More about Alcohol

The progressive nature of alcoholism means that if you are dependent, you will require more and more alcohol over time to achieve the same mood-altering effect. This is how the illness develops. So, for example, where a couple of glasses of wine might do at first, this can easily progress to needing one, two, three or more bottles, or switching to spirits.

The physical aspect of the illness can manifest itself in a dependence upon alcohol, where the alcoholic will suffer withdrawal symptoms when they stop drinking. Physical withdrawal can occur in daily drinkers and binge drinkers, with symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, sweating, shaking, fits, headaches and palpitations to name a few. In extreme cases, alcohol withdrawal can cause death and this is why it is advisable not to attempt it alone, The Basement Recovery Project can help you with this.

The physical aspect of the illness is also evident when an alcoholic takes their first drink. Described in 12 step programmes as the ‘phenomenon of craving’, upon taking the first drink people with an addictive relationship with alcohol experience a desire for more, which will override any rationale for not having more to drink. This explains why alcohol dependent people will continue to drink, even in the face of serious consequences such as losing relationships or their job as well as all the health related issues.

The mental aspect of alcoholism centres on obsessive and compulsive thought patterns with respect to alcohol. Time and again, we hear people describe how thoughts of alcohol enter their mind regularly; at stressful times, successful times but also when there is no obvious reason for wanting a drink. They describe looking forward to finishing work just so they could have a drink. They avoid participating in leisure activities in order to have a drink. They live for the weekends, when they can sleep off their hangovers undisturbed. They get annoyed with partners, children or friends who would get in the way of their drinking. Alcohol, slowly but surely, starts to be a major consideration in their lives – and their lives are rearranged around alcohol accordingly, even when they are not actually physically drinking.

2016 New government alcohol unit guidelines

The government’s alcohol guidelines are changing to reflect new evidence about the link between alcohol and health harms, particularly cancer. New guidance includes changes to the amount men and women can regularly drink, one-off drinking sessions and advice for drinking in pregnancy. Read more…

Alcohol Related Health Risks Include:

  • Anxiety and depression
  • Sexual difficulties such as impotence
  • Impaired judgement leading to accidents and injury
  • Slowed breathing and heartbeat
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Suffocation through choking on your own vomit
  • Potentially fatal poisoning
  • Increased obesity (leads to other health risks)
  • Damage to an unborn child
  • Liver disease
    • fatty liver
    • steatohepatitis
    • fibrosis
    • cirrhosis
  • Osteoporosis (thinning of the bones)
  • Pancreatitis
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Infertility
  • Heart disease
  • Raised blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Epilepsy and seizures
  • Suicide, self-harm and psychosis
  • Dementia (see memory and brain damage)
  • Memory and brain damage
  • Increased risk of cancers, particularly breast and gullet
  • Mental health problems including clinical depression