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Alcohol Awareness Month: Addiction and Health Concerns

Alcohol Awareness Month:  Addiction and Health ConcernsIn our social culture, drinking with family and friends is common for celebrating special occasions and events. Drinking alcohol has become notably accepted in our society, and with that acceptance and desensitization comes a lot more alcohol abuse than most people are aware of, or willing to acknowledge.

We all know the guidelines of the healthy version of drinking. A glass of wine or liquor for women and two for men is usually the allotted daily amount recommended for the health benefits to transpire. Despite the health claims of moderate drinking, not everyone should drink. Do not drink if you are pregnant or trying to become pregnant, take medications that counteract with alcohol, have a medical condition that alcohol effects negatively, or if you plan to operate machinery or drive a vehicle.

Did you know?
Alcohol plays a significant role in your bodies overall health. A full 24 hours after an episode of drinking, your immune system is more susceptible to disease and infection.

Your brain can be severely affected by alcohol. Have you ever woken up dizzy, with a headache, unable to remember everything that happened the night before? This is due to the adverse effect that alcohol has on our brains. The neurons and neurotransmitters in the brain are responsible for a multitude of functions from memory recall, motor senses, to movement and coordination. These tiny pathways and transmitters can show both short-term and long-term damage after binging or prolonged alcohol use.

After drinking, the brain’s neurotransmitters will try to compensate and “fix” the damage that has affected its functions, but with this often comes more damage like increased withdrawal symptoms or hangovers, an increased tolerance level, and the need for more alcohol or dependence on the substance.

The functions that are damaged by alcohol abuse are often longstanding. If you stop drinking, some of the damage will lessen, or improve problem-solving, memory recall, attention span, and motor functions, but this will take time. Researchers usually see improvements to the brain after several months or years after abstinence takes place.

Drinking can increase your risk of certain cancers, like breast cancer, oral, esophageal, liver and throat cancer. It also harms the blood vessels in your pancreas, which inhibits digestion and damages the liver. The livers of alcoholics usually develop fatty deposits known as steatosis or fatty liver disease. These implications can contribute to more severe disorders like cirrhosis or fibrosis of the liver.

Heavy drinking also damages the heart, which can lead to heart palpitations and irregular beating, high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, and cardiomyopathy.

There are benefits to moderate drinking, but the problem is that with the acceptance and social aspect of alcohol, many people are at risk of becoming dependent on it for one reason or another. It’s quite common to start out drinking socially and to then need it more often as your tolerance level increases.

April is Alcohol Awareness Month, and the National Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependence shines a light on the first weekend in April every year as the weekend of abstinence. If you have trouble avoiding alcohol for those three days, they encourage you to speak to you physician or therapist about getting help.

Arcadia Medical Associates
Arcadia Medical Associate’s Medical Team and staff are committed to providing a personalized, pleasant, and discreet experience, exceptional care, and are eager to assist you with any of your healthcare needs. Their offices are fluent in English and Spanish, and they have three locations to serve you.

If you or someone you know is suffering from alcohol-related disease states or disorders, please contact Arcadia Medical Associates today at the following locations:

www.arcadia-medical.com

Arcadia Medical Associates, Sarasota Office
2415 University Parkway, Bldg 3, Suite 111,
Sarasota, FL 34243
Phone: (941) 359-3337

Arcadia Medical Associates, Arcadia Office
425 Nursing Home Drive,
Arcadia, FL 34266
Phone: (863) 993-2966

Arcadia Medical Associates, Wauchula Office
324 S. 6th Avenue,
Wauchula, FL 33873
Phone: (863) 473-4733

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