Medical Aspects of Alcohol and Alcoholism
1. Alcoholism: classified as a disease, characterized by a loss of control.
2. Hangover Effects: mini-withdrawal from a depressant drug; causes agitation upon detoxification. Symptoms include: headache, irritability, dehydration, upset stomach, anxiety, nausea, jumpiness.
3. Malnutrition: alcohol has no nutritional value; essential vitamins, minerals, proteins are missing from the diet of a person who abuses alcohol over a long period of time. Alcohol interferes with digestion of food that is eaten, and with the body’s ability to utilize nutrients.
4. Blood Sugar Levels: increases with the consumption of alcohol, (causes drowsiness, impaired circulation, thirst, excessive appetite, frequent urination) and decreases upon detoxification (causes fatigue, confusion, blurred vision, lack of concentration, irritability, headaches, depression).
5. Blood Production and Clotting: alcohol contributes to anemia, interferes with white blood cell reserves and production of blood platelets.
6. Liver Damage: alcohol abuse leads to enlarged liver (fatty liver), hepatitis, or jaundice. Continued abuse can lead to cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver which can be fatal.
7. Stomach Ulcers and Gastritis: irritation caused by alcohol to lining of stomach; can lead to severe bleeding.
8. Brain Damage: chronic alcohol abuse can lead to permanent brain damage or psychosis.
9. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS): alcohol abuse during pregnancy can cause physical and/or mental defects. Children are smaller in weight and may have deformed appearance and/or behavioral problems. Fathers may contribute to this as well.
10. Sexual Dysfunction: mate sterility and impotence. Interferes with sexual performance. Contributes to secondary sexual characteristics.
The above information was compiled from the studies of E. Morton Jellinek. Jellinek was a renowned bio-statistician from Stanford University who coined the expression “the disease concept of alcoholism”.
Thank You and God Bless, Kevin Eldridge