Alcohol is one of the most commonly used recreational drugs in the world . It has been around for millions of years throughout various ages and is now widely available in many forms all over the world. It is heavily consumed in some countries more than others especially all over Europe, North America and Russia, with Hungary coming on the top of the list in 2016 with 21.2% of its total population from both genders having an alcohol use disorder (AUD) followed by Russia with 20.9% of its total population.
Aknown as alcohol use disorder (AUD), Alcoholism is a chronic disease characterized by uncontrolled drinking due to emotional and physical dependence on alcohol. Nowadays it is one of the most common disorders around the world with over 3 million cases per year. Alcoholics are not capable of stopping alcohol use despite its adverse social, occupational and health related consequences because of its lasting changes on the brain that make the individual extremely vulnerable to relapsing after treatment. Luckily, no matter how severe the disease is, there are plenty of evidence-based treatments available to help people suffering from this issue before they harm themselves or those around them.
Risk factors for developing alcoholism :
Not all people are at risk of becoming alcoholics, but the risk increases more in the following situations:
- When you start drinking at an early age.That is the reason why most countries have set a legal age for alcohol consumption, which is over 21 years old, but it differs from country to country.
- Genetics play a very important role as well. If there is a close family member with a history of alcoholism,there is a 60% chance of a person becoming an alcoholic in the future.
- A past history of mental health disorders and psychiatric conditions like depression and PTSD also make you very vulnerable to being affected by drinking.
- The society around you greatly influences your view of drinking,your family, culture, religion, and work environment are very much related to your relationship to alcohol and drinking.
- The environment around you can have a great connection to your risk of alcoholism as people living closer to stores selling alcohol or bars have easier access to alcohol and are more likely to participate in drinking.
- Your income plays a big role in the amount of alcohol you consume. The higher your income is the more likely it is that you consume more alcohol on a daily basis.
Forms of alcohol misuse :
The CDC has defined heavy drinking as consuming more than 15 drinks per week for males and more than 8 per week for females, which is a different aspect from binge drinking which is very common nowadays especially in stressful situations as the current pandemic. It is defined as alcohol consumption that raises the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to more than 0.08% which corresponds to 5 or more drinks in a single occasion for men and 4 or more drinks for women generally within 2 hours.
Those two are different from alcohol use disorder, which is a severe disease in which the person is unable to stop alcohol consumption despite it causing personal and professional disorders, and building tolerance to drinking meaning you need more drinks to get the same effect as before.
⇒ Now, let’s discuss short- & long-term effects of alcohol on the Body.