Alcohol abuse causes more deaths globally than the trio of HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Violence combined. According to the 2014 World Health Organisation(WHO) Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health, 3.3 million people die annually from alcohol abuse worldwide. Alcohol abuse causes 1 in 20 deaths worldwide with 1 death occurring every 10 seconds. Alcohol consumption is a component cause of over 200 disease and injury conditions globally.
The health effects of alcohol abuse implicate an unavoidable spectrum of
- brain damage,
- behavioural and cognitive decline,
- heart failure,
- liver failure,
- reproductive impairment and miscarriages,
- congenital birth defects,
- infectious diseases,
- road traffic accidents
- risky social behaviours and
The effect of alcohol on the body system depend on the quantity of alcohol ingested, the frequency of alcohol ingestion, the length of time that has been spent on drinking, the general health status of the person involved, and a family history of alcoholism.
How Alcohol Kills the Brain
Alcohol abuse has extensive and far-reaching effects on the brain.
- Alcohol impairs brain development and can cause impairment in learning and memory. Vitamin B1 deficiency in alcoholics frequently lead to a brain disorder called Wernicke-Korakoff Syndrome which is characterised by memory loss, visual impairment, unsteady gait, dementia, and permanent brain damage.
- Alcohol abuse has further been implicated in insomnia, anxiety, difficulty in concentration, confusion, confabulations and hallucinations.
How Alcohol Kills the Heart
Alcohol abuse can precipitate high blood pressure. Interestingly, high blood pressure is the leading cause of stroke and cardiovascular diseases in Nigeria.
- How Alcohol Kills the Liver
50% of deaths amongst people who abuse alcohol globally is due to liver failure secondary to a spectrum of alcoholic hepatitis, liver cirrhosis and liver cancer.
- Irreversible alcoholic damage to the liver can lead to liver failure, and brain damage known as hepatic encephalopathy.
Commonly, this leads to coma and death.