Tag Archives: alcohol

What’s the Alcohol Doing to You?

A 2012 survey revealed that alcohol is consumed by 75% of Canadians.

We also realize that not every alcoholic is the same. Another landmark study (2007), done by The National Institute on Alcoholic Abuse and Alcoholismcreated categories on the sub-types of the alcoholic such as, Young Adult, Young Anti-Social, Functional, Familial (mental illness), Chronic Severe but also, the ‘high functioning’ alcoholics, those able to function within their responsibilities, lead a double life. A few addictions experts are suggesting that 75% -90% are high functioning alcoholics. Shall we learn the the effects of alcohol?

Alcoholism progresses the same for every alcoholic and will reveal itself, at different rates. After all, as said earlier, no alcoholic is the same. Alcohol crosses the ‘blood-brain’ barrier and changes brain cells thus the central nervous system (CNS), indications the brain slows the body down (depressant) – altered speech, foggy memory, hazy thinking, impaired co-ordination, heartrate, blood pressure, breathing patterns will slow or stop.

The behaviors of an alcoholic will depend on the stage of their addiction. There are different definitions for the stages of alcoholism but most will contain the following qualifying criteria:

  1. Social drinker, one or two drinks a day, enough for euphoria
  2. Non-Social drinker, to reduce stress, first sign of dependency, urge to drink at stressful events

  3. Frequent Relief, to escape, stress, feelings, guilt, seek to diminish senses, may steal alcohol

  4. Daily Routine, memory blackouts, hidden drinking (mix beverage with alcohol), tolerance to alcohol effects rises

  5. Full Dependence, find reasons to drink (opportunist), defensive to offers of help, unpredictable mood and behavior changes, loses control over responsibilities, lies, manipulative, avoidance behaviors, tremors,

  6. End Stage, alcohol obsession, deteriorating health, eats less, resents interference, emotionally unpredicatable, seizures, tremors, cirrhosis of the liver, dementia

  7. Death

Differences in body and weight will create differences in tolerance. One person with low body fat will feel effects of alcohol less than a person with higher body fat. A woman has less of the enzyme dehydrogenase (an enzyme that moves a substance to a hydrogen acceptor for break-down), in their stomach. Also, women tend to have higher body fat and lower water content in their body. Over all, the less you weigh, the more quicker one feels the effects of alcohol. Our bodies can only break down one alcoholic drink per hour.

  • The stages of alcoholism brings personality changes that can range from mild to outright dangerous with the loss of inhibitions. Negative emotions are intensified and responses are apparent with knee-jerk reactions. Paranoia, delusions and hallucinations can lead to endangering self and others. This is due to reduced blood flow to regions in the brain.

  • Aging organs, including the brain, decrease their abililty to withstand the effects of alcohol. Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome can develop with the prolonged, high- intake of alcohol.

  • Medical treatment and neurogenesis may help to resolve these effects but further study is needed. Long term alcohol abuse can still lead to varying degrees of lasting brain damage and/or eventual death.

  • Recovery from alcohol abuse also has a place and begins with first admitting, a problem exists. A visit to your doctor can helps towards repairing the physical effects. Visiting an alcohol treatment centre and/or Addictions professional, can help towards further understanding your addiction cycle and triggers helps toward learning and applying the available options, to change your life.

  • Lasting friendships and support can be found through joining Alcoholics Anonymous. One just has to be aware that even if alcohol is removed, one may still exhibit ‘dry drunk’ behaviors. Over all, recovery is a choice available to everyone and which can lead, to helping others step out of their own alcohol addiction. Do we really want to go beyond that second drink?

    Extra Learning Resources

    National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

    Understanding the Insanity of Alcoholism: How the Alcoholic Thinks
    Alcoholics Anonymous

    Learning in Motion

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