There is a wide spectrum of health issues associated with alcohol dependence and abuse. Binge drinking and addiction can lead to these disorders, ranging from the somewhat mild blackouts to the severe and potentially fatal chronic diseases associated with alcoholism. There are, in some cases, health benefits that come with drinking moderate amounts of alcohol. However, if people are prone to excessive drinking, it is best to avoid alcohol altogether.
Excessive alcohol abuse can lead to chronic health issues such as cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver. According to the CDC, alcohol abuse can also lead to various types of cancers including those of the mouth, throat, and liver.
Intoxicated people have a much higher risk of harming either themselves or others while under the influence. Drunk driving, accidents in the home, and drowning are just some of the ways that people can cause undue stress and harm to their bodies.
According to the Mayo Clinic, as many as 40,000 babies are born in the US each year with fetal alcohol syndrome. This is the result of the mother drinking to excess during pregnancy. While there are no universal symptoms, there are certain signs such as heart defects and deformities that may appear in the child after birth.
Alcohol dependence occurs when a person displays symptoms of withdrawal when they are without alcohol, and must drink to excess simply to feel “normal.” It can affect their health very negatively, as blackouts and memory loss may occur.
Not all alcohol is bad for you. Red wine contains antioxidants, and if consumed in moderation (1 glass a day), it can lower your cholesterol and help to prevent heart disease. According to the Mayo Clinic, in addition to lowering cholesterol, wine in moderation can also help to prevent blood clots and artery damage.
Alcohol can be both good and bad for your health. This is why drinking in moderation is key. As long as you are not an excessive drinker, you can enjoy a glass of wine or a cocktail on occasion. However, if you drink to excess you are increasing your risk for a myriad of health problems.