How does alcoholism kill people

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Vibroluxer

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I didn't see this so forgive me if I missed the explanation about how alcohol kill...

The liver breaks down approximately 90% of the alcohol (ETOH) with the other 10% is metabolized into sweat, ETOH on your breath, and urine.

We care about the 90% that is metabolized by the liver. Toxins are created as a result of ETOHs metabolism. These toxins cause pressure to build up inside liver cells and the pressure builds until the cell bursts open. Upon bursting, the cells release the enzymes ALT and AST. When your Dr orders a liver panel blood test, the very first thing they will look at are results of the AST and ALT counts. The higher the number, the worse your odds become.

As the toxins invade and poison the cell, drinking too much and for too long, more and more liver cells are bursted open to the point that the liver is struggling to do it's job. If the rate of cellular destruction occurs from the use of ETOH is greater than the rate of healing, scar tissue will develop. Too much scar tissue leads to irreversible liver (and other organs) damage and death is coming in for a better look.

If I missed something or got something wrong, please let me know. Otherwise, it answers the question put forth in the OPs thread title.
 

Boxla

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I'm curious how people die from alcoholism.

A little background.. I had a best friend Phil, we were best friends all throughout high school, he was one of the best man in my wedding back in 1985. He moved to Austin and I've always lived in Houston but we would always get together once or twice a month to play guitars all night long. When he got a Gibson Les Paul I was able to buy him a Marshall Bluesbreaker amp... I mean we were -best- friends.

Then Phil's life totally fell apart. He always drank too much whiskey but it seriously got out of hand. He lost his job.. His wife divorced him. His young daughter didn't want anything to do with him anymore. I tried to help.. I tried to tell him he needed to quit drinking. You can guess the rest.. Phil told me to F-off and I haven't spoken to him in the last 7 or 8 years. This was very hard on me as you can guess. I've only written one song in my life but it was about losing my best friend and wanting to play guitars with him "just one more day".

I was talking to a mutual friend recently and he caught me up. Apparently Phil is now in a hospital in Dallas and he is dying of alcoholism. His brain has quit working, his body is shutting down. Apparently he sometimes calls his ex wife thinking it is 10 years ago and they are still married. It is all incredibly tragic, but at this point I hope Phil passes soon so he is no longer hurting, and he no longer can hurt anyone else.

So I guess my questions are, how is it that alcohol can kill someone? Is there a stage where the damage is so great there is no going back?

From what I understand, and I may be wrong, marijuana doesn't kill people, and if you quit smoking and given enough time, the damage is reversed. Is alcohol so much worse? Does the body actually quit from all the alcohol, or is it the brain that gives up and dies first? And if someone is actually hospitalized from alcoholism, is there no hope left?

Sorry for the downer topic.. It just hit me pretty hard recently when I heard about Phil dying in a hospital... we used to be best friends.

Take care ya'll....
Sorry to hear about your friend. Alcohol can affect vital organs to the point where some eventually die. Tens of thousands of Americans die each year from alcohol. You question marijuana deaths. You'll be happy to know that in the entire recorded history, there has been zero deaths from marijuana. 0.0! Also, there's no damage to even reverse from someone quitting smoking. There is no damage that's ever been documented. Tobacco on the other hand is another annual killer in the tens or hundreds of thousands. People like to say things like "well we all know inhaling anything is bad for you". I agree, it sounds plausible on the surface but there's simply to data to support that herb smoke is bad for you at all and even some evidence that it helps. There was certainly a lot of data to suggest that it even helped with covid protections. It's a gift from God put on this earth for many good things. Alcohol is the destruction of the world. Herb is the healing of the nations.
 

Vibroluxer

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If your tolerance gets higher, drink to your tolerance.

Not to jump all over you but this statement of your is poor advice.

It doesn't matter if you are an alchy, an abuser of ETOH, or someone who lets it loose with buddies on a Friday night, drinking to your tolerance means the person is drinking as much as they possibly can because they haven't reached their particular partying potential. Your statement, to me at least, isn't real good advice to those readily willing to take it.

