- Alcoholics who decide to quit drinking often turn to Alcoholics Anonymous, a self-help movement that has been very successful in treating this condition.
- Since 1935, the year of its foundation in the United States, it has received numerous memberships up to setting up work groups with thousands of sober alcoholics around the world.
- The guidelines start from the concept of alcoholism as a chronic disease and from existential sharing, of one’s condition with other alcoholics, as the only form of salvation.
Alcoholism is, to all intents and purposes, a pathological condition. For this reason, if you are the victim of a physical and psychological dependence, it is necessary to contact specialists and treatment centers in the sector.
True alcoholics are only the tip of the iceberg
There are some people who, despite drinking more than they should, do not have the typical characteristics of addiction (abstinence, tolerance and loss of control). They indulge in the excesses of drinking only at dinner or on weekends because alcohol intake is associated with a condition of relaxation and stress reduction.
In such cases, many times, it is not necessary to consult a doctor but just follow some precautions to avoid that, over time, alcohol can cause damage to health.
- Do not habitually indulge in large meals that are usually associated with the intake of more alcohol than is recommended for any single meal.
- Be cautious in the consumption of alcoholic aperitifs as well as in drinking spirits after a meal. Make it a habit to go for a walk to overcome any digestive difficulties.
- However, try not to regularly drink alcoholic beverages between meals. At the bar, you prefer soft drinks or fruit juices.
According to the World Health Organization’s Global status report on alcohol and health 2018, published on 21 September 2018, alcohol use in 2016 caused approximately 3 million deaths worldwide, or 5.3% of all deaths and 5.1% of the years of life lost due to illness, disability or premature death attributable to alcohol.
More than three-quarters of the deaths occurred among men
Contrary to what is commonly believed, alcohol is not a nutrient and its consumption is not useful for the body or its functions. Instead, it causes direct damage to the cells of many organs, especially the liver and central nervous system, and in particular to the cells of the brain.
Alcohol is the main cause of many diseases. Among the first:
- alcohol withdrawal syndrome or crisis, a reversible disease with subjective intensity and duration, directly proportional to the period of intake (more or less prolonged), to the type and quantity of drinks consumed Continuous use of alcohol in excessive quantities, it produces, in fact, effects similar to those of other psychotropic substances, including illegal ones, such as induction of psychic and physical dependence, addiction, craving, compulsivity and other behavioral disorders, with particularly significant damage also at a social level. The withdrawal crisis is characterized by tremors, nausea, vomiting, headache, sweating, anxiety, mood disorders, sometimes epileptic seizures and can in some cases evolve to delirium tremens.
- ethyl coma, or acute alcohol intoxication, occurs when excessive levels of ethyl alcohol are reached in the blood. This condition should never be underestimated, as coma can cause irreversible damage to the nervous system or death of the subject.
As regards organic pathologies, the nosology of alcohol-related pathology has considerably expanded in recent years, so, in addition to pathologies related to the gastrointestinal system (esophagitis, gastritis, steatosis, acute and chronic hepatitis, liver cirrhosis, pancreatitis and tumors ) and of the central and peripheral nervous system (cerebral atrophy, polyneuritis), other systems are involved, such as cardiovascular (myocardial infarction, thrombophlebitis, vasculitis), endocrine-reproductive (infertility, impotence, decreased sexual desire, hormonal alterations) , sometimes irreversibly.
Alcohol is also a concomitant cause of some malignant, partially alcohol-attributable cancers, such as cancer of the oropharynx, esophagus, colorectal, larynx, liver and breast (the IARC – International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies it in group 1, certainly carcinogenic to humans).
Do not forget the consumption of alcohol during pregnancy, one of the major causes of mental retardation of children in Western countries. Crossing the placenta, ethanol can compromise the growth and weight of the fetus, causing permanent damage to the central nervous system, with underdevelopment and malformation of cells and brain structure and functional and cognitive consequences (poor memory, attention deficit and impulsive behaviors).