There’s a thousand reasons one should watch their drinking habits or cut them out completely: packing on the calories, terrible hangovers, loss of memories due to “black out drinking,” and damaged reputation are just a few. But since drinking is America’s greatest pastime- even beyond baseball- we often overlook the risks and dangers in the face of “a good time.”
We pour gallons of bitter, burning liquid into our bodies chasing pleasure or evading pain through the bottle even though we know it will catch up with us come sunrise.
Our binge drinking and heavy alcohol abuse habits can catch up with us further down the line, too.
Long-term research studies conducted by the World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research and others found that alcohol abuse was a contributing factor in seven different cancers. Those cancers being:
- Cancer of the oropharynx
- Cancer of the larynx
- Esophageal cancer
- Liver and colon cancer
- Rectal cancer
- Breast cancer
Determining why these associations between drinking and certain cancers exists is a continuous ongoing process, but it has been suggested that certain compounds within alcoholic drinks affect tissues within the digestive tract or even one’s DNA. Alcohol also contains some of the same carcinogens as found in tobacco.
Knowledge that alcohol can cause health issues is nothing new. Beyond the dangers of drunk driving, liver and stomach damage caused by alcohol abuse is probably the most widely recognized argument against drinking. The problem is we often don’t associate those risks with our own lives- until, of course, it’s too late.
The medical industry continues to debate rather there are health benefits to occasional drinking or if it is a wholly unhealthy practice, studies have been fairly consistent in finding that alcohol abuse does promote cancer and other diseases. While some view this as fear-mongering and an attempt at social control, consistent scientific research backed up by years of evidence is hard to repute.
Substance abuse of any kind damages the body and mind, but in the moment one is hardly thinking of those consequences. It’s time to change the way we think about drinking in terms of our physical and mental health.