Sunday, January 19, 2020
Alcoholism :: essays research papers
The Physical Effects of Alcohol on the Body Alcoholism is a disease which, in many cases, appears to be a genetically transmitted biochemical defect. However, in other instances, it appears to be caused by overwhelming bombardment of the physiology of the body by repeated episodes of heavy drinking resulting in the incapacity to handle alcohol normally. Psychological and/or social pressures may aggravate the disease. It is characterized by a typical progression of drinking behavior that requires an average of twelve and one-half years of drinking to reach fully developed, overt symptoms and an average of eighteen years to reach the stage of deterioration. It is seen most frequently in those of Eskimo or American Indian descent. Among those of Caucasian descent, the Irish, French and Scandinavians exhibit a far higher incidence than do other European population groups. The disease is further characterized by physical damage in all system of the body, the most serious of which is encountered in the cardiovascular system, th e nervous system and the liver. In these three areas the damage may eventually prove fatal. Living the life of an alcoholic is hard work - the body suffers. There is complete unanimity of opinion that alcoholic drinking is very bad for the heart. Not only does the alcoholic suffer increased risk of heart disease, but he may also sustain direct damage to the heart from alcohol. Alcoholic drinking results in: Increased lipid levels which may result in arteriosclerosis and increased risk of stroke and possible early death. Possible development of alcoholic cardiomyopathy, resulting from injury to the energy-producing portion of the heart muscle, which may lead to death from heart failure. Damage to the nervous system in alcoholics has been recognized for many years. Some of the possible neurological effects of alcoholism include: Development of diseases caused by vitamin B deficiencies. Impairment of overall mental functioning. Some of the ancient physicians recognized an impairment of overall mental functioning in those who drank excessively and recent brain cell studies suggest that an alcoholic literally kills off brain cells at a more rapid pace than normal. If one destroys brain cells rapidly enough and for a long enough period of time, eventually the "cell bank" of reserves will be depleted, and the subject will begin to show impaired mental functioning. This appears to be the sequence of events observed in the EEG tracings and clinical observations of alcoholics. The gastrointestinal system is prominent among the organ systems damaged by alcohol.