Many of us are introduced to alcohol at a young age. We start going to parties or hanging out with friends after school or over the weekend. Sooner or later someone offers us a drink. Peer pressure influences a lot of young people. It could also be a significant other while you’re on a date. Some of us start drinking at family gatherings or at home.
Drinking alcohol within limits is generally accepted as a social norm. You will find some form of alcohol at just about every social event. Most people are able to drink normally—in social settings or at celebrations. They only have a glass or two of wine or one beer here and there. Unfortunately, there are those who can’t seem to stop drinking once they start. There’s also the dangerous activity of binge drinking. This can cause blackouts, which are extremely dangerous.
Alcohol, like drugs, is also used as a crutch for many people experiencing mental health issues or stressful events in their life. The passing of a loved one or a messy breakup can drive some people to drink. Some of us have a drink or two after work at Happy Hour. Brain chemistry often dictates who will become addicted to alcohol, but sometimes people become dependent over time. If you find yourself drinking excessively, here are some of the main reasons you should quit sooner instead of later.
- Alcohol Affects Your Mental Health
Alcohol abuse can wreak havoc on your mental health. For many, alcohol becomes their best friend and the solution to every problem. This leads to depression and a never-ending cycle of drinking and making excuses for their drunken behavior afterwards.
Drinking can cause a drastic change in behavior. A typically quiet and reserved person can become loud and aggressive when drunk. This can cause all kinds of embarrassing behavior and conversations, and even lead to extreme violence.
Drinking too much causes impulsive behavior. Poor judgment and potentially dangerous situations can result. Abuse of alcohol can cause a range of mental illnesses, including depression. Studies have also linked alcoholism to suicide.
2. Alcohol Affects Your Physical Health
Drinking excessively will eventually take a toll on your body in numerous way. Many of your vital organs are damaged from alcohol abuse. Your brain, heart, liver, kidneys, pancreas, and digestive tract are all affected. The liver bears the brunt of the damage because it has to process the alcohol. Consuming excessive amounts, especially binge drinking, overtaxes the organ and causes diseases like cirrhosis, hepatitis, and fatty liver disease.
Your heart can also sustain serious damage and become weakened. Excessive drinking weakens the heart muscle because of the extra strain that’s placed on it. This in turn affects blood flow to other vital organs, which can lead to a host of chronic illnesses. These include stroke, blood clots, high blood pressure, and irregular heartbeat.
The brain also suffers damage in many areas. Your coordination and memory can be affected. Problem solving, learning and emotional regulation may also be compromised. Anxiety, depression, and aggression may become more pronounced. In addition, when alcohol is broken down in the liver, it releases cancer causing toxins that migrate to the brain.
3. Alcohol Destroys Relationships
Alcoholism destroys many relationships throughout the course of the disease. Family and friends feel helpless as they watch their loved one spiral out of control. Alcoholics are constantly rationalizing their behavior and need to drink. Their manic behavior and aggressive mood swings are usually directed at those closest to them.
Hurtful things may be said and done over a period. This leads to a breakdown in their relationships. It’s comparable to a domestic situation where an abuser keeps promising he will stop and apologizes but does the same exact thing over and over. Loved ones get worn down by the irrational and impulsive behavior. Some may issue an ultimatum or cut ties altogether. It may become too painful for some to watch their loved ones self-destruct.
4. Alcohol Impairs Your Judgment
How many mornings have you awoken with a terrible hangover and no memory of what you did the night before? You constantly have to ask friends and loved ones about conversations and what you did or said because you simply cannot remember. Your memory is fuzzy most of the time and you’re afraid you said something offensive or downright cruel. Maybe you were out at a bar or club having the best time and then your next memory is waking up in a strange place.
5. Alcohol is Used as a Crutch
Alcohol is used as a crutch in the same manner as other addictive substances. It’s something to get you through the day. It’s there to make you feel better when something or someone has got you feeling down. It’s a stress reliever. It keeps you company. It makes you forget everything. Feeling numb is the equivalent of a good time. These are some of the reasons to drink if you’re abusing alcohol.
You become so dependent and must have access always. Maybe you carry a bottle in your purse. A quick swig here and there just to take the edge off. You don’t feel at ease if you don’t have access to alcohol. You go to extreme lengths to get alcohol when there’s none around. It is very unhealthy to have this kind of dependence on any substance.
6. Alcohol is Expensive
Most drinkers don’t take notice of how much they spend on alcohol. It could be a small fortune, but it wouldn’t matter if you’re in the throes of alcoholism. Just imagine how many other things you could spend that money on. You could save it for a rainy day or a vacation to an exotic locale. Spending a lot of your hard-earned cash on alcohol is like flushing your money down the toilet.
7. Alcohol is Making You Miss Out on Life
You miss out on so much in life because of drinking. Think of all the events and functions you’ve missed because it interfered with your drinking. How much time have you wasted recuperating from hangovers? There’s isn’t much time for anything else when your whole life revolves around drinking. Maybe you have dreams or aspirations of doing big things in your lifetime. Do you love traveling? How much time have you missed with family members and friends? Life is short. We have to make every moment count.
It is imperative to seek treatment if you are struggling with alcohol addiction. All it takes is one drunken incident to change your entire life. Drinking and driving can be disastrous. Excessive drinking can lead to blackouts and anything is possible while you’re in that state. You could harm yourself or others unintentionally. The reasons for seeking assistance immediately are endless. Make that first step to getting your life back before it’s too late.