On another note, someone said something about comparing ETOH to water ingestion and pretty much said drinking a gallon of water is harmless. Well that's bad advice too! Water intoxication has the potential to be deadly because it causes a severe imbalance in electrolytes, specifically sodium. Lack of sodium affects your muscles including your heart. While, someone here said, "you're don't need ETOH to live" you don't need to pound a gallon of water either.
 

cyclopean

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I kinda agree. But a safe amount is also what doesn't do long-term damage to your body, and you may be unaware of what is going on for years, thinking "it isn't causing problems in my life", until the damage becomes apparent. That's what the guidelines are about. Yes, they are "one size fits all", but it's a starting point.
If you wake up without needing to apologize for yourself or play drunk detective, you’re fine.
 

cyclopean

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Not to jump all over you but this statement of your is poor advice.

It doesn't matter if you are an alchy, an abuser of ETOH, or someone who lets it loose with buddies on a Friday night, drinking to your tolerance means the person is drinking as much as they possibly can because they haven't reached their particular partying potential. Your statement, to me at least, isn't real good advice to those readily willing to take it.

On another note, someone said something about comparing ETOH to water ingestion and pretty much said drinking a gallon of water is harmless. Well that's bad advice too! Water intoxication has the potential to be deadly because it causes a severe imbalance in electrolytes, specifically sodium. Lack of sodium affects your muscles including your heart. While, someone here said, "you're don't need ETOH to live" you don't need to pound a gallon of water either.
You are wildly misinterpreting what i said.

If you’re still in control and not acting out/passing out/making bad decisions, keep it to that level, whether that’s one beer or nine.
 

Vibroluxer

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You are wildly misinterpreting what i said.

If you’re still in control and not acting out/passing out/making bad decisions, keep it to that level, whether that’s one beer or nine.

Like I said, I didn't mean to give you a hard time. After I posted my comments it dawned on me that you and I could, and probably do, have different definitions for "tolerance". I was thinking that tolerance means as long as you can swallow your adult beverage, you haven't yet reached yours. I think your definition is something more like: You can drink as much as you like until you start becoming an ahole. If you become one, then you've flunked the tolerance test. Rather, another boozing person realizes he's starting to sound and behave like an ahole so he quits drinking for a few hours. He knows his limits that if surpassed will deam him ahole. This man drank up to his tolerance.

Did I get it right?

Absolutely no offense meant.
 

Fretting out

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Not to derail the thread but I wonder what the general consensus is as it relates to qualified alcoholism if someone drinks an average of 3 drinks (beers or mixed drinks) every night for decades. No escalating consumption, no falling down drunken episodes, just a habitual practice of evening libations in the home (no driving, public hazard).
Yeah if you’re drinking EVERY night I’d say that it’s most probable that you are an alcoholic

You don’t have to ruin your life to be an alcoholic
 

buster poser

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Yeah if you’re drinking EVERY night I’d say that it’s most probable that you are an alcoholic

You don’t have to ruin your life to be an alcoholic
Agree. If you have three every single night, see what happens when you stop. If you can't give it up for a week, or are really against trying, well.

Also as a former "I only have three drinks, but I have them every night" drinker who's met several of my tribe over the years, I know that number is what you tell the doc when they ask. The real number is almost usually "enough to get pleasantly buzzed" at minimum, and that is very rarely just three for experienced drinkers. Usually five+ on the weekend days.
 

ping-ping-clicka

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Lou , the simple question has a complicated answer.
If a person is wandering am I or am I not an alcoholic,
the safe side of the bet is yes, the daring side of the bet is double down.
Let it ride if you've the brass for uppin' the ante.
After all it's only life and everyone is going to die sooner or later, so what do you have to lose, in the long run we're already dead men.
My only concern is , will I make a pretty corpse.
 

ping-ping-clicka

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It's funny that there is a concurrent diabetes thread. You can have diabetes and not know it. In that case, your diet could be the cause of future problems, and yet you wake up and feel fine. 🤔
Very funny point you make here, I could be dying all the time I'm looking real well.
and folks would say he was a handsome man , a considerate man, all his life an who wuold have known he was preparing for the dirt nap the whole time.
 

