ALCOHOL EFFECTS A little of alcohol can cure diseases but drinking too much of it may lead to alcohol abuse or alcoholism. Alcoholism is a disease, which affects the alcoholic’s physical health, emotional well-being and behavior,...
ALCOHOL EFFECTS A little of alcohol can cure diseases but drinking too much of it may lead to alcohol abuse or alcoholism. Alcoholism is a disease, which affects the alcoholic’s physical health, emotional well-being and behavior. PHYSICAL EFFECTS Impairs mental and physical reflexes Cancer of the brain, tongue, mouth, oesophagus, larynx and bladder; Liver damage such as cirrhosis, fatty liver (steatosis) and hepatitis; Ulcers and gastritis. Brain damage and nerve problems. Heart and blood pressure problems. Leads to malnutrition and stomach disorder. Obesity and overweight Sexual problems Causes birth defects such as foetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) FOETAL ALCOHOL SYNDROME (FAS) Foetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) is a serious but completely preventable health problem that tragically affects its victims and their families. A child with foetal alcohol syndrome will suffer from this disorder throughout his or her life. Babies born with FAS tend to have; Less weight Less height Smaller heads Heart problem Deformed facial features Abnormal joints and limbs Poor coordination Memory loss Learning problem Other problems experienced by victims are mental health problems, disrupted school experience, inappropriate sexual behaviour, trouble with the law, alcohol and drug problems, and difficulty in caring for themselves and their children, and homelessness. ALCOHOL AND CANCER Drinking can make your cancer care less effective or more difficult for you. For example: If you need surgery, alcohol in your body can create problems with the medicine needed to put you to sleep (anesthesia). If you are being treated with cancer drugs (chemotherapy), you may get sores in your mouth, and alcohol will make them worse. If you need radiation treatment or chemotherapy, you will need to eat well to stay strong. Drinking can interfere with good eating habits and a quick recovery. Alcohol abuse will keep you from coping well with cancer and its stresses and emotional demands. EMOTIONAL AND BEHAVIORAL EFFECTS Alcohol may cause someone to do things he or she might not do otherwise (e.g., driving at high speeds or other daredevil acts) Mood changes such as, anger, violent behavior, depression or even suicide that can intensify as more alcohol is consumed May result in memory loss (alcohol consumption levels prevent the formation of memories in the brain). Lead to chaotic family life. The divorce rate is higher among alcoholics, and children of alcoholics may have long-lasting emotional problems. Alcoholism can also cause decreased work attendance and performance as well as problems in dealing with employees and co-workers YOU NEED PROFESSIONAL HELP IF YOU: Had memory lapses or blackouts due to drinking. Must drink alcohol in order to get you through the day Unable to control your drinking habit even though you have health problems caused by alcohol. Have to drink more to withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, chills, shakes and a strong craving for alcohol. Has drinking significantly affected your work, school and relationships with others. Always drink alcohol to cope with stressful life events or to escape from ongoing problems. Engaged in high-risk behavior such as having unsafe sex in a nonmonogamous relationship after drinking. If you have a number of drink driving offences. Have your friends, family or employer commented about your alcohol use. Behaves antisocially after drinking TREATMENT The tendency to become alcoholic is inherited as both men and women are four times more likely to become alcoholics if their parents were. Treating alcoholism as an illness is important and one way to beat a drinking problem is to stop drinking. Two prescription drugs are available to help in treatment. One, called Antabuse (not available in Malaysia), causes violent physical reactions if a person drinks alcohol while taking this medication. Another one, Naltrexone (available in Malaysia), blocks the craving for alcohol and the pleasure of getting high. SELF-CARE If you are an alcohol user but are not yet to abuse it, the sooner you stop using alcohol, the better your chances of avoiding the serious physical and psychological effects. The first and most important step to avoid becoming an alcohol abuser is to admit that you are drinking alcohol. Change your lifestyle. Try to stay out of situations where alcohol is prominent (e.g., nightclubs, dances and parties) until you can get control over your drinking. Once you have done this, order juice, club soda or coffee if you attend these parties. If your friends insist you drink alcohol in order to socialize with them, make it clear that you are serious about stopping. If this is unacceptable to them, find new friends. Attend self-help group meetings for alcoholics. Be a good religious person. All religions prohibit or discourage their believes from drinking alcohol. A FEW STEPS TO AVOID BEING ALCOHOL DEPENDENT: Know your limit and stick to it. Drink slowly. You are apt to drink less. Pour less alcohol and more mixers into each drink. Try low alcohol wines or beer Alternate an alcoholic beverage with a nonalcoholic one (e.g. mineral water, fruit juice, coffee, soda water) Eat while drinking. Food helps to absorb alcohol in the system. Talk to people who will listen to your feelings and concerns without judging you. You will be less likely to turn to alcohol to "drown your sorrows." Find ways to calm yourself other than with alcohol (e.g. hobbies, relaxation exercises, physical activities and movies). Realize that you are a role model for your children. They learn what they see. When you drink, do so responsibly. Do not mix drinking with driving, drugs or operating machinery. These combinations can be fatal.
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