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Alcohol Health Issues


Under normal circumstances, people are responsible about their alcohol use and problems don't usually develop. But, what if someone is drunk and an "alcohol-related emergency" does occur? What do you do?

Here are some basic, but essential, procedures you can follow in a situation where someone is drunk:

  • Stay calm and don't communicate any feelings of anxiety.
  • Before approaching or touching the person, explain what you intend to do in a direct and reassuring manner.
  • Keep the person still and comfortable. Don't let him/her walk unattended.
  • Do not administer any food, drink or medication -- including aspirin or vitamins -- which may cause stomach distress.
  • Do not ridicule or threaten the person.
  • Do not let the person sleep on his/her back. Death from choking on inhaled vomit may result. Place the person on his/her side, with one arm extended above the head. Keep a sober person nearby to watch for signs of trouble.

Remember, only time will help to sober a person who is intoxicated. Walking, black coffee or a cold shower will not help. The best remedy is time, rest and nursing a tender stomach. Drinking plenty of water at the end of a night of alcohol drinking can significantly reduce both the hang-over the next morning and the negative side-effects of alcohol poisoning.

Seek medical attention if :

  • The person is unconscious and cannot be wakened
  • Breathing is irregular and/or shallow
  • You suspect alcohol has been mixed with other drugs
  • Skin is clammy or pale
  • Blood in vomit
Hangover #
The exact cause of hangovers are not completely understood, but they are a well known problem with ingesting alcohol. Bad alcohol hangovers are considered to be worse than the day-after effects of nearly any other psychoactive. Alcohol causes liver damage and bad hangovers may indicate alcohol toxicity and should be avoided. The primary causes of hangover are believed to be dehydration and related electrolyte imbalance, blood-sugar regulation disturbance, acute withdrawal, toxicity from alcohol metabolites, interaction with congeners (non-alcohol components of drinks), reduced sleep quality, and personal biological profile.

For more information above hangovers, see Alcohol Hangovers

Health Benefits #
According to the Mayo Clinic, Alcohol can:
  • Reduce your risk of developing heart disease, peripheral vascular disease and intermittent claudication
  • Reduce your risk of dying of a heart attack
  • Reduce your risk of strokes, particularly ischemic strokes
  • Lower your risk of gallstones (Banim PJ et al. 2011)

Health Problems #
  • Increase risk of oral, throat, colon, liver, and breast cancer [Boffetta P. 2006]
  • Cirrhosis of the liver [Leon DA. 2006]
  • Fetal alcohol syndrome if used by pregnant women in large quantities [Willford J 2006]
  • Injuries from accidents, falls, motor vehicle accidents, etc
  • Fatty Liver Disease [Surernti C, et al. 2003]
  • Very high doses can lead to acute toxicity, coma, and death. [Yoon YH. 2003]
  • Risky behavior and bad choices made while drunk can negatively effect health.