Alcohol has recently been linked to some concerning health issues in people who drink excessively.
Health issues associated with consuming alcohol are not new news, however, the consumption of alcohol has been exclusively identified as a cause of certain cancers.
A publication from the Wiley Online Library outlines the newly discovered information, “There is strong evidence that alcohol causes cancer at seven sites in the body and probably others. Current estimates suggest that alcohol-attributable cancers at these sites make up 5.8% of all cancer deaths worldwide. Confirmation of specific biological mechanisms by which alcohol increases the incidence of each type of cancer is not required to infer that alcohol is a cause.”
5.8% of all cancer diagnoses is not a small number, so how do we address this climbing statistic when alcohol is “[culturally] a part of food, celebrations, and society?”
The good news is that “63% of severe alcoholics exhibit significant cognitive improvements” after two weeks of abstaining from drinking. While this is excellent news, abstaining from alcohol is not easy for “severe alcoholics.”
Addiction and substance abuse disorders are not only challenging for the people dealing with them, but also for the families and medical professionals trying to understand them. Addiction compromises a person’s “cognitive functioning, including lack of attention, impairments in executive functioning, memory loss, and more.”
What should a person trying to abstain from alcohol expect?:
- Depending on how much a person drinks, withdrawal symptoms are to be expected within the first twenty-four hours of abstaining. Withdrawal symptoms are temporary. Symptoms include nausea, anxiety, sweating, trembling, and cravings.
- For people who drink heavily, complete abstinence after three days may present the risk of tremors, seizures, and potential hallucinations.
- After a week, the risk of experiencing more adverse side effects is much less. The risk of cardiovascular disease drops significantly.
- The liver begins to repair itself.
- Withdrawal symptoms subside significantly after a month.
- Reverse in brain damage.
- After six months, a person can expect more energy, better-looking skin, and improved liver function.
- After twelve months, bone density increases, and all risks associated with alcohol consumption become less concerning.
If you or someone you know is trying to withdraw from alcohol, the following mentions are a few signs to look out for:
- Improved & Strained relationships
- Mood swings
- Trouble sleeping
- Change in appetite
- Extra money
- Feeling better/happier
- More energy
- Clearer thought process
- Better-looking skin
- Improved quality of life
- Longer lifespan
- Liver repair
- Decreased risk of disease
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