Alcohol ... Alcohol increases the risk of cancer ... Mega Posts » Alcoholism

Mega Posts Health and Welfare » Alcoholism

  1. Alcoholism
  2. Alcohol increases the risk of cancer
  3. Alcohol and sex: Dangerous Liaisons


It is the third leading cause of death in industrialized countries. At the root of this problem are socio - cultural and individual factors.
• Causes and definition
• Symptoms and disorders
• Treatment and prevention

Causes and definition

Since ancient times, alcohol accompanies the rites, ceremonies and traditional beliefs. In the modern world, advertising promotes consumption, sometimes indirectly. Social and cultural factors are very important in the consumption of alcohol. However, a person who drinks alcohol is not necessarily alcoholic.

sociocultural factors

They play an important role in the problem of alcoholism, since they induce a collective practice that prepares drinking and also is accepted, recognized and even encouraged by society. In many countries, alcohol consumption is covered by the company itself, which makes it, somehow, in a legal drug.
In general, alcoholic beverages are synonymous with conviviality and pleasure. In younger, often they represent a symbol of initiation into adulthood. Friends, relatives or co-workers may promote the consumption of alcohol.
The familiar pattern of behavior regarding alcohol is also important. A child who sees his parents abuse alcohol get used to reproduce the same behavior in adulthood. The ease with which you can get alcohol consumption favors.
However, these factors are not enough to cause alcoholism.

Personality of the individual

To the temptation of alcohol, in an environment that authorizes its use, the personality of the individual will be decisive. Weak, unable to control their emotions and not very self-confident young people, especially adolescents with identity-crisis are more exposed to continuous consumption of alcoholic beverages that people balanced. Alcohol gives the impression of mastering their anxiety and inhibition. Psychological reactions to the difficulties of life also play an important role in the onset of alcoholism. Often, many moderate and occasional drinkers start drinking significantly during a duel or when the children leave home.

Alcoholism and heritage

The tendency to alcoholism appears to be a genetic predisposition. This does not mean in any way that a child of alcoholic parents inevitably become an alcoholic. However, if you face temptation, it will be harder to resist.
Some people, by their very nature, they support very bad alcohol, which explains their lower propensity to be alcoholic. Indeed, they have a deficiency of the substance responsible for eliminating toxic degradation product alcohol.

And Disorders

After being absorbed in the digestive tract, alcohol spreads throughout the body through the blood, reaches different organs and impair proper functioning.

immediate effects

Alcohol consumed in small amounts produced in the drinker a pleasant feeling of tranquility and relaxation. The person feels more open, more confident and even bolder.
It is easier to communicate with others.
It is precisely these changes in mood and behavior which actually looking for the drinker. But changes are illusory, since alcohol in the blood produces a slowing of reflexes. The more alcohol is consumed, further decrease the ability of concentration and reasoning, while the feeling of self confidence increases.
On the other hand, in a purely physical aspect, alcohol increases gastric secretions that promote digestion.

Tolerance and dependence

There is talk of tolerance when alcohol consumption is regular and the same doses produce ever smaller effects. For the same feelings, the drinker must gradually increase the amount of drink or to choose drinks with higher alcohol content. This need for increased alcohol consumption is linked to liver tolerance-which, over time, learns to remove more quickly and nerve cells, at doses equal to react increasingly alcohol.
Physical dependence is also characteristic of alcoholism.
A consumer alcohol becomes alcoholic when you can not stop drinking freely and failure to drink produces a set of typical symptoms (malaise, with tremors and sweating), called withdrawal. This syndrome disappears when the individual consumes alcohol; If you do not consume, discomfort worsens and is accompanied by hallucinations, which can reach delirium associated with dehydration: is the crisis of delirium tremens.

Signs and symptoms

Alcoholism leads to problems characteristic tremors, abdominal pain, cramping, numbness and tingling. The pulse is irregular, the face is red and the gait is unstable. Drinker speech is often confusing, its ability to reflect is slowed and has memory lapses. Alcohol can cause a decrease in the values of blood sugar (hypoglycemia) or an increase of hematologic values of fat, which contributes to heart malfunction, liver and blood vessels.

associated diseases

Over time, regular alcohol consumption causes different diseases.
Diseases of the liver and digestive organs. Alcohol causes an accumulation of fat in the liver followed by inflammation and eventually irreversible cell damage. Liver disease develop successively over the years and are increasingly severe: fatty degeneration of the
liver, alcoholic hepatitis, cirrhosis and cancer. The risk of liver destruction is proportional to the amount and duration of alcohol consumption.
Excessive alcohol consumption can also trigger an inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis), the esophagus or the stomach mucosa.
Cancer. Cancer primarily affects the mouth, tongue, throat and esophagus due to the irritant action of alcohol. The risk of liver cancer is also very high in alcoholics. The association snuff alcohol multiplies these risks.
Heart disease and vascular system. A very high alcohol consumption increases the risk of heart failure, coronary heart disease (heart artery), blood pressure and stroke.
Diseases of the nervous system. Alcohol produces a significant deficiency of vitamin B1, which can cause severe neurological disease (alcoholic encephalopathy). The patient has mental confusion, slurred speech and gait, and , in the most serious - cases coma.
Psychiatric illnesses. Alcoholics often suffer, anxiety and depression.
The number of suicides is higher in alcoholics than in nondrinkers.