Vibroluxer

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Sorry to hear about your friend. Alcohol can affect vital organs to the point where some eventually die. Tens of thousands of Americans die each year from alcohol. You question marijuana deaths. You'll be happy to know that in the entire recorded history, there has been zero deaths from marijuana. 0.0! Also, there's no damage to even reverse from someone quitting smoking. There is no damage that's ever been documented. Tobacco on the other hand is another annual killer in the tens or hundreds of thousands. People like to say things like "well we all know inhaling anything is bad for you". I agree, it sounds plausible on the surface but there's simply to data to support that herb smoke is bad for you at all and even some evidence that it helps. There was certainly a lot of data to suggest that it even helped with covid protections. It's a gift from God put on this earth for many good things. Alcohol is the destruction of the world. Herb is the healing of the nations.

The only thing I will ad is that cigarettes are made from all of the leftovers. If tobacco falls on the floor, so what. Just toss it back on the conveyor.

A useful study, to me at least, would compare the affects of smoking cigarettes vs. smoking unadulterated tobacco vs. smoking marijuana. My seriously uneducated guess is that the pure tobacco and mjuana would yield somewhat closer results than when comparing cigarettes to the tobacco.

Anyway...
 

ruger9

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What DEFINES "alcoholic"?

I've heard "someone who drinks every day is an alcoholic."

I've heard "people who binge drink are alcoholics."

Which is it?

Seriously... I enjoy drinking. I do not drink every day, but I have had periods like that in the past. There was one summer, very high stress, I drank a bottle of wine every night, the whole summer. Crazy.

But really, here's MY thing: I don't drink much of anything. 2 cups of coffee in the morning. Water. The occasional soda pop (like 1 a week). Water. No juice. Water. All I friggin' drink is water, and so I really enjoy having wine with dinner. If I could have 2 glasses of wine with dinner 7 nights a week, I would (I can't- I'm dealing with a fatty liver at the moment). But... 2 drinks a day, does that make me an alcoholic?

IMO, no. I can not drink for a week no problem (in fact, right now I am not drinking M-F, and then only 2 glasses of wine per day sat & sun). I'm not jonesing for it (much, lol), I don't have withdrawal symptoms, and I certainly don't drive or do anything else stupid (like "operate large machinery" LOL) when I've had a couple.

But for many years I have always wondered, what REALLY makes someone an alcoholic?
 

Vibroluxer

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What DEFINES "alcoholic"?

I've heard "someone who drinks every day is an alcoholic."

I've heard "people who binge drink are alcoholics."

Which is it?

Seriously... I enjoy drinking. I do not drink every day, but I have had periods like that in the past. There was one summer, very high stress, I drank a bottle of wine every night, the whole summer. Crazy.

But really, here's MY thing: I don't drink much of anything. 2 cups of coffee in the morning. Water. The occasional soda pop (like 1 a week). Water. No juice. Water. All I friggin' drink is water, and so I really enjoy having wine with dinner. If I could have 2 glasses of wine with dinner 7 nights a week, I would (I can't- I'm dealing with a fatty liver at the moment). But... 2 drinks a day, does that make me an alcoholic?

IMO, no. I can not drink for a week no problem (in fact, right now I am not drinking M-F, and then only 2 glasses of wine per day sat & sun). I'm not jonesing for it (much, lol), I don't have withdrawal symptoms, and I certainly don't drive or do anything else stupid (like "operate large machinery" LOL) when I've had a couple.

But for many years I have always wondered, what REALLY makes someone an alcoholic?

That's a good and fair question. We obviously need to define alcoholism if we're gonna talk about it.

Just my opinion, a person is an alcoholic if they experience terrible physical side effects whoever they attempt to stop drinking.

A drink-every-day sorta person is abusing it, not addicted to it.

But really, that's just my 2 cents. I'd love to hear from others regarding our buddies question:. What is an alcoholic?
 

PhoenixBill

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There’s folks like my sister, who’s never had a drink in her life, and she would think that anybody who has a single drink has a problem. However, discounting that viewpoint, let’s think about one extreme: the always-soused bum in the gutter who lost his job and marriage and house because he’ll even drink hand sanitizer if he can’t get booze. Obviously he’s an alcoholic. Then on the other extreme we have someone who drinks a glass of wine with a meal…once every two or three weeks, but otherwise abstains without jonesing for a drink. Probably not an alcoholic, right? But in between we have a whole spectrum of consumption and control. The guy who surreptitiously sips vodka off and on all day every day during work— an alcoholic, a functioning alcoholic perhaps but an alcoholic nonetheless. The guy who slams back a six pack a day, every day…an alcoholic. But the guy who only drinks a sixpack watching football on Sunday? Or someone who might go out on a weekend and have a few too many, but only does that once every couple of months? Or someone who drinks a glass of wine with dinner every evening but no more? I’m not sure how to classify those, I am not qualified to judge them.

