidneys which can cause dehydration. Moreover, minerals and salts such as magnesium, sodium, and potassium are lost too.
Heavy drinking can cause the swelling of the bladder which stretches it and it can be dangerous since it blocks the kidneys, which could lead to renal failure.
When one drinks the brain is affected immediately. This impacts on one’s behavior and other body functions. Alcohol affects the central nervous system by causing short-term effects such as slurred speech, lack of coordination, blurred vision, slowed reaction time, and loss of memory. Drinking too much can damage important regions of the brain like the cerebellum, limbic systems, and cerebral cortex affecting the capability of it to send signals to other parts of the body. For instance, cerebral is responsible for one’s motor skills and if affected, one is likely to lose balance.