Recently, I have been learning about modifiable risk factors that cause illnesses in our country. I have learned about the dangers of excessive drinking and this knowledge has prompted me to write to you to discuss your excessive drinking habit. I hope at the end of the letter, you will appreciate my good intentions and effect change.
Excessive alcohol consumption has adverse effects on human health both in the short term and the long term. Remember that excessive alcohol consumption is anything above “12 ounces of beer, 4 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof spirits” per day, which from my experience, you regularly surpass (HopkinsMedicine, 2022). In the short term, excessive drinking affects various parts of the body leading to effects such as vomiting, lowered inhibitions, drowsiness, and loss of coordination and consciousness among others. While these effects may wear off after a short period, they can pose adverse health risks. When an individual loses consciousness and vomits, they can easily choke on their own vomit. Furthermore, lowered inhibitions predispose people to risky behavior such as violence leading to injuries and fatalities and unsafe sexual behaviors which can lead to sexually transmitted diseases and other dangerous health conditions. Moreover, excessive drinking can cause alcohol poisoning caused high levels of alcohol in the blood and this can lead to hospitalization or death.
In the long term, excessive alcohol consumption will take a serious toll on your health. Statistics show that excessive alcohol use “approximately 95,000 deaths and 2.8 million years of potential life lost (YPLL) each year in the United States from 2011 – 2015” (CDC, 2021). Multiple body areas and functions are adversely affected by excessive alcohol consumption and the damage increases and become more life-threatening the more an individual continues to drink. Chronic long-term drinking will ruin your digestive system. Excessive drinking damages the gastrointestinal tract wall’s tissues through corrosion caused by repeated vomiting and the acidity in some alcoholic drinks. When the damage is done, the intestines’ ability to digest food and absorb vitamins and other nutrients is diminished (CDC, 2021). This will lead to malnutrition. Furthermore, the corrosion of gastrointestinal walls can lead to flaring up of ulcers leading to internal bleeding that can be fatal if not promptly treated. Your circulatory system will also suffer because of excessive drinking. The heart, lungs, and blood vessels are all affected by excessive alcohol consumption. Long-term excessive drinking leads to high blood pressure, causes irregular heartbeats, and can lead to strokes, heart disease, heart attacks, and heart failure. Excessive alcohol consumption also negatively affects your sexual and reproductive health. Chronic excessive drinking inhibits the production of sex hormones and diminishes libido.
Overdrinking also adversely ruins the liver. The liver is responsible for breaking down alcohol. Excessive drinking leads to the inflammation of the liver which leads to liver diseases that culminate in the fatal buildup of toxins in the body. Repeated liver inflammation can lead to cirrhosis which may lead to permanent liver damage (CDC, 2021). Similarly, excessive drinking can lead to pancreatic inflammation leading to pancreatitis and inhibiting the body’s ability to control blood sugar levels. Additionally, excessive alcohol consumption harms the immune system and the skeletal and muscle systems. Chronic excessive consumption reduces bone density and weakens muscle which puts the individual at risk of fractures, cramping, and atrophy. The immune system is also not spared. Heavy drinking reduces an individual’s immune system hence increasing their susceptibility to diseases such as tuberculosis (Volkmann et al, 2015). Chronic excessive drinking also increases the risk for various cancers.
Excessive drinking eventually interferes with the normal functioning of the brain hence inhibiting the brain’s ability to create long-term memories and think rationally. If the drinking continues, alcohol damages the frontal lobe which is in charge of impulse moderation, judgment, and short-term memory (CDC, 2021). Eventually, long-term heavy drinking can result in permanent brain damage and lead to the development of debilitating disorders such as Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome (CDC, 2021). Excessive drinking also puts your mental and psychological well-being at risk. Alcohol diminishes memory, impulse control, and leads to irregular moods and personalities. Alcohol has also been shown to be a factor in several mental health conditions such as mood, sleep, anxiety, and psychotic disorders. Excessive alcohol consumption also leads to addiction. Thus, excessive alcohol consumption negatively affects both physical and psychological well-being. With all these key body parts and functions affected, ultimately, excessive alcohol consumption leads to death.
Therefore, it is crucial and urgent that you stop this behavior, not just for your health but for your social wellbeing. While some people may suggest quitting alcohol abruptly, this option may be unsafe. However, there are other options that have proven to be useful in providing support and treatment for those who want to quit excessive alcohol consumption. Online recovery groups such as Tempest can come in handy particularly during this Covid-19 times. While these groups are easily accessible they require discipline and resolve (Bliuc, 2019). You can also join support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous which provides guidance and support during your journey to end the habit. While these options are useful it is also essential to consult professionals to help guide you with the recovery process. Research indicates that consulting a therapist and getting help in addressing the underlying issues that prompt your excessive drinking and prevent future relapse (Singer et al, 2013). Without resolving these underlying issues, you can easily relapse, and quitting again will be difficult. Additionally, you should seek medical intervention to address any symptoms caused by excessive alcohol use and to reduce the intensity of cravings. By combining these approaches, you can successfully cut excessive drinking and live healthily. However, it is important to remember that the quitting process is not going to be easy, and to be successful one needs resolve, discipline, and to surround themselves with positive influences that can help accomplish this goal.
Bliuc, A. M., Doan, T. N., & Best, D. (2019). Sober social networks: The role of online support groups in recovery from alcohol addiction. Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology, 29(2), 121-132.
CDC. (2021, May 11). Drinking Too Much Alcohol Can Harm Your Health. Learn the Facts | CDC. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/alcohol-use.htm#
HopkinsMedicine. (2021). Alcohol and Heart Health: Separating Fact from Fiction. Johns Hopkins Medicine, Based in Baltimore, Maryland. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/alcohol-and-heart-health-separating-fact-from-fiction#
Singer, J. A., Singer, B. F., & Berry, M. (2013). A meaning-based intervention for addiction: Using narrative therapy and mindfulness to treat alcohol abuse. In The experience of meaning in life (pp. 379-391). Springer, Dordrecht.
Volkmann, T., Moonan, P. K., Miramontes, R., & Oeltmann, J. E. (2015). Tuberculosis and excess alcohol use in the United States, 1997–2012. The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, 19(1), 111-119.