Drinking can seem like one of the biggest social events on a college campus but when weekend fun turns into a daily routine, your body will start crying for help. The liver is the largest organ in the human body and it has over 500 different roles. One of its most important roles of the liver is to break down food and convert it to energy when you need it most. It also helps rid the body of waste products and plays a crucial role in fighting infections. When the liver is damaged, you generally won’t know about it until things get serious. Drinking too much alcohol can damage the liver in two main ways: oxidative stress and toxins in gut bacteria. The end result? Liver disease that can lead to serious hospitalization or death.
So how do you know if you’re drinking too much? You may have an alcohol problem if you:
- Feel guilty or ashamed about your drinking
- Lie to others or hide your drinking habits
- Have friends or family who are concerned about your drinking habits
- Need to drink in order to relax or feel better
- “Black out” or forget what you did while you were drinking
- Regularly drink more than you intended to
If you need to drink more than you used to in order to get a buzz and can drink more than other people without getting drunk, these are signs of tolerance which can be an early warning of alcoholism. If you experience any of the following signs, you may be experiencing withdrawal from the heavy amounts of alcohol your body is used to consuming.
- Nausea or vomiting
- Loss of appetite
Alcohol abuse can lead to destructive decisions like drinking and driving, performing poorly at work or school, increased probability of overdosing when mixing alcohol with medications, disorderly conduct and embarrassment or heartbreak for yourself and others. If you or somebody you care about think you might have a drinking problem, visit www.helpguide.org for information, support and help.