Health
Alcohol makes depression worse
Publish Date: Aug 19, 2013
Alcohol makes depression worse
A woman prepares alcohol
  • mail
  • img
newvision

By Dr. Cory Couillard

Alcohol has been named the third greatest risk factor in the development of disease. It contributes to the development of many chronic-health conditions as well as short-term health conditions such as injuries, traffic accidents and suicide.

Alcohol’s intoxicating and dependence-producing properties play a role in violence, child neglect and abuse, shattered relationships and poor job performance. There is no other consumer product as widely available as alcohol that accounts for as much premature death and disability.

A number of studies have shown that alcohol increases the risk of depression. Nearly one-third of all people with major depression have an alcohol problem, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

Depression may be a particularly significant trigger for alcohol use in women, who are more than twice as likely to start drinking heavily if they have a history of depression.

Alcohol is a leading cause of risky sexual behaviours such as unprotected sex, sex with multiple partners and produces an increased risk of sexual assault.

These behaviours often result in unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections such as human papilloma virus (HPV) and HIV in both men and women.

Alcohol and cancer

HPV is a significant threat and is the leading cause of cervical cancer. Cervical cancer is the third most common malignancy in women and it remains a leading cause of cancer-related death. Alcohol is also known to increase cancer of the liver, breast, colon, oesophagus, throat and mouth.

Studies have linked the risk of breast cancer to increase proportionally in relation to the amount of alcohol use in women. The more alcohol consumed, the greater the cancer risk. Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in women.

Women more affected

Recent studies have shown that women who drink excessively are at an increased risk of damaging their heart muscles in comparison to men. The findings highlight that women are at greatest risk even if they had lower levels of consumption.

Excessive drinking also disrupts a female’s reproductive health. It can increase the risk of infertility and even more seriously, higher rates of miscarriages, stillbirths and premature deliveries.

Men are more likely to drink in larger quantities, but women commonly have smaller structures and breakdown alcohol slightly different than men. This will result in higher alcohol levels in the blood that ultimately will impact a female longer despite drinking an equal amount.

Heart attacks, strokes and high blood pressure can develop from the harmful use of alcohol. Approximately 805 of all cardiovascular diseases are preventable through lifestyle-related factors. Alcohol use is a leading risk factor for poor dietary choices, inadequate physical activity levels and tobacco use.

Alcohol can cause irreversible scarring of the liver called cirrhosis. One of the main causes of cirrhosis is sustained excessive alcohol consumption. Cirrhosis is a progressive disease, developing slowly over many years, until eventually the liver fails.

Heavy female drinkers are more likely to develop symptoms versus men who consume the same amount. Individuals with cirrhosis have a much higher risk of developing liver cancer.

Men are equally at risk and often drink more, more regular, and experience higher rates of accidents and injuries. Traffic accidents are still the leading cause of alcohol-related death among young men.

The writer is an international healthcare speaker and columnist for numerous publications worldwide. He works in collaboration with the World Health Organisation’s goals of disease prevention and global healthcare education. For comments, write to health@newvision.co.ug

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
Gov’t on the spot over absence at PEPFAR meeting
Government is on the spot over why Uganda was the only country not represented at the regional US PEPFAR review meeting....
District compensates family of dead patient
Nakaseke district adheres to court decision that ordered it to pay sh35m as compensation to David Mugerwa who lost his wife due to negligent acts....
Economist seeks sh115m for kidney transplant
53-year-old Bernard Tayebwa is appealing to philanthropists for sh115m, to undergo a kidney transplant in India....
Ugandan women with HIV
Ugandan women with HIV who are not on treatment die faster than their male counterparts, according to a new study....
Ethiopia implements smoking ban
The bars and cafes are full and lively in the northern town of Mekelle - but they are no longer smoke-filled....
Making painkillers from yeast
A team of US scientists say they have taken an important step toward engineering painkillers from yeast....
Do you support KCCA'S move to ban campaign posters from the city?
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter