Alcohol is a toxic substance as far as the body is concerned and therefore has long-term health risks:
- Cirrhosis of the liver
- Heart disease
- Increased risk for Type 2 diabetes
- Central nervous system damage
- Peptic ulcers
- Early menopause
- Female infertility via anovulation or menstrual cycle disruption
- Increased risk of breast cancer
- Erectile dysfunction in men
Social hazards of drinking alcohol.
Because alcohol lowers social inhibitions, people under the influence exhibit behavior that is more bizarre. Although many times this can be a source of amusement for friends, it can at other times lead to some chilling consequences:
- Teenagers that drink before the age of 16 are nearly 8 times more likely to be involved in an automobile accident sometime in their lifetime compared to those who did not partake of alcohol early in their lives.
- It is estimated that alcohol is a contributing factor to 25% of all car accidents, and that approximately a third of all pedestrians who were killed on the road are under the influence of alcohol at the time they were struck by a vehicle.
- You’re more likely to murder someone if you have been drinking. It’s estimated that the murderer in approximately 50% of all murders has ingested alcohol.
- Domestic and child abuse cases are often indirectly the result of someone who has been drinking.
- You’re more likely to engage in risky sexual behavior under the influence of alcohol. This means you are more likely to catch an STD like HIV.
- People with lowered inhibitions are generally less likely to respect authority figures. This could include a bouncer at a nightclub or a police officer. This means that when someone comes to take you away for acting “badly”, you’re likely to engage in even more belligerent behavior, which endangers you even more.
Programs to treat alcohol addiction
Most people with alcohol problems start off by going to either a 12-step program (Alcoholics Anonymous) or to a rehab clinic. Usually these two programs are used in conjunction: someone goes to a rehab clinic to “dry out” from alcohol. This is a chance for their body to rid themselves to the physical addiction to alcohol. At the same time, they can attend a 12-step program or group therapy sessions to help wean them off the psychological craving for alcohol.
It should be stated outright that if you’re considering taking Antabuse (generic name: disulfiram), you’re already pretty far along in your alcohol addiction. Antabuse helps alcoholics by interfering with their body’s ability to metabolize alcohol. Antabuse helps signal to your body that alcohol is indeed poison, and you will feel very sick. There are a few things to keep in mind before you go down the Antabuse route:
- Combining Antabuse with alcohol can kill you. This includes the alcohol found in cough syrup, mouthwash and other assorted food products, so you have to be diligent about everything you put in your body. Because of this danger, and abuse should only be used in cases of severe alcoholism and your doctor should closely supervise it.
- Although combining alcohol and Antabuse can kill you, it will usually just make you feel really sick. If someone were to try drinking a beer while on Antabuse, they wouldn’t feel a buzz and would start getting an instant hangover-effect right away.
- Antabuse takes approximately 3 days to reach full potency (after taking it daily) and has a half-life of approximately a week. That means if you stop taking Antabuse on Friday and start drinking Sunday night, you’re still going to get the Antabuse effect.
- If you have epilepsy, diabetes, thyroid problems, kidney diseases or liver disease, then Antabuse may not be for you as it can exacerbate these conditions.