10 Reasons Alcohol is World’s Most Dangerous Drug
Daily alcohol consumption has become a way of life for many people. From beer and wine to cocktails, alcoholic beverages are the drinks or choice at happy hours, formal dinners and recreational events. Alcohol in some form is often the “stress reliever” for people who want to relax and forget about the cares and worries of the day. After a hard day at work, it is not unusual for some people to head to bars or restaurants to drink away their sorrows with a group of coworkers while others prefer to go home and relax on the sofa with a glass of wine.Some people cruise through life seemingly unaffected by their alcohol use while others sink into an abyss of alcohol addiction. Not only that, alcohol is a chemical that can damage the body to the point of disability and death. Although alcohol causes a myriad of problems, drinking is considered socially acceptable in part because it is legal. However, anyone who is considering drinking alcohol should pay close attention the following top 10 reasons why alcohol is the most dangerous substance in the world.
10Drinking Alcohol Can Lead to Financial Ruin
Alcohol use can cause financial problems. A person who becomes addicted to alcohol will do just about anything to obtain the next drink. It is not unusual for an alcoholic to spend his or her entire paycheck on binge drinking. Social drinking in a festive environment can make one feel like the king or queen of the world, and in a moment of self-aggrandizement he or she might buy rounds of drinks for everyone–on the house. With the price of alcohol, it won’t long to blow a paycheck on a night of throwing back drinks with friends and strangers. In fact there are people who will take advantage or an alcoholic’s generosity by making him or her feel like the most important person in the room just to keep the drinks flowing.
Spending excessive money on alcohol means that the bills don’t get paid and children go without food, clothing and other essentials. It is not unusual for the alcoholic who neglects his or her family to end up alone and homeless. Additionally failing to meet other financial because of drinking impacts one’s credit standing. Bills that are not paid on time lead to low credit scores. Low credit scores can affect the ability to get a job or a house and even when a person stops drinking it may take years to regain a good credit rating.
9Drinking Alcohol Can Lead to Chronic Health Problems
Alcohol leads to chronic health conditions associated with poor nutrition. Obesity is the cause of several chronic conditions that result in a poor quality of life and death. Obesity has been linked to heart disease, cancer, diabetes, stroke and other diseases. Consuming large amounts of alcohol can pile on the calories. Everyone has heard of the infamous beer belly. While the beer may not be the total culprit, downing several beers of 150 calories each will certainly contribute to extra girth around the waist. Additionally, where there is beer drinking, there is usually a good amount of junk food or calorie laden food available. Drinking alcohol contributes to a lot of mindless eating even when a person is not hungry. Eating in this way piles on the pounds, especially when the individual consuming the extra calories leads a sedentary lifestyle. On the other hand, over consumption of alcohol leads to under nutrition for some drinkers.
The individual who binges on alcohol might forget to eat or may have more of an appetite for alcohol than food. As a result, the drinker can lose nutrients and minerals, leading to poor nutritional status. Excessive drinking can contribute to osteoporosis. Heavy alcohol use is said to interfere with calcium absorption. Calcium is essential not only for strong bones, but strong teeth, which means that heavy drinkers are also at risk for dental problems. The fact is that drinking alcohol leads to a host of costly health issues.
8Drinking Alcohol can Lead to Premature Death
Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to early death. From 2006 through 2010, 88,000 people died from heavy alcohol use and their lives were shortened by about 30 years. Heavy drinkers are at a higher risk for liver disease and heart disease. The heavy drinker who already has these conditions will find that alcohol consumption makes them worse. Drinking too much at one time can lead to sudden death from alcohol poisoning. Alcohol poisoning is the result of overwhelming the body with alcohol. It is not unusual for young adults participating in recreational binge drinking to die from alcohol poisoning.
According to the Centers for Disease control, in the U.S. an average of six people die of alcohol poisoning each day. Three out of four deaths occur in adults with men being at the highest risk. A person suffering from alcohol poisoning or alcohol intoxication may exhibit the following symptoms: confusion, irregular breathing (several seconds between breaths), slow breathing, pale or blue-tinged skin, seizures, hypothermia, confusion and unconsciousness. Any of these symptoms observed in a person who drinks heavily could indicate alcohol poisoning. People who drink heavily may also sink into a deep depression that can lead to suicide. People who drink too much generally exercise poor judgment that leads to risky behaviors result in permanent disability or death. Unfortunately too many people observe their friends drinking to the point of being totally out of control while encouraging them to keep drinking or simply standing by passively without intervening.
7Drinking Alcohol Causes People to Lose Their Sensibilities
People who drink alcohol excessively they tend to throw common sense out the window or lose their inhibitions. They say things they would not usually say and may regret later. They also engage in behaviors that would be very embarrassing during times of sobriety. An intoxicated person may put his or her whole entire reputation or career on the line for one night of drinking. For example, people who get drunk may participate in high risk sexual activities such as having unprotected sex or engaging in sexual acts with multiple partners. The next day they may have no recollection of what happened. This not only puts the vulnerable person’s reputation at risk but also exposes him or her to sexually transmitted diseases.
