In this section of Seattle Organic Restaurants I’m going to talk about alcoholism. More than 75% of Americans consume alcohol on regular basis so it’s barely a surprise that one out of ten Americans suffer with consequences of too much alcohol consumption. Alcoholism is the second major preventable cause of death after cigarettes in US. The problems with alcohol are alcohol abuse (too much drinking) and alcoholism (being addicted to alcohol). The rate of alcoholism is more on men than women but the problem of alcohol in women is on rise. Women are affected by the same amount of alcohol more than men because women’s body is higher in fat and lower in water, so the alcohol becomes more concentrated in blood. The stomach in men also produces more enzymes to break down alcohol before it reaches the blood stream. Alcohol abuse has much more serious consequences for women than men. For example women are at a higher risk of osteoporosis (when bones become fragile and brittle due to adverse bone metabolism), psychological problems or liver disease.
Women are more likely to develop liver diseases for the same amount of alcohol than men. Actually the death rate in women due to alcohol abuse is 50% to 100% more than men. Women who are alcoholic are also more likely to suffer from psychological problems like stress, anxiety, eating disorders and depression. However side effects of alcohol consumption can vary in different people. Some people might get toxicated with first drink where as others might start feeling the effect of alcohol after 4 or 5 drinks. Alcoholism usually starts from social drinking. Then social drinking becomes mood drinking and finally the alcoholic needs no more excuse to drink. Alcoholism can lead to anxiety, memory loss, depression and antisocial behaviors like personality disorder issues and aggression. The compulsive behavior of the alcoholic makes the person really angry and ashamed that usually this leads to further alcohol abuse. Becoming alcoholic for some might take few years of moderate to heavy alcohol consumption where as some people might become alcoholic by first drink.
The debates among researchers have been going on whether alcoholism is affected by psychological, genetic or environmental factors and many believe that alcoholism is probably the result of all three factors. Studies also show that consuming small quantities of alcohol especially red wine can reduce the chances of cardiovascular disease and cancer. However many doctors and physicians do not suggest that people who do not drink should start drinking to protect their hearts against cardiovascular disease. Instead of consuming alcohol they are suggesting less risky methods like exercising, consuming more micronutrients & decreasing the amount of fat, sugar & salt.