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While consuming alcohol in small amounts has its health benefits, using alcohol as an escape from daily social and work pressures could lead to harmful effects.

Consuming alcohol more than the body can endure can pave the way for devastating health conditions, including permanent damage to the liver.

1. What is alcohol addiction?

When a person becomes so dependent on alcohol that it becomes difficult to function without it, the condition is called alcohol addiction. Untreated alcohol abuse can progress dependences to an addiction to alcohol characterized by physical dependence and/or inability to stop despite serious consequences. Once they begin drinking, alcoholics have little to no control over the amount they consume.

2. Signs and symptoms of alcohol dependence are as follows: Significant hangovers and increase in time needed to recover from after-effects of alcohol use. Increased amount of alcohol consumed because of increased tolerance; or, decrease in the effects of alcohol use without substantial increases in the amount consumed. Reduced attention to personal and professional responsibilities. Repeated unsuccessful efforts to reduce alcohol consumption. Withdrawal symptoms when unable to consume alcohol. Continuing to consume alcohol despite knowing its harmful effects.

3. What are the short-term effects of alcohol addiction? The short-term effects of alcohol consumption above a specified level differ from person to person, depending on the age and weight of the person, and whether the alcohol has been taken on an empty or full stomach. Though the short-term effects of alcohol are pleasant in the first place, they may lead to poor concentration, diminishing reflexes, lack of coordination and many other conditions which may lead to slowing down of the important activities of the brain. It may also lead to emotional and psychological changes, sleep disorders, drowsiness, slurring of speech, nausea and vomiting. The short-term effects of alcohol are further amplified when it is consumed along with certain medications.

4. What are the long-term effects of alcohol addiction? Daily consumption of alcohol for a prolonged period of time can lead to death of cells in the brain, causing nerve damage, eventually leading to poor mental and physical functions. Alcohol addiction causes damage to the liver, and leads to a severe medical condition called cirrhosis, where the liver is required to be transplanted. It may also lead to pancreatitis, which is a dangerous inflammation of the pancreas. When the body becomes tolerant to high doses of alcohol, consuming alcohol no more leads to short-term effects of alcohol. The condition, commonly referred to as tolerance, may lead to total dependence on alcohol in case of some individuals. If a person has become addicted to alcohol, he/she would keep on drinking regardless of the mental and physical effects of alcohol. It may also cause relationship troubles, a steady drop in sexual performance, loss of job, and many other devastating outcomes. Therefore, it is crucial to opt for treatment while the situation is under control. Otherwise, it may affect all aspects of a person’s life. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a doctor.

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