Alcoholism; Am I an Alcoholic? Do I have drinking problems?

Breast cancer awareness campaigns are perhaps the most common strategies to reduce the incidence of a specific ailment. However, tobacco and alcohol are constantly targeted as potential causes of cardiovascular and liver problems. Instead of only one disease, they trigger several conditions and affect both men and women. As such, they should receive much more attention in today’s society, especially now that underage boys and girls are alarmingly underestimating the effects of alcoholic drinks in their lives.

You probably know some things or two about alcohol and alcoholism. But do you know the difference between alcoholism and alcohol abuse? Could you really identify alcoholism in your own life and that of others?

In this article, we cover the answers to these questions and much more.

Alcohol and its effects

Strictly speaking, the word alcohol by itself is not revealing. In chemistry, alcohol is simply a compound with a hydroxyl functional group. But that is how we usually call ethanol or ethyl alcohol, an ingredient found in wine, beer, and spirits. This ingredient results from the fermentation of starch, sugar, and yeast.

Alcohol is an intoxicating substance. As such, it impacts all of us to a similar degree, and all body organs can be affected. The main organs affected by alcohol are those of the central nervous system because this substance behaves like a neurologic depressant. It is quickly absorbed not only in the small intestines but also in the stomach.

Once it reaches the bloodstream, alcohol is taken up by the liver. This organ detects alcohol as a harmful toxin and tries to clean the blood metabolizing alcohol to eliminate it right away. But the liver has a limited capacity to metabolize alcohol, and it takes a long time to do so. Thus, the excess that is not metabolized circulates through the rest of the body. Therefore, the effects of alcohol in the organism depend on how much you consume.