Effects of Alcohol Abuse: Health Risks of Chronic Heavy Drinking
Health Risks of Chronic Heavy Drinking
Alcoholism is a topic that hits close to home for me. Growing up I witnessed the negative effects alcoholism can have on not only your health, but family and social life as well. Now that I am grown and have developed my faith in God I know that as Christians, we are not supposed to drink excessively. Romans 13:13 (NIV) states, “3Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy.”
Out of the many health related risks of drinking, I would like to talk about those which I have witnessed most often during my career in the healthcare field. When I was working in memory care facilities, we would often get patients with alcohol induced Dementia. There is no cure for dementia, and it is a disease that slowly worsens. Alcohol supports the disease process and often makes it progress more quickly.
Another negative effect of drinking is depression. Many people drink because they are depressed and looking for an outlet, and many people fall into the trap of alcoholism and become depressed as the need for alcohol takes over their lives. I have witnessed this firsthand, being that my mother took up drinking after my father passed away. From sunrise to sunset my mother would drink. People who abuse alcohol and have depression are also more likely to abuse other substances and mix medications with alcohol, which is not recommended and can lead to other serious health problems.
Heavy drinking can slow down the body’s immune system, making it more susceptible to disease. When intoxicated, your body is not able to protect itself and preform functions needed to guard you from infections. People who drink are more likely to engage in risky sexual activity, which often results in contracting an infectious disease. The Bible warns of immoral acts like this. 1 Corinthians 6:18(NIV) “18Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body”.
In the state of Virginia, between the years of 2006-2010 there have been 1,871 documented alcohol related deaths alone. Imagine the amount of undocumented cases. I hope to one day see a world without alcohol abuse, very unlikely scenario but wouldn’t it be wonderful? I hope as Christians we can all remember the negative effects of alcohol abuse and abstain from partaking in excessive drinking. Remember to glorify God in all that you do and treat your body as a temple.
Freeman, D. (2011). 12 Health Risks of Chronic Heavy Drinking. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/addiction/features/12-health-risks-of-chronic-heavy-drinking#1
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Alcohol Related Disease Impact (ARDI) application, 2013. Available at www.cdc.gov/ARDI.
Brenda Barber Alcoholism
Alcohol is a common addiction issue in our society. It is socially acceptable and often found to be the source of entertainment in young people today. People often do not realize the longterm effects it can have on their system. We are warned in Proverbs 20:1 “Wine is a mocker, and whoever is led astray bit it is not wise”. One has to wonder why we would need a warning if something is safe for our system. (NKJV)
The obvious issues that we see with alcoholism is the effects that it has on our relationships and safety concerns with driving ability, but there are many other issues to take into consideration with our general health. Longterm alcohol use can change how our system functions. Anemia can be caused by alcoholism, which is a decrease in the red blood cells that causes fatigue, shortness of breath and lightheadedness. These same symptoms are also common in cardiovascular disease, which can also be caused by longterm alcohol use/abuse. Alcohol causes platelets to be more likely to clump together and form blood clots that can cause heart attacks or strokes. If our blood thickens it makes it harder to pump the blood through our system and create blood pressure issues. High blood pressure makes the heart work harder to move the blood and just like any other muscle in our system the heart is a muscle. If you work a muscle more you build it up just like working out builds your muscles. When the heart wall thickens it becomes enlarged, this is known as cardiomyopathy. Cardiomyopathy causes the heart to pump blood less efficiently and blood can backup into the lungs or the rest of the body. All of our lives we have been told the importance of what we feed our body and brain. When we feed our brain alcohol it can lead to dementia. Our brains shrink slowly as we age and studies have shown that alcohol speeds up the rate that they brain shrinks. When I think back to the scripture in Proverbs these things make me realize that we should be warned about the issues with alcohol.
If you believe that Jesus is your savior, then you know that we are all sinners. In Romans 3:23, Paul describes us, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (NKJV). Paul refers to the flesh as weak. Galatians 5:19-21, “Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 Idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outburst of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkennness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in the past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” (NKJVS) He also mentions in Ephesians 5:18, “And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit. Consumption of an alcoholic beverage is not a sin, however, it can lead to sinful behaviors including alcoholism. Alcoholism is not just the choice to drink in excessiveness, but is a chemical change in the system that makes a person dependent on alcohol. If our goal is to be is to be like Christ we should protect ourselves from things that challenge our abilities of self control, as mentioned in Romans 13:13-14, “Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.” (NKJV)
The Holy Bible. New King James Version.Holman Bible Publishers.(2013)
Beckerman,MD, J. (2018,February 12). Heart Disease and Cardiomyopathy. Webmd.com/heart-disease/guide/muscle-cardiomyopathy.
Freeman, D. (2011).12 Health Risk of Chronic Heavy Drinking. Webmd.com/mental-health/addiction/features/12-health-risks-of-chronic-heavy-drinking#1.