Alcohol has been part of the society for many centuries.
It has played a role in religious ceremonies, social gatherings, and meals. Our society accepts alcohol consumption but in a moderate stance. However, too much of something will always lead to serious problems. Alcohol abuse can lead to serious physical ailments and eventually, death.To start, there are two types of alcohol drinkers.
One is the social drinker, wherein drinking is in moderation and prevents any type of intoxication. On the other hand, there is the unwise drinker, where the person drinks to avoid personal problems and eventually becomes a habit (Julianne, Anthony, & Brandon, 1996).Problems of alcohol abuse can occur within a short-term or long-term period. Within a shorter period, one may experience driving impairment, unpleasant reactions with medications, and negative interpersonal relations. Consequently, a person who drinks of too much alcohol over an extended period develops certain health problems.
These are discussed in the succeeding paragraphs.One such health problems is liver disease. A known liver malfunction due to long-term alcohol drinking is the alcoholic hepatitis or the inflammation of the liver. When a person has alcoholic hepatitis, he/she may experience abdominal pain, yellowing of the skin, urine, and eyes (jaundice), and fever.
If the person persistently drinks even though he/she knows of the present condition, it can be fatal but often, when a person stops drinking, this condition can be reversed. Another type of alcohol-related illness is liver cirrhosis, in a nonprofessional’s term; there is an apparent scarring of the liver.In contrast, this condition is irreversible that even if the person stops drinking, he/she may only have chances of survival. Often, the last resort of a person who has liver cirrhosis is a liver transplant. People who ultimately stopped drinking alcohol who have liver cirrhosis may only require treatment (The Long-term effects of Alcohol Abuse, 2008).
Moreover, alcohol abuse may also lead to pancreatitis. Primarily, the function of the pancreas is to release hormones responsible for regulating some of the body’s processes, such as insulin that regulates the body’s blood sugar level. Moreover, it helps in digestion of food by releasing important enzymes.However, excessive drinking may lead to inflammation of the pancreas or pancreatitis. A person with this condition will experience excessive weight loss and extreme abdominal pain that could be fatal (The Long term effects of alcohol abuse, 2008).Alcohol abuse not only has effects on the short term but also has negative health implications for the long haul.
Alcohol abuse is also related to cancer and heart problems. Drinking in moderation may benefit the heart, especially for people with heart attacks, such as women who undergo menopause and men over the age of 45.Nonetheless, drinking on immoderate amounts will contribute to kinds of stroke, heart disease, and hypertension. Cancers from alcohol abuse may also take place, such as breast cancer among women, cancer of the rectum and colon, and cancer of the esophagus.Other long-term effects include loss of brain cells, epilepsy, nerve damage, irritated stomach lining, infertility, obesity, muscle disease, vitamin deficiency, and sexual problems (The Long term effects of Alcohol Abuse, 2008).And yet another type of substance abuse is cigarette smoking.
Even though its harmful effects are widely known, large numbers of advertisements and peer pressure still lead to heavy consumption. Addiction to smoking may come surprisingly, as many of smokers realize later on of their addiction.Short-term effects of smoking are halitosis (bad breath), or lost of friends because of prevention from inhaling smoke. Like alcohol abuse, cigarette smoking has long-term effects and could also lead to death (Julianne, Anthony, & Brandon, 1996).
The substance comprising cigarettes that cause addiction is nicotine. Like any other drug, once nicotine enters the body, it creates normality inside the system resulting to addiction. Reasons why people smoke vary such as peer pressure or family influences.It is a fact, that smoking has no beneficial effect to the body and it is not a need unlike sleep, water, and food. It contains nicotine and cyanide, two substances, which when taken in high doses will cause health problems.Cigarette smoking has many long –term effects especially to the second-hand smokers.
Some of the obvious effects include wrinkles and yellow teeth, cancer, emphysema (breakdown of lung tissue), and organ failure. Smoking, similarly give negative effects on the heart.Consequently, these diseases decrease a person’s physical activity and leads to death. Smokers also have an increased risk of osteoporosis, wherein the bones lose its density and eventually become brittle. Other than these diseases, smokers have a decreased sexual performance and some develop infertility.This applies to both men and women.
Significantly, women who smoke and are on birth control pills, increase their chances of having heart problems. Smokers, because of decreased lungpower, have insufficient supply of oxygen that may lead to bad skin or a condition called psoriasis. More importantly, cigarette smoking affects a person’s immune system.For instance are colds, flu, and pneumonia. Smoking also decreases a person’s ability to initiate healing upon injuries because there is an inadequate supply of collagen, a substance that helps treat injured ligaments and tendons (Hirsch, 2007).
Having reviewed pertinent literature on the negative effects of alcohol abuse and cigarette smoking, there must be ardent efforts to be able to curb both.Community health programs that shall effectively raise awareness on the negative health outcomes of these have to be carefully supported by policy and deployed to key communities. This task is a collaborative effort among the government, interest groups, and citizens who must all lend support to this thrust.ReferencesJulianne, A. & Brandon, H. (1996).
Substance abuse. Retrieved on February 12, 2008 from http://library.thinkquest.org/3354/Resource_Center/Virtual_Library/Substance_Abuse/subabuse.
htm.Hirsch, L. (2007). Smoking. Retrieved on February 12, 2008 from http://www.
kidshealth.org/teen/drug_alcohol/tobacco/smoking.html.The Long Term Effects of Alcohol Abuse. (2008).
Retrieved on February 12, 2008 from http://www.alcohol-information.com/The_Long_Term_Effects_of_Alcohol_Abuse.html.