“It is easier to stay out than get out.” - Mark Twain (American Author
Alcohol is a time-tested curse that has wrecked countless
lives. Addiction to alcohol has left several brilliant lives desolate and
destroyed many a promising career.
Since time immemorial,
man has been hooked to substances that lend him a “high” and, alcohol is just
one of the many intoxicants
available to him.
Serving alcohol has been an important part of many social
occasions and rituals. In fact alcohol consumption has become a social norm in
various communities. The transition of an occasional drinker becoming an
excessive drinker, and then eventually becoming an alcohol-dependent
can be gradual. It is precisely for all these reasons that the ill
effects of alcohol are ignored until the symptoms get too overwhelming.
Today alcohol consumption is one of the most serious
public health issues
, not just in the developed and affluent
countries but also poorer nations.
Liver is a vital organ and
performs several roles. Two important functions include producing proteins that
help the blood to clot and removing body wastes. The liver also regulates the
supply of substances such as glucose throughout the body. In order to perform
these functions the liver cells must function normally.
Alcohol abuse or alcohol addiction is distinctively linked
to alcoholic liver disease,
a condition in which the liver is
permanently damaged due to excessive drinking.
changes to the liver include swelling and inflammation
This may soon be followed by
, when the morphology of the liver cells becomes
abnormal --they become scarred and fibrosed. Most abnormal cells begin to die
and the remaining abnormal ones multiply in order to overcome the shortage. This
results in nodules. The scarring of the abnormal liver interferes severely with
the liver’s basic function.
Alcohol abuse may not
cause liver disease in all alcoholics but it certainly predisposes them to the
condition. Non -alcoholics too may develop chronic liver disease. Women appear
to be more susceptible to the condition than men.
is also associated with a series of other illnesses, medical conditions or
problems that can be physical, psychological, social, criminal or economical in