Alcohol and Health
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that excessive drinking was responsible for 1 in 10 deaths among working-age adults aged 20 to 64 years. And from 2006 to 2010 it was responsible for 88,000 deaths, on average, ending lives by up to 30 years prematurely.*
Just as those are staggering statistics, the moment a person begins and sticks with a program of quitting or recovering, the threat of future physical damage can begin to diminish.
Ask an ex-problem drinker and they will tell you the effects of alcohol had on their physical well-being are too many to count. Those who’ve recovered will also tell it can and often does get better.
Short and Long Term Risks of Excessive Drinking
Excessive drinking is defined by the CDC as binge or heavy drinking, Binge drinking is a one-time occasion of 4+ drinks for a woman and 5+ drinks for a man. Heavy drinking is 8+ drink in a week for a woman and 15+ drinks for a man.
The short-term risks of excessive drinking include, but are not limited to:
- Personal injury – Including auto accidents, falls, household mishaps, burns, drowning
- Violence — Domestic abuse, fights, sexual assault
- Alcohol poisoning — Resulting from an elevated blood alcohol content
- Sexual Consequences — Sexually transmitted diseases, unintended pregnancies
- Stillbirth, Birth Defects — Related damage in a pregnant woman
The long-term risks of excessive drinking include, but are not limited to:
- High blood pressure, heart disease, digestive disorders and more
- Cancer of the mouth, esophagus, liver, throat, even breast
- Learning and memory disorders
- Mental health problems
- Social problems such as lost productivity, unemployment, alienation
- Domestic problems like divorce, loss of children, relationship problems
Types of Detoxification from Alcohol
Each of us is an individual with unique DNA. Alcohol in its unique consumption, history, metabolism, and other physical factors prohibit hard and fast rules regarding detoxification or detox for short. What we do know is that detox is a natural process which occurs when the body rids itself of toxins from alcohol. When a person seeks the guidance of a physician or medical professional trained on the process, the World Health Organization calls it physician-assisted medical withdrawal and treatment centers often call it medical withdrawal.
The severity of the withdrawal is often divided into mild, moderate and severe alcohol withdrawal syndromes. Each individual doesn’t now know until the process has begun which category they will fall into. Under almost all circumstances, a physician should be consulted at the outset. Also, do not assume that because you have successfully detoxed on your own in the past, you will be able to do so again in the future.
Most individuals even in a fit of desperation will experience embarrassment and reticence at admitting we have drank so much that we may die of a heart attack or seizure while coming off consumption. Thousands who’ve experienced this will also tell a person or their loved one: swallow your pride and save your life. A person can even walk into any emergency room, explain the situation with complete honesty and transparency, and expect medical withdrawal assistance to begin immediately.
Depending upon a person’s body, age, physical condition, metabolism and a host of other variables, there is a long road of physical recovery ahead. However, there are a number of things which can be done or started immediately.
One is a full physical with full disclosure of everything; that physical may include blood labs, x-rays, and a thorough visual examination. From there a physician is likely to provide immediate recommendations.
Most people can begin following doctor’s orders at that moment. They are likely to include a change in diet—not necessarily an impossible-to-follow overhaul—which includes better nutrition, less harmful foods and fewer empty calories.
A physician is also likely to recommend simple vitamin supplements to continue not only during the detox process—which may take up to 28 days— but also begin building a healthier you. Recommended vitamins might started with B1 (thiamine) and include other supplements depending upon what needs replenished.
The last two changes may involve a starter regimen of exercise, and a proper amount of rest and sleep. Exercise may be as simple as a walk around the block to begin with, and graduate up to a half mile, then more. The goal is to not run a marathon, but awaken a body badly riddled by alcohol. Most who abused alcohol got very little sleep and very poor sleep when they did go to bed. Typically, one of the first gifts of sobriety is quality, uninterrupted sleep on a regular basis. People who thought that alcohol was a “sleep aid” soon discovered that it was just the opposite.
The National Sleep Foundation also makes a solid differentiation between sleep and rest, recommending both. Sleep is an imperative for all humans. And rest is an aid in the interim. A short 15-minute rest in the middle of a work day, after a meal, or when you feeling fatigued, will pay off later in the day. A short rest can reduce stress, improve alertness and concentration, and provide motivation. It’s also necessary for muscles and organs who’re adjusting a life without alcohol.
Don’t Quit, Do Be Consistent
The human body is complex and some physical recovery will surprise an individual with how quickly the human body seemingly repairs itself. With other ailments the progress may seem slow. Consistency is key. As is talking to your physician about changes which occur during your restoration of physical well-being. Having one physician who knows on an ongoing basis exactly what medications you are taking and physical exercise you are engaged in will benefit you in the short and long term.
If you know someone who is ready to return to health, today is the day to call 561-841-1296.