Alcohol Abuse



What is alcoholism?

Alcoholism, also known as alcohol dependence,
It includes the following four symptoms:

  • Craving - A strong need, or urge, to drink.
  • Loss of control - Not being able to stop drinking once drinking has begun.
  • Physical dependence - Withdrawal symptoms, such as nausea, sweating, shakiness, and anxiety after stopping drinking.
  • Tolerance - The need to drink greater amounts of alcohol to get "high".


Other names: Booze

  • Alcohol is a CNS depressant
  • Alcohol is the most widely used psychoactive drug and is legal in most countries
  • Grain alcohol or ethanol is the intoxicating ingredient.  It is a clear colourless liquid
  • Alcohol is the result of fermenting or distilling a variety of fruits, vegetables or grains
  • The percentage ranges from approx. 5% in beer to 40% in distilled liqours
  • Once ingested, alcohol is absorbed into the blood stream through the stomach, small intestine and colon
  • It takes about 5 minutes for the alcohol level to get into the bloodstream reaching its highest levels 30 to 90 minutes after ingestion


Drinking problems

Long-term Effects:

  • Vitamin deficiencies
  • Stomach ailments: Alcohol stimulates acid production in the stomach. This can lead to diarrhoea, ulcers and stomach haemorrhaging
  • Sexual Complications
  • Women: Can cause changes in the menstrual cycle, onset of early menopause. Heavy drinking is linked to spontaneous abortion, infertility and decreased sexual desire
  • Men: Heavy drinking decreases testosterone production and promotes the production of estrogens. This may result in low sperm count, lowered sexual desire and function, and enlarged breasts
  • Liver damage: Prolonged alcohol abuse can lead to alcoholic hepatitis (inflammation of the liver) which is treatable, and cirrhosis (scaring and break down of liver tissue) which in non-treatable
  • Heart Disease: These include hypertension, high blood pressure, cardiac arrhythmias, or irregular heart rhythms
  • Increased chance of cancer of liver, oesophagus, pancreas and colon.



Short-Term Effects:

  • Euphoria, drowsiness, and dizziness are associated with low doses of alcohol
  • Distortions of vision, hearing, perception, emotions, co-ordination, slurred speech, staggering, and nausea are associated with higher doses of alcohol
  • Dis-inhibition: Alcohol suppresses the part of the brain that controls reasoning and judgement and in the center of the brain affecting mood and emotion
  • This effects people differently. For some it may trigger sociability and talkativeness and for others it can aggravate violent tendencies
  • Alcohol can cause an electro-chemical disruption of the brain that can result in “amnesia”. This alcohol-induced amnesia is known as a “Blackout”. Blackouts can be an early indicator of alcoholism.
  • Heavy drinking over a short period of time can result in “hangovers” – headache, nausea, and vomiting.





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