“Nearly 88,000 people (approximately 62,000 men and 26,000 women) die from alcohol-related causes annually, making alcohol the fourth leading preventable cause of death in the United States.”
-National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
As the stressors of everyday life increase, it is important to take a look at your outlets for relief to be sure you’re not overdoing it. If alcohol use, drinking one or two drinks throughout the week, turns into alcohol abuse, drinking every night and/or binge drinking, you can sink into depression with increased anxiety and even suicidal tendencies. Educating yourself on the various effects of alcohol abuse and the often fatal consequences can help you to decide for yourself, or a loved one, if it’s time to get help now.
Long- and Short-Term Effects of Alcohol Abuse
The effects of alcohol abuse can be both short- and long-term, ranging from slurred speech, reduced tension and slow reflexes during times of consumption to liver damage, stomach ulcers and cancer later down the line. Below are two lists, highlighting the mental and physical effects of alcohol in both short- and long-term abuse cases.
Short-Term (showing effects from low to high dose consumption)
- Lowered inhibitions
- A relaxing sensation
- Reduced tension
- Poor concentration
- Slower reaction times
- Lack of coordination
- Slower brain function
- Slurred speech
- Altered emotions
- Poor vision
- Sleepiness and disruption of sleeping patterns
- Lower core body temperature
- Uncontrollable urination
- Uncontrollable defecation
- Breathing difficulties
- Black outs / passing out
- Alcohol poisoning
- Possible death
- Stomach ulcers, intestinal ulcers and damaged organs
- Disruption of normal brain development
- Liver damage and cirrhosis of the liver (cancer)
- Brain cell death, decreasing brain mass
- Increased blood pressure, causing heart disease, heart attack, or stroke
- Decrease in male sperm production
- Decreased levels of iron and vitamin B, causing anemia and depression
- Fetal alcohol syndrome in unborn children
Facts and Figures
Alcohol affects more than just your coordination, speech, vision, judgment, reaction time and ability to multi-task. This being said, drinking and driving is not only illegal in every state, but it is not a sound idea when considering the ways in which alcohol inhibits the senses and skews the decision-making process in an otherwise high-functioning individual. Studies show that men are almost twice as likely to get behind the wheel of a car under the influence of alcohol than women. Keeping these warnings in mind, check out some of the scarier alcohol-related statistics:
- Every day, 8 teens die from driving under the influence (DUI) crashes.
- Alcohol is involved in nearly 40% of all fatal car crashes.
- Car crashes are the number one killer of teens; alcohol-related car crashes are one third of all fatal crashes.
- In 2014, alcohol-impaired driving fatalities accounted for 31% of overall driving fatalities - 9,967 deaths.
Reading the stats, it is hard not to pose the question, “Is it time for me to seek help now?” If your answer to this internal check is a ‘yes,’ it can feel overwhelming but it doesn’t have to be. Help is right around the corner, and even the world’s top executives need guidance at times.
A Path Out of the Darkness
Finding your own personal path toward recovery can seem tricky without the right guidance and support. Medical experts at Advantage Mental Health Center can point you in the right direction, offering a mix of onsite counseling, medication (if needed) and outpatient detox services. Community resources, such as 12-step programs are promoted and made accessible for interested patients. Recovery plans are created with you by trained professionals at Advantage Mental Health Center, and plans are specifically designed to combat alcohol abuse on a case by case basis to ensure successful results. There are so many joys of life that alcohol abuse strips away, and you deserve to regain the joy, confidence and future that you want for your path.