Unwanted pregnancies can also occur when people engage in sex while drinking. It is not unusual for adolescents and adults to engage in criminal activity when drinking alcohol. Again, this is a case where inhibitions are may be lowered and an individual may feel a false sense of bravery that makes it easy for him or her to get involved in criminal behavior. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, for 40 percent of the persons in jail or prison for homicide, alcohol played a role in their crimes. In fact, alcohol is a factor in all types of violent crimes, including rape and aggravated assault. Anyone who becomes intoxicated with alcohol is at risk for committing crimes or becoming a victim of crime.
6Drinking Alcohol Can Lead to Cirrhosis of the Liver
Alcohol can lead to permanent organ damage. When most people think of organ damage associated with excessive drinking, cirrhosis of the liver comes to mind first. That is not unusual since alcohol is the most common cause of cirrhosis in the U.S. Cirrhosis of the liver can be fatal because damaged liver can no longer perform the essential processes necessary to keep the body functioning optimally. The liver is designed to work hard to keep the body healthy and from being overrun with poisonous substances. Cirrhosis affects the liver’s ability to convert food into energy and prevent the organ from removing toxins from the body. The liver in people with cirrhosis contains scar tissue that reduces the flow of blood through the organ.
Heavy drinking and failing to consume enough healthy food are both factors in cirrhosis of the liver. People with cirrhosis of the liver usually experience symptoms like itching and swelling. It is harder for those with cirrhosis to fight off infections like a common cold and the flu. They may also suffer from impaired mental function that can lead to poor judgment.
Those with cirrhosis may experience several symptoms including exhaustion, loss of appetite, nausea, weight loss, impotence, weakness and fatigue. With late stage cirrhosis, sufferers may experience jaundice, which is yellowing of the eyes, skin due to the buildup of bile, the fluid that the liver secretes to help with digestion of food. What is sad about cirrhosis of the liver from drinking is that the harmful effects may be avoided delayed if the person diagnosed with ceases drinking and lives a healthy lifestyle. However persons addicted to alcohol are generally not nearly as concerned with their personal health as they are about their next drink.
5Drinking Alcohol Can Cause Birth Defects
Alcohol can lead to birth defects. Pregnant women who drink put their unborn babies at risk for fetal alcohol syndrome. A woman is at risk of giving birth to a child with fetal alcohol syndrome if she drinks while pregnant.Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) is a condition that affects the developing fetus when alcohol passes through the placental barrier. Experts indicate that drinking alcohol while pregnant is the leading cause of birth defects and developmental disability in the U.S. About 40,000 babies are affected by FAS every year. The effects of fetal alcohol syndrome include physical and mental disabilities, learning difficulties, behavioral issues and lifelong impairments that prevent individuals from reaching their full potential.
Children suffering from fetal alcohol syndrome often have abnormal facial characteristics, stunted growth, brain damage, organ defects, problems paying attention and poor coordination. These children are also experience poor coordination and limited fine motor and gross motor skills. Fetal alcohol syndrome not only impacts the affected child, it takes a toll on society with billions being spent each year on services for children with FAS. Even if a woman stops drinking when she learns of her pregnancy, can still have a baby with FAS. Alcohol can affect the developing fetus very early. That is why any sexually active woman of childbearing age who is not using birth control should avoid alcohol. There is no cure for fetal alcohol syndrome, once the damage is done to a child, he or she must suffer for life. Abstaining from alcohol is the best practice for any woman who is at a stage of life where she may become pregnant.
4Drinking Alcohol Can Increase Aggression
Alcohol is often a factor in physical and sexual violence. Alcohol should never be used as an excuse for violence and is not the underlying reason for this behavior. However drinking can and does contribute to family violence orviolence against women and children. In the home, a person who physically abuses his or her spouse can become more aggressive when alcohol is involved. The individual who perpetrates the violence feels less inhibited, which results in an escalation of violent behavior toward a spouse or children. This can result in actions such as hitting, kicking, shoving, verbal abuse or the use of weapons like knives or guns. Children who are sexually abused are often the helpless victims of drunken adults.
In these situations there may be a pattern of drinking and abuse that persists for years. Similarly alcohol is often a factor in violent acts toward other people including date rape and gang rape. Every year there are stories about young people being sexually assaulted by either trusted friends or strangers, and in many cases alcohol is a factor. On college campuses, a party where binge drinking occurs may lead to a student becoming vulnerable when he or she is observed as too drunk to be aware of what is happening. As a result one or more persons may decide to take advantage of the situation by having forced sex with the individual. When caught, the perpetrators try to make excuses such as “she wanted it,” or he did not resist.” It is obvious that an individual who is drunk is not in a position to consent to sex nor to defend themselves in such a situation.
