In fact, alcohol causes much more harm than illegal drugs like heroin and cannabis. It is a tranquilliser, it is addictive, and is the cause of many hospital admissions for physical illnesses and accidents.
- Problems with alcohol
Many of these problems are caused by having too much to drink at the wrong place or time. Alcohol affects your judgment, so you do things you wouldn’t normally think of. It makes you less aware of risks and so more vulnerable. You are more likely to have fights, arguments, money troubles, family upsets, or spur-of-the-moment casual sex. Alcohol helps to cause accidents at home, on the roads, in the water and on playing fields.
- Problems with alcohol – physical health
Being very drunk can lead to severe hangovers, stomach pains (gastritis), vomiting blood, unconsciousness and even death. Drinking too much over a long period of time can cause liver disease and increases the risk of some kinds of cancer. It can reduce the risk of heart disease for men over 40 and women of menopausal age – but only if their drinking is very moderate.
- Problems with alcohol – mental health
Although we tend to think of alcohol as something we use to make us feel good, heavy drinking can bring on depression. Many people who commit suicide have had drinking problems. Alcohol can stop your memory from working properly and can cause brain damage. It can even make you hear noises and voices – a very unpleasant experience which can be hard to get rid of.
- Alcohol is addictive. Some warning signs are:
- you do not feel right without a drink, or need a drink to start the day
- you get very shaky, sweaty, and anxious/tense a few hours after your last drink
- you can drink a lot without becoming drunk
- you need to drink more and more to get the same effect
- you try to stop, but find you can’t
- you carry on drinking even though you can see it is interfering with your work, family and relationships
- you get “memory blanks” where you can’t remember what happened for a period of hours or days.
Full story at Royal College of Psychiatrists