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Quarantine Drinking: Cut down on Your Drinking… Please

By Stevie Tan

I hope there are not too many readers here who have vivid memories of family parties or regular get togethers where the majority of the older males fell under the spell of becoming intoxicated.

Believe me, it’s not a pretty site. Sure, have a few drinks to socialize, if you must, but please don’t succumb to becoming an alcoholic. My late father passed away at the young age of 53, and the cause was diagnosed as cirrhosis of the liver - he was an alcoholic. Mom feels that he abandoned her and five children, and she - but that’s a painful personal story for another day - one that I don’t really care to tell…

The last seven months of enforced quarantine (and let’s not forget early curfews) have led to many people turning to the bottle. I know we had liquor bans on Boracay (as did much of the country), but it was very easy to get the local sari sari to sell you a bottle or two. And to be honest, who can blame them. I know it was deemed illegal, but everyone was suffering and needed to generate revenue. And of course, many disagreed with the need for such restrictions being imposed on their lives.

But the habit of drinking every day became a dangerous pastime...

Alcohol Dependency

Most people who drink on a regular basis develop a physical and emotional dependency on alcohol. So many people finish work and drop by the local bar for a few drinks using the excuse, “it’s better than sitting on the bus in traffic.” But is that really true?

Stopping, or even cutting down on alcohol consumption can be extremely difficult for many, and often dangerous. Hundreds of clinical tests have shown that complete withdrawal can be difficult and even life-threatening. Going cold turkey is something that many alcoholics promise to do after an often unpleasant happening has occurred. But you can seek medical detoxification to kick the habit. It’s the safest way to ensure you break the physical addiction. And that’s what it is. In going cold turkey you’ll almost certainly experience anxiety, nausea, tremors, heavy sweating, and on some occasions, seizures and even hallucinations. Go to consult your doctor for some professional help.

Effects on Your Body

It’s been clinically proven that if one drinks too much alcohol – and I always question what is too much - it will aggravate the digestive enzymes produced by the pancreas. This will lead to pancreatitis.

The pancreas helps regulate our body insulin and glucose levels. When the pancreas and liver aren’t functioning properly, you run the risk of experiencing hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar.) When the body has problems with your blood sugar levels, you may experience greater complications and related side effects, so it then becomes imperative to avoid alcohol intake.

As mentioned earlier from my personal experience, cirrhosis kills. Our liver is an organ which helps break down and remove harmful substances from the body, including alcohol. Alcohol abuse seriously affects and prohibits this process and scars the liver tissue. As the liver becomes increasingly damaged, it becomes harder to remove toxic substances from your body. The formation of scar tissue eventually destroys the liver.

It’s very easy to spot a drunk person as a sure sign is when their speech becomes slurred. Too much (again, what is too much) alcohol reduces the correlation between your brain and your body. Over time, serious brain damage can occur causing short-term memory loss, and can also result in you making poor judgement decisions, amongst a whole host of other often life threatening choices. I’ve often heard people thinking aloud whether they’ve had too drink much to drive – of course they have – one drink is one too many to even contemplate driving.

The connection between alcohol consumption and your digestive system might not seem immediately clear. The side effects often only appear after there has been damage. And the more you drink, the greater the damage will become. It also damages the tissues in your digestive tract and prevents the intestines from digesting food and absorbing nutrients and vitamins. It can also cause ulcers which could lead to internal bleeding. It’s not uncommon for heavy drinkers to suffer from painful haemorrhoids caused by constant constipation due to alcohol consumption.

In case all of the above is not enough for you, drinking heavily will reduce your body’s immune system to such an extent that your body won’t be able to fight off even minor viruses or germs. 

Is it beginning to sink in now – I hope so…


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