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The Physical Effects of Alcoholism

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Updated June 08, 2006

The statistics are not good. About 14 million people in the United States abuse alcohol or are alcoholic, that's 1 in every 13 adults according to the NIAAA. Statistics indicate that across all ages men are four times more likely than women to be heavy drinkers. Men are twice as likely to be alcohol abusing or alcohol dependant. Compulsive drinking causes major health problems. Each year more than 100,000 Americans die of alcohol-related causes.

Alcohol abuse damages the nervous system and destroys brain cells
Different parts of the brain are more sensitive to alcohol than others. Alcohol is a toxin that damages the transmission of nerve impulses in the brain and nervous system. Chronic alcohol abuse causes organic damage that manifests itself both physically, psychologically and in the behavior of people affected.

Physically it is manifested through loss of balance, impotence, numbness of the feet and hands, tremor and in blindness.
Psychologically and behaviorally by loss of intellectual abilities, impaired ability to learn and in mental confusion.
Alcohol abuse causes a condition called delirium tremens in which the person experiences mental confusion, extreme excitement, anxiety, trembling, rapid pulse and hallucinations.

Alcohol abuse causes cirrhosis of the liver
Alcoholism and alcohol abuse damages the liver. If the damage is severe it is known as cirrhosis. Cirrhosis can lead to liver failure, liver cancer and death.

Alcohol abuse causes infection and chronic inflammation
Inflammation of the stomach (gastritis) and digestive system leads to ulceration. Perforation of the stomach and intestines is life threatening. Inflammation of the digestive system means that food is not digested or absorbed properly.
Inflammation and infections are associated with poor diet, malnutrition, lifestyle changes, accidents and self neglect. Diseases include pneumonia, kidney and urinary tract infections, kidney failure and pancreatitis.

Alcohol abuse causes malnutrition
Vitamin deficiency is due to an inability to absorb or a lack of various vitamins. Wernicke's disease and Korsakoff's syndrome are characterized as a memory disorders caused by a deficiency of vitamin B1, also called thiamine.

Alcohol abuse causes Cardiovascular problems
Excessive drinking can lead to high blood pressure, it can damage your heart muscle (cardiomyopathy). Damage to the cardiovascular system can put you at increased risk of heart failure or stroke.

Alcohol abuse causes sexual problems
Erectile dysfunction is common in men with alcohol problems

Alcohol abuse can cause Cancer
Alcoholism has been linked to a higher risk of cancer of the esophagus, larynx, colon and the liver.

Alcohol abuse is linked with diabetes

Much More Information on Buddy T's Alcoholism Site

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