For years it has been known that drinking or using drugs to addictive levels can stunt the emotional development of individuals, causing them to have the emotional maturity of a person years younger than them. For instance, if a person began abusing substances when they were 13 years old but they are now in their 30s, then for all intents and purposes they have the mind and emotional capacity of a person who is 13 years old.
This much is evident to anyone who intimately knows an alcoholic or addict, and even though at times they may express wisdom and maturity far beyond their years, on the whole, their ability to process life, and deal with relational problems is usually severely lacking.
However, and incredibly interestingly, a new study has found that alcohol and alcoholism affects the aging process of an individual in an inverse way to the stunted emotional growth discussed above. A new study that was shared last week at the annual Research Society on Alcoholism in Denver, Colorado, found that alcohol actually causes an individual’s cells to appear older, or in other words, alcohol causes certain parts of the cells to age more rapidly.
What this means is that alcoholism affects an individual by both stunting their emotional aging and by causing their cells to age quicker, which is tremendously fascinating, as these two counteractive processes, actually mimic what occurs within the alcoholic’s psyche.
Many alcoholics experience a sort of schism within their mind, where they are trapped in either the past or the future. They are either reliving days of old or they are looking to a future where things will be better. This schism causes them to be almost unable to live in reality, and what this new finding shows, is that on a cellular level, the alcoholic is experiencing a similar reaction.
What Did the Study Actually Find?
Researchers discovered that there is a direct correlation between the amount of alcohol that a person intakes and the length of the Telomeres in a person’s body. The Telomeres are protein caps at the end of the human chromosomes that are used as markers for aging and general health.
Every time that a cell replicates itself a piece of the Telomere is lost and so as an individual gets older the Telomere becomes shorter and shorter. Within the normal aging process, an individual will experience a shortening of their Telomere, but this occurs over time as their cell replicates and replaces other cells, but within alcoholic patients, the Telomere length was much shorter than expected which means that alcohol actually affects the aging process on a cellular level.
The researchers noted that this finding is incredibly important and that the public should be made aware of it because this was not some sort of anomaly or genetic deficiency among alcoholics, but rather was directly caused by alcohol usage. They noted that it was the alcohol itself that caused the shortening of the Telomeres and so even casual alcohol usage could result in abnormal cellular aging.
For many years people have been aware that drinking alcoholically could harm your health and cause severe medical complications like cirrhosis of the liver or heart problems, but with the new finding, it is more evident than ever that alcohol is a dangerous substance that should not used lightly.
Changing our Relationship to Alcohol
America is in a very real sense an alcohol loving country. It is an ingrained part of our culture and due to the fact that it is legal we often times underestimate how powerful of a substance it is. We neglect the fact that alcohol kills on average 90,000 people every year and that the withdrawal symptoms associated with it can cause serious fatal medical complications.
With this new finding, we are yet again faced with the reality that alcohol is not something that should be used without care or concern and that we may want to take a look at our relationship with alcohol as a society.
Every year millions of people fall into alcoholism, and millions more seek treatment for this deadly illness, but yet we still in