Treatment and Prevention

The alcoholic has to attend a detox program only after having realized their status and have decided to break free from dependence. It is done in two stages: first administered tranquilizing, to overcome withdrawal; Then he uses psychotherapy to achieve lasting abstinence is.


The initial withdrawal lasts 2 or 3 weeks and takes place at home or in the hospital. Hospitalization is recommended for people who have failed to leave alcohol at home or medical complications and major family problems. It is necessary to carry out a medical examination, since the sudden withdrawal of alcohol causes a number of serious problems: generalized tremors, rapid heart rate, sweating, mental confusion, hallucinations, severe dehydration and sometimes seizures.
Treating the symptoms associated with withdrawal comprising administering vitamin B and tranquilizers. Once past the initial withdrawal period, the body gets used.
After detoxification, the person should not drink alcohol again, because you risk falling back into the same habit.
Psychological support is essential to prevent relapse.


In some cases, former alcoholic is rejected by their environment and often have a poor self - image. Need not feel guilty and regain self - confidence. Psychotherapy helps and teaches him to live without alcohol, restores confidence and responsibility, and offers new benchmarks.
Psychotherapy programs on alcoholism, there are discussion groups that allow the individual to better understand the reasons that led to this dependence. It is also helpful to attend sessions of relaxation, allowing improve the image that the person has of his body.
After detoxification, it is advised to attend one of the many associations of former alcoholics, to meet people who have gone through the same difficulties. The individual who has been drinking always faces the temptation to "fall back" and its complete cure is never achieved.
To control the temptation, some willpower is needed.
In this sense, it is very important to get support from people who have suffered the same problems.

Alcoholics Anonymous

Founded in 1935 in New York by a doctor and a stockbroker, both former alcoholics, the Alcoholics Anonymous association based in nearly 140 countries. Its mission is to help alcoholics to detoxify durably. The only condition required to be part of this entity is the desire not to drink again. The group therapy sessions are organized once a week, and during its course, each individual has their experience, what has pushed him to be an alcoholic, which has taken him to leave and the difficulties encountered, etc.


It is the rapid effect that can cause consumption of alcoholic beverages. It depends on the concentration of blood alcohol (BAC). It develops, usually in three phases:
• Phase excitation, which translates mainly by disinhibition.
• Phase incoordination and instability: the slumbering drinker, suffers mental confusion and balance disorders.
• Phase coma: unconscious person.
In some cases, these signs are associated with aggression, hallucinations, delusions or depression.


The breathalyzer indicates the content of ethyl alcohol in the blood. It allows to know precisely the amount of alcohol ingested by a person. The blood test result is expressed in grams per liter. It is considered, regardless of individual characteristics, to above 0.50 g / l alterations may occur at behavior. Drunkenness values corresponds to 1 to 2 g / l.
The alcohol increases up to 2 hours after ingestion of alcohol. Increases faster in women than in men, in the young than in adults, in the short and thin person in the high and obese, and , above all in the person drinking on an empty stomach at that it does during a meal.

To understand it better

Some terms you need to know:
• Alcoholization. Impregnating the body by alcohol, whatever the amount taken.
• Alcohol dependence. State where the person is unable to abstain, psychologically and physiologically.
• Alcoholopatía. All acute or chronic illness resulting from alcohol poisoning.

Four phases indicating dependence

It is considered that there is a dependency when the drinker has exceeded four phases: increased alcohol tolerance (ability to drink without noticing the harmful effect), memory lapses, loss of control over alcohol (the drinker can not stop drinking, although desired) and the appearance of a number of psychic and physical characteristics alterations.

Signs of dependence

Signs of dependence are diverse and can be combined in various ways, according to people:
• Changes in personality: jealousy, irritability, sudden anger, aggressive behavior.
• disinterest in food.
• Physical Neglect.
• Concealment of bottles.
• Changes in drinking: start drinking early in the morning and go from beer to hard liquor.
• professional Instability: frequent job changes.

Alcohol increases the risk of cancer

Although known for thirty years that excessive alcohol consumption is linked to an increased risk of cancer, the mechanism by which this occurs remains mysterious. An American team seem to have elucidated: when the body metabolizes alcohol, a substance called acetaldehyde is formed, which deteriorate DNA.
• Alcohol is degraded in the body becoming a carcinogenic substance
• The body has protection methods

Alcohol is degraded in the body becoming a carcinogenic substance

The team of Prof. S. Balbo of the University of Minnesota discovered that degradation of alcohol by the body involves the formation of acetaldehyde. This substance is chemically very close to formaldehyde, known for carcinogenicity. Previous experiments in the laboratory had found that acetaldehyde can damage DNA, promote genetic abnormalities in cultured cells and cause cancer in animals.
"Acetaldehyde -material adheres to genetic DNA that originates the genes- such that form" DNA adducts. " This disturbance of gene activity lead to an increased risk of cancer "Prof. S. Balbo precise.
To test their hypothesis, the team provided 10 volunteers increasing doses of vodka (comparable one, two and three shots) once a week for three weeks. It was found that the rate of an adduct of DNA linked to acetaldehyde is multiplied by more than 100 cells ORL (the most exposed to ingested alcohol) sphere within 4 hours after ingestion of alcohol, before starting down within 24 hours. Adduct levels were also increased in blood cells.

