Sobriety Navigator: Alcohol Addiction: Understanding the Disease Concept.
Why can two people sit down, have the same amount of alcohol, and experience such different effects? There are many facets to this question.
Individual tolerance threshold, sensitivity to various fermentation products, ethnicity, cultural differences and gender all play a role in how a person will react to alcohol consumption. But the biggest factor is the effect of ETOH.
ETOH is ethyl alcohol. It is the intended product of grain fermentation for use in alcoholic beverages. Here are some of its effects:
In alcoholics, the euphoria from ETOH overrides their reasoning ability. That is one reason a very intelligent person can become so irrational and have such an unnatural change in personality when drinking.
ETOH also overrides any negative thoughts and feelings which may haunt people who are motivated to drink to alter their intrinsic state. ETOH works in the beginning. There is no question about that.
ETOH is great for self-medicating. People with poor coping skills often have trouble dealing with the challenges that life can bring. ETOH can provide a quick fix.
The immediate negative physical effects of self-medicating with ETOH Abuse are; black outs or memory loss, dehydration, tremors, a release of odor pheromones in the body, just to name a few.
The long term effects of ETOH abuse can create what is known as a wet brain (the deficiency of Thiamine due to poor eating habits causing malnutrition which can lead to significant brain cell death), and cirrhosis of the liver (liver damage associated with long term alcohol abuse which can affect the normal metabolism of protein, fats & carbohydrates).
Long term emotional effects of ETOH abuse result in arrested emotional development. Life is hard. There is no question about it. Using ETOH to manage, control and suppress the natural process of emotional maturity is very destructive. An alcoholic will become the embodiment of a petulant child who demands instant gratification at all times.
The long term mental effect of ETOH abuse (and probably the most tragic) is the loss of self-discovery. The natural process of learning who we are by dealing responsibly with our life experiences can be lost. These experiences are critical to the fundamental development of our individual identity and tell us not only who we are, but also determine who we are not. Under normal circumstances, our intrinsic value system grows and expands through this process and creates a natural inclination to be true to our self. ETOH prevents this from happening.
The overall negative effect of long term ETOH abuse is a deep feeling of loneliness and isolation, even in a crowded room. Alcoholics know a loneliness that other people cannot begin to imagine. This loneliness is the byproduct of long term numbing out, both emotionally and physically. Alcoholics are plagued with these feelings.