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  • Writer's pictureNicholas Nack

Alcohol and its effects on the body

Alcohol is a substance that is fairly common in the United States, and many people have tried alcohol before. It is easy to obtain as it is legal to buy and drink alcohol, as long as certain rules are followed such as not driving drunk. While most people do not develop an addiction to it, there are still risks associated with drinking. Binge drinking is defined as having four or more drinks on one occasion for women, and five or more drinks on one occasion for men. Heavy drinking is defined as eight or more drinks in a week for women and fifteen or more drinks in a week for men. While many people who fall into these categories do not develop a dependency on alcohol, there are still risks in the short term and long term. People in the short term are more likely to injure themselves due to falling or motor vehicle injuries, and the risk for drownings and burns increases as well. Homicide, suicide, intimate partner violence, and sexual assault are also a greater risk in the short term. If alcohol levels in the body become too high, people are at risk for alcohol poisoning, which could lead to death. Alcohol drinking in excess can also lead to risky sexual behaviors that could result in pregnancy or the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. There can also be added complications and risks for pregnant women who drink in excess in the short term. In the long term, people can be at risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, liver disease, digestive problems, cancer, weakened immune system, learning and memory problems, mental health problems, social problems, and a dependence on alcohol ("Drinking too much alcohol can harm your health. Learn the facts | CDC," 2022). Within the scientific community, there is a clear consensus that alcohol use leads to the development of a few different types of cancer. The more a person regularly drinks alcohol over time, the more likely they are to develop alcohol-related cancers. Some of these cancers are head and neck cancers, esophageal cancer, liver cancer, breast cancer, and colorectal cancer ("Alcohol's effects on the body," n.d.).

Alcohol abuse is defined by a pattern of drinking that leads to continued negative consequences such as employment, school, or family issues. There may also be legal consequences to this type of drinking. Alcohol dependence happens when the individual develops tolerance, needing more to achieve the same effects, and has trouble controlling or stopping the behavior. They will also experience withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, restlessness, tremors, convulsions, and irritability if they stop drinking. There are many factors that contribute to this happening such as genetic, physiological, psychological, and social. In sum, there are many risks to alcohol use. Just because something is common, like alcohol use, does not mean it isn’t dangerous. It is important to know the risks and implications of alcohol use, both in the short term and in the long term ("Understanding alcohol use disorders and their treatment," 2012).


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