3Drinking Alcohol can Lead to Fatal Vehicle Crashes.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2012, there were 10,000 people who died in alcohol related car crashes. Millions of people go to bars and attend social events where they drink heavily and then get in their cars and drive. The impaired judgment and invincibility that comes with drinking alcohol causes people to think that they can drive without problems. As a result, persons who drive while impaired end up in accidents where they injure or kill themselves and or others.
Alcohol alters depth perception as well as the skills necessary for operating a vehicle safely. When turning onto a busy highway, a drunk driver may not be able to judge the distance of an oncoming car when turning onto a busy highway. He or she may exceed safe speeds, drive the wrong way or veer off the road into crowded spaces. All of these actions put lives at risk. Getting arrested for driving while alcohol impaired is the beginning of a lengthy criminal record for many who choose to drink and drive.
Regardless of the circumstances, a driving while impaired charge has repercussions. Those who are caught drinking and driving spend time in jail and pay thousands in court cost and fees. Assuming that a drunk driver has not killed or maimed anyone, regaining the privilege to drive often requires paying more fees and excessively higher insurance premiums. A person arrested for driving while impaired may also regain only restricted driving privileges. The criminal record that comes with drunk driving can impact the ability to get a job, purchase a home and live as a responsible citizen, making it difficult for the individual to function as a respected member of society.
2Drinking Alcohol is a Gateway to Other Drug Use
Alcohol is a known as a gateway drug. The term “gateway” refers to a situation where people get introduced to substance abuse by first using drugs that are easy to get. Gateway drugs are usually inexpensive and are readily available. This is what makes alcohol the drug of choice for many young people who are seeking a quick high and although it is not legal for persons under 21 to purchase, it is not difficult for young people to get alcohol by paying older friends, using fake identification cards or sneaking drinks from a parent’s liquor cabinet or wine cellar.
Young people who abuse alcohol are likely to abuse other drugs. The fact is that alcohol changes brain chemistry, leading to the desire for other drugs. Once young people get a taste of alcohol and become accustomed to the high from drinking, they often seek what they think is a better high through other drugs. Often when a young person takes his or her first drink, it is in an environment of recreational drug use where along with the alcohol, all types of drugs are available. These drugs may include marijuana, cocaine, meth as well as painkillers and other prescription drugs. As a result of combining these drugs with alcohol a young person may become addicted to several substances which begins a vicious cycle of addiction. In fact, some experts say that most young people between the ages of 12 and 17 who are heavy alcohol users also use illicit drugs. This is why it is imperative that young people not experiment with alcohol. One night of experimentation can lead to a lifetime of addiction.
1Drinking Alcohol Can Ruin Your Life
Alcohol is dangerous because it has the power to change a person’s life forever in the worst kind of way. The teenager who takes one drink on a dare and gets behind the wheel and has an accident where there are fatalities not only faces criminal charges, but may forgo any chance of attending college and enjoying the privileges and opportunities that come with being a carefree young adult. There are many former recovering alcoholics who live each day on the edge because they are afraid that the will relapse and start drinking again.
When an alcoholic is willing to work hard at it, treatment can be successful, however, every day requires the recovering alcoholic to focus on one thing—not taking a drink. Not taking a drink when one is an alcoholic is in some cases like not being able to eat when hungry. This is how dangerously powerful alcohol is and no one is immune to its effects. Imagine drinking for several years, deciding to quit and being successful at staying sober. You rebuild your life, meet and marry a supportive spouse. You have a home, lovely children, a decent paying job and all seems to be going well. One day someone comes into your home and assaults you and your family to the appoint where you need hospitalization, burns down your home, steals your identity and runs up thousands of dollars of bills in your name. You are devastated. All that you have worked so hard for is now in shambles. That is the effect that deciding to take one drink can have on the alcoholic who for whatever reason decides to return to drinking. Once again after so much hard work to rebuild his or her life, the dangerous power of alcohol leaves the alcoholic’s life and the life of his or her loved one’s in shambles.
Anyone who does not consume alcohol is better off leaving alcoholic beverages alone. Most people who start drinking think they have the knowledge and will power to limit the amount they drink. It is true that some people take a drink now and then and never encounter any of the earlier discussed problems. However no one knows for sure how he or she will react to that first drink. The result could be that one drink leads to a fatal accident or other life altering encounter.
The first drink is often the gateway to the use of other harmful substances. There are people who are more prone to addiction than others due to genetics or other reasons. However sense no one knows prior to taking that first drink what the outcome will be, before experimenting with alcohol, the following questions should be asked? “Is this something I can live without, and am I willing to risk throwing my entire future away for a swig of an alcoholic beverage?”