The body has protection methods

"We now have proof that in man, acetaldehyde formed after alcohol consumption damages DNA dramatically" estimates Prof. Balbo, which requires however that we all possess biological sentries who are responsible for repairing and maintaining the integrity of our genetic material. For that reason, most people who drink reasonably not have cancer. However, alcohol is linked to other health problems.
In addition, most of us have an enzyme called dehydrogenase, which quickly converts acetaldehyde to acetate, a relatively harmless substance. But some people are unable to perform this conversion as they have a variant of the alcohol dehydrogenase gene. As a result, they are more likely to develop esophageal cancer linked to alcohol consumption. About 30% of people of Asian descent have this variant.
These results will be presented at the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society in Philadelphia. The data and conclusions of these studies should be considered preliminary until they are published in a medical journal validated by a reading committee.

Alcohol and sex: Dangerous Liaisons

Alcohol may change our sexual behavior by reducing inhibitions. Many studies, however, question this notion. Sexologist doctor and addiction specialist, Gonzague de Laroque reveals the true effects of alcohol on sexual life. In small doses alcohol provides a "aphrodisiac" effect. People feel freer of inhibitions, more secure and confident in their sexual ability. But is it true? Where does this reputation?
• A positive effect fades in high doses
• The aphrodisiac effect of alcohol is due to a subjective arousal
• The physiological risks associated with alcohol
• Alcohol impairs the romantic and sexual relationship
• Sexual problems and Alcohol: Beware The addiction!

A positive effect fades in high doses

How this release of the prohibitions providing alcohol to be explained? Gonzague de Laroque tells us several experiences to help us better understand the relationship between alcohol and sexuality. "Since the 70s is possible to measure sexual arousal by self-evaluation, with performance indicators and through physiological measurements (plethysmography measures penile rigidity and Photoplethysmography shows vaginal blood flow) Physiologically the results are clear. In the presence of Alcohol a linear decrease of physiological sexual arousal is observed ".

The aphrodisiac effect of alcohol is due to a subjective excitement

However, studies with low doses of alcohol (less than 0.5 g / l) show an "expectation effect" which corresponds to an increase of subjective arousal due to the force of belief in the aphrodisiac effect of alcohol. "At these doses, there is no direct pharmacological effect of alcohol on sexuality" says our expert.
Whatever the content of the ingested alcohol drink (alcohol or placebo), people who believe they have been drinking alcohol show an increase in their objective and subjective arousal. Because of this effect of expectation, alcohol in small doses can be considered as a facilitator of sexuality.
"This is more evident in people with a guilty sexuality, which is explained by the psychotropic effect of alcohol on anxiety," agrees de Laroque.

The physiological risks associated with alcohol

However, drinking alcohol is not without risk. As already said in Shakespeare 's Macbeth, "drinking increases the desire but decreases performance." In high doses, alcohol has a detrimental effect on sexuality, including difficulty in maintaining an erection and ejaculation.
In chronic drinkers, alcohol also affects the desire because of its depressant effect but also to alter circadian rhythms of testosterone (the hormone fluctuation between day and night).
In women, low arousal, increases the risk of experiencing pain during intercourse due to lack of lubrication and makes it harder to achieve orgasm.

Alcohol impairs the romantic and sexual relationship

Investigations Antonia Abbey, a professor of psychology at Wayne State University in the US, have tried to elucidate the influence of alcohol in sexual assaults among young people on college campuses in the country. Abbey has shown that alcohol affects judgment and alters the perception of the intentions of the partner. According to their findings, young people who drink are more risky sex than those who do not consume.
In adults, alcohol can be experienced as "a third party in the relationship , " explains Gonzague de Laroque. In clinical medicine addiction has shown that "alcohol dependence of one spouse leads to marital discord, sexual dysfunction, poor communication, physical and verbal violence and a higher rate of separation in relation to the general population ".

sexual problems and Alcohol: beware addiction!

Many people can not imagine having sex with their partner without the help of alcohol. "When they realize that relationships are easier with alcohol without this, you tend to repeat the pattern, and depending on the susceptibility of the person, you can develop a risk of addiction , " says the specialist.
In fact, when alcohol is drunk without moderation and regularly causes two effects on the body:
• A tolerance effect requiring increasing doses to get the same effect.
• A withdrawal effect which makes the body needs alcohol to function.
The premature ejaculation and women with vaginismus can temporarily overcome their problem drinking alcohol, using, respectively, as a retarder ejaculation or as a muscle relaxant. But be careful not to fall into a vicious cycle of dependency created by sexual dysfunction. If the person moves in this direction, it is essential to consult a psychologist to discover the underlying conflicts and end this self - destructive spiral. 

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