However, this I know from my own experience: the disease of addiction told me “you don’t have a problem” and “you can quit anytime” and “you’re not drinking and using that much…”. Yet I truly was addicted and yes I did have a problem. Thank God I found relief through a 12 step program. Some folks can quit through their own will power; others can find recovery through church and prayer; others through medical professionals; others through the 12 step program. There’s no “one way” for everyone. Furthermore, there are different 12 step programs. Alcoholics Anonymous is the largest and oldest and focuses on booze alone. Narcotics Anonymous is newer; while not as large as AA they are still fairly widespread and they include alcohol as a drug. Then there are more specialized programs like Cocaine Anonymous and Heroin Anonymous and even a Crystal Meth Anonymous. They all use the 12 steps though as their basis. Note that even within AA or NA some meetings are more vibrant and more recovery-related than others. Yes, there are some groups or meetings with members that just like to tell “war stories” but for the most part the meetings usually try to stay more in the solution, not the problem.
 

Greenmachine

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*I'm not a medical doctor*

Well you might go to the DSM-V which one website summed up this way:

"You can think of the DSM-5 symptoms of (alcohol use disorder) AUD as stand-alone, or categorize them in groups. To be diagnosed with the disorder, an individual demonstrates at least two of the following over a 12-month period:

[Criteria grouping A: Impaired control over substance use]

  1. Consumes more alcohol or spends more time drinking than intended.
  2. Wants to limit or halt alcohol use, but hasn’t succeeded.
  3. Spends a significant amount of time obtaining alcohol, drinking alcohol, and recovering from alcohol consumption.
  4. Craves alcohol.
[Criteria grouping B: Social impairment]

  1. Has suffered consequences at home, school, or work due to recurring alcohol use.
  2. Has suffered relationship problems due to recurring alcohol use.
  3. Has given up or cut back on enjoyable activities due to recurring alcohol use.
[Criteria grouping C: Risky use]

  1. Continues to use alcohol in situations when it’s physically dangerous (e.g., drives drunk, has unprotected sex).
  2. Continues to use alcohol despite knowing it’s causing them physical or psychological harm.
[Criteria grouping D: Pharmacological

  1. Has become increasingly tolerant of alcohol, meaning they are less sensitive to the effects of drinking and need to drink more to become intoxicated.
  2. Suffers withdrawal symptoms within a few hours or days after they stop drinking.
The DSM-5 also breaks down AUD by severity:

  • Mild AUD: has 2-3 symptoms
  • Moderate AUD: has 4-5 symptoms
  • Severe AUD: has 6+ symptoms"
From:

 

peteb

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42 beers a week ? I can’t imagine.

Not judging but it’s better than my brother who my sister in law calls “a three beer a day alcoholic”.

That I do not see the point of .

thank you Mike.

you can see there is a sliding scale.

42 beers a week ? I can’t imagine.

don’t think of it as all at once.

are six beers OK in one day?


you are the first to be ast that question?

this is science.
 

Big_Bend

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Ok so here is another question.

I ride the bus downtown to work. Today after work the bus dropped me off at the station close to my home, and there was a passed out old drunk totally disheveled sleeping on the sidewalk at the bus stop. I could smell the hard alcohol from 20 feet away. The guy looked terrible.

In cases like this, do you call the paramedics? Or just let the sleeping dogs lie?

I had with me and left an orange and an unopened 16oz water bottle by his side and then headed home. But wow he looked terrible, close to death you might say. He didn't look like he was going to wake up anytime soon.
 

peteb

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And most people don't think of it, but remember alcohol is also considered a solvent. You can imagine what chronic solvent ingestion can do to the various organs in the body. IMO there is nothing good that can come from ingesting alcohol, despite what they say about the occasional glass of wine.

there was a time when beer was safer than water.
 
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