Alcohol Use Disorder | What It Is, Risks, Bad Effects & Treatment

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.

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.

Now, let’s discuss bad effects of alcohol on the body. 

1. Liver

Liver is the organ responsible for filtering toxins and regulating blood sugar and cholesterol levels and aiding food digestion. It is one of the most seriously impacted organs by alcoholism, as the hepatocytes are the chief cells responsible for alcohol dehydrogenase production, the enzyme responsible for alcohol oxidation and metabolism.

Alcohol related liver disease is a spectrum of hepatic lesions that harm the body in the long run. It starts with alcoholic fatty liver disease or steatosis which is the warning sign for high alcohol consumption and it is reversible with the proper treatment, then comes alcoholic hepatitis – different from viral hepatitis- where the liver damage starts producing symptoms for the alcoholic to notice like upper right quadrant abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and  jaundice. It then leads to pericellular fibrosis until the final stage of frank cirrhosis, where liver scarring occurs ending in liver failure.

It also increases your chances of getting hepatocellular carcinoma in the future.