Alcohol Awareness Month occurs in April, and that means it’s appropriate at this time to reach out to everyone you know about alcoholism, and about recovering from the abuse of it. It is a disease like many others, but any real cure depends on the user actually wanting to be cured, and making an effort to break the destructive cycle of drinking and sobering up. In Oxford and elsewhere in the U.S., many people will be getting the word out that alcoholism can be treated effectively, and that more people need to understand the disease so they can support those afflicted by it. Senior home care professionals who must deal with alcohol usage in their patients must also have an understanding of the disease, so they can better cope with the manifestations that generally accompany excessive alcohol usage.
Pros of alcohol usage
It’s not all doom-and-gloom with alcohol consumption. In fact, there are several benefits to consuming alcohol later in life, provided that consumption isn’t excessive and isn’t constant. Drinking alcohol has been found to lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases, in part because it increases the level of good cholesterol in the body. It can also increase sensitivity to insulin and promote faster blood clotting. You might be surprised to learn that drinking alcohol regularly also tends to boost the immune system.
Healthcare experts have found that a non-smoking individual might enjoy 60% fewer colds than someone who doesn’t drink at all. This is especially true of people who enjoy drinking red wine, and the reason that is so effective is because red wine is typically loaded with anti-oxidants that provide support for your immune system. Believe it or not, just having two alcoholic beverages per day is enough to reduce the formation and development of gallstones by as much as 33%. By extension, that means there’s also a reduction in bile duct blockages, inflamed organs, and even the development of malignant tissue.
Perhaps the best benefit which can accrue to someone who regularly consumes alcoholic beverages is the fact that it may reduce the likelihood of developing dementia. Research that has been ongoing for more than 40 years now tells us that people who drink moderately are 23% less likely to develop dementia or Alzheimer’s than individuals who don’t drink at all. Scientists believe that regular alcohol consumption somehow leaves brain cells in a healthier state, and makes them more capable of handling stress.
Cons of alcohol usage
There is great potential for various negative impacts of alcohol consumption, in large part because it can be extremely addictive to people. It’s very easy for someone to begin abusing alcohol and be completely unaware of it because the body begins to adapt to consumption levels. The more alcohol you drink, the more is necessary to get the same kind of euphoric feeling. This addictive quality is one of the biggest drawbacks to alcohol consumption.
Another problem with alcohol abuse is that it can lead to cirrhosis of the liver. Your liver actually helps to filter alcohol out of the bloodstream as part of its daily function, but it can only filter out so much at a time. If it’s constantly processing consumed alcohol, it can begin to form scar tissue or cirrhosis on the organ itself. Once cirrhosis of the liver occurs, the only real cure for it is a liver transplant.
Another huge drawback to drinking excessive amounts of alcohol is the fact that it can change your whole decision-making process. Because people’s inhibitions are generally reduced, there is a greater likelihood of violence and anger being associated with regular consumption. Most people don’t get to a really detrimental stage when they’re only drinking light to moderate amounts of alcohol, but heavy drinking can bring into play all kinds of negative decision-making.
One last major drawback to alcohol consumption is that it can limit your ability to react to circumstances around you. A good example is driving in traffic, and since alcohol is a depressant, your reactions while driving will be slowed by drinking. It can also make you feel drowsy, and that could be another serious problem while driving.
The best approach
From the above, it can be seen that the best approach to alcohol is to either drink lightly or moderately. Anyone who regularly consumes an excessive amount of alcohol will be subject to all the cons described above, and that can quickly become a factor in degrading your quality of life. It’s not safe for your health or your daily routine for you to be consuming large amounts of alcohol on a regular basis. As with most things in life, if you can stick to a moderate level of consumption, you’ll be much better off, and you’ll stay healthier for a longer period of time.