Alcohol abuse can ruin your life. Alcohol is not completely a bad thing. It does have some good effects. It can relieve stress, cause euphoria, and make you more social. In small doses, alcohol is not bad, but many people abuse it. There is a difference between abuse and addiction. Alcohol addiction is a result of repeated alcohol abuse. Anytime you become drunk, you have abused alcohol. Unfortunately, many people use alcohol to get drunk. As a young person, you typically don’t bother to focus on future consequences. You have to be conscious of your actions today and how they may affect you later.
Alcohol is primarily a chemical called ethanol. Alcohol is typically mixed with other things to give it different flavors. Alcohol percentage is based on the percentage of ethanol in the beverage. The ethanol gives it intoxicating properties. It depresses the central nervous system which gives you that feeling of not being in control. When you drink, the ethanol is absorbed into the blood from the stomach. The amount of ethanol in your blood stream determines your alcohol levels. Everyone has a different tolerance for alcohol based on how fast the liver can filter it out. Some people are tipsy after one drink while others can have about 5 or 6 before they feel anything. Anyone with overactive kidneys has trouble even reaching the point where they become tipsy.
How Much Alcohol Is Too Much?
It depends on the individual. As stated earlier, you may be able to go a couple of rounds and be okay, but others may need to stop at one drink. When you begin to feel yourself losing control of your brain and motor function, it is time to stop.
According to the NIH, “A standard drink equals 0.6 ounces of pure ethanol, or 12 ounces of beer; 8 ounces of malt liquor; 5 ounces of wine; or 1.5 ounces (a “shot”) of 80-proof distilled spirits or liquor (e.g., gin, rum, vodka, or whiskey).”
Many people go beyond that. So many people abuse alcohol and act irresponsibly.
If you are going to decide to drink and get drunk, you should be responsible enough to make sure you don’t put yourself or anyone else in harm’s way. Getting drunk alone has the potential to be dangerous. Women can easily be taken advantage of, and men can easily get into fights. When you are drunk, you can lose consciousness and have no control over your body. There are many commercials out stating the importance of using a designated driver. According to the CDC, nearly 10,000 people die yearly from drunk driving. Not only that but drunk driving accounts for 1/3 of all car accidents yearly. The main problem is these accidents and deaths can all be avoided. Drunk driving is a felony, and you can ruin your whole life and end up in jail.
Other Forms of Alcohol Abuse
We notice abuse when it leads to drunkenness, but abuse can also be a part of improper use. Women who are pregnant are not supposed to drink. Alcohol consumption during pregnancy has the potential of killing your child. Some children can even be born with ethanol in their blood. Birth defects are a result of drinking during pregnancy. The laws in America state you should not consume alcohol under the age of 21. There is a reason for this. Those under 21 are typically irresponsible, and their bodies cannot handle alcohol. Young children should not be given alcoholic beverages even if it is just a little. Their bodies are still developing, and their liver cannot filter it out as efficiently as an adult.
Drugs and alcohol do not mix. Alcohol abuse can be a result of mixing it with certain drugs. If you are on a prescription medication, and it says do not consume alcohol, then you should stay clear. There are those who abuse drugs as well and end up having life-threatening reactions when they mix those drugs with alcohol. People have died from alcohol and drug overdoses. Certain chemicals do not mix well together and can create a chemical reaction within your system you cannot survive.
Effects of Alcohol Abuse
Alcohol abuse has long term effects. Liver disease or liver cancer is a major one. The alcohol in your body is metabolized in the liver. Alcohol abuse may cause those cells to die or no longer function properly. Alcohol is also associated with strokes and other forms of cancer like throat cancer. Ethanol can damage the throat and cells of the throat when consumed too much. Alcoholism is a disease characterized by alcohol dependence. Persistently craving alcohol regardless of its harm to you or others may be a result of alcoholism.
Alcohol abuse is not something to be taken lightly. It may seem like all fun and games now, but the consequences can be permanent. Alcohol should never be abused but in cases where you decide to, be responsible. Do not put others in harm’s way. I am not saying you should never drink but have enough self-control to know when you have hit your limit. Persistently going beyond that limit may lead to alcoholism. If you feel that alcohol is beginning to take control of your life, seek treatment. There are ways to get the help you need. The important thing is to drink responsibly.
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