Like everything, alcohol is good in moderation. For the majority of students, alcohol is a massive part of university life -which is not a bad thing at all. If it loosens you up and helps you have a good time, then I don’t see why not. Most people are aware of some of the bad effects it could have:
-Saying something offensive or blurting out a secret
-Being a bit too brave and starting fights
– Falling over
– Having an awful hangover the next day
– Throwing up
But these are all consequences most people are willing to face.
However, some people are aware of the more serious effects such as alcoholic liver disease, cirrhosis of the liver and alcoholic pancreatitis, so it could become quite a problem if you drink excessively.
However, today when I was on placement at the GP, we saw a patient who was suffering from an extremely severe consequence of alcohol – one that shocked me.
This middle aged patient led a very normal life. He was extremely active and loved his work as a builder. He did like his alcohol and drank about 3 times the recommended units per week. We were introduced to him as a patient with involuntary movements of his legs. He had literally woken up one day and he couldn’t move either leg. Now, after physiotherapy, he has regained movement, but he will spasm constantly and has lost complete control. He now can’t work and can hardly walk on his own without falling over. Naturally, I wasn’t sure exactly what the cause of this might be. I assumed maybe it was a stroke or a brain injury or something of that nature. I was shocked to realise that the real cause of all of his problems was actually excessive alcohol. He had drank so much over the years that it had damaged part of his brain (the cerebellum) The damage was so bad that he has imapired his normal abilities of balance and coordination of movement.
I personally am not a heavy drinker, however, it was eye opening and shocking for me to think that excessive alcohol can have such effects on the brain. This man’s life has been completely changed. The sad truth was that he thought he had had a stroke which gave him these problems and regardless of being told, he didn’t believe his alchohol was excessive and could cause such a problem. This highlighted to me how it can be so easy to get into drinking habits and not realise that it is becoming a problem. It is amazing to be seeing such interesting and eye opening cases on placements and I’m really excited to continue to do so.