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Monday, July 27, 2009

Alcohol's Side-Effects Are Extremely Dangerous

Alcohol is the most widely used depressant in the world, and has been for thousands of years. More alcohol is consumed than any other drug on the planet, which accounts for so many fatalities every year. Alcohol's side-effects are extremely dangerous and excessive drinking will speed up the process. We saw what happened to Bret with his esophageal cancer and we witnessed alcohol strip young Gary of life with cirrhosis. I believe that alcohol consumption has become so commonplace throughout society that people either ignore or fail to take the time to understand the devastating consequences that comes along with excessive drinking.

Direct and indirect causes of death include: drunken driving, cirrhosis of the liver, falls, cancer, and stroke. Millions of Americans meet diagnostic criteria for alcohol use disorders and alcohol is one of the only substances that can cause death if one stops without medical supervision. Delirium tremens or the "DTs", is caused after a long period of drinking, stopping abruptly and experiencing withdrawal. According to Medline Plus Medical Encyclopedia: Delirium Tremens "It is most common in people who have a history of alcohol withdrawal, especially in those who drink the equivalent of 7 - 8 pints of beer (or 1 pint of "hard" alcohol) every day for several months. Delirium tremens also commonly affects those with a history of habitual alcohol use or alcoholism that has existed for more than 10 years."

Withdrawal from other drugs such as: opiates, marijuana, cocaine, etc. do not have major medical complications and withdrawal is therefore not life threatening. It seems strange that alcohol, a legal drug, does more damage to one's heath than illicit drugs. Many people who start drinking at a young age, like Gary, rarely have a clue as to how bad alcohol is for them; ultimately, this leads to severe medical problems which there may not be any help for. Sadly, by the time the problem is discovered it can be too late to receive help or one may be denied help based on a history of alcoholism. Every year billions of dollars are made from a substance that causes so much injury and it appears that little, if any, change ever comes of it. Bret and Gary are perfect examples of why more needs to be done, Bret and Gary exemplify both sides of the spectrum; alcohol related deaths affect all age groups.

I encourage you to watch this short video of the cause of cirrhosis. Please send me your thoughts about this subject and what we might be able to do differently to avoid premature death.

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