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Alcohol abuse is one of the most important social problems that we are facing today. Its complications have crossed the medical margins, and this behavioral issue now has repercussions on the social and psychological fields. Because alcohol abuse has become an addiction, it makes it even harder for people to realize the negative impact that it has on the lives of its victims. Nevertheless, people who constantly overuse alcohol automatically put themselves at risk of several problems.
Alcoholism is one of the main causes of family instabilities. One in 4 cases of divorce is attributable to one parent being an alcoholic. And as if this wasn’t enough, children of alcoholic parents (either one of both) are more likely to mimic their parent’s behavior when they grow up; meaning that the consequences of this behavioral problem transcends generations.
In addition to this, children of alcoholic parents are more likely to suffer child abuse (physical and sexual) and child neglect.
Chronic alcoholics also have their share of mental troubles, which is very far from being neglected.
Such people generally experience visual and tactile hallucinations, and when the substance is combined with other drugs (such as cocaine or marijuana), it is a real cocktail for an unfortunately regrettable “out of the world” experience.
Also, chronic alcoholics who have gone without consuming alcohol for 2-3 days generally experience a condition called delirium tremens, which is characterized with uncontrolled agitation, hallucinations (such as visual and tactile), restlessness, palpitations and sweating. This is due to the physiological effects of alcohol withdrawal. Because alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, withdrawing from it would cause symptoms of brain hyperexcitation. This generally occurs when an alcohol abuser is being hospitalized for one medical condition or another, thus being separated and deprived from alcohol.
Medical complications of alcohol are by far the most common, the most discussed, the most recognized and the most treated. Although alcohol is a toxic substance whose effects primarily target the brain, its systemic effects affect the entire body.
Fatty liver disease and alcoholic hepatitis
Alcohol abuse has its most important repercussions on the liver.
Overuse of alcohol could lead to alcoholic hepatitis. This is due to the fact that detoxification of alcohol consumes a lot of energy, and this first depletes the hepatocytes from their energy sources. Secondly, alcohol itself directly affects the mitochondria of the hepatocytes, thus causing toxic injury. With this double-effect, the energy levels of the hepatocytes are markedly depleted, leading to a decreased metabolism of triglycerides in the liver and thus accumulation of the same. This results in what is called alcoholic fatty liver disease. At the beginning stages, if the patient’s alcohol consumption decreases and becomes controlled, the damages and changed can be attenuated and the liver could reverse to normal. But if the alcohol intake continues, the disease state progresses to a level at which there will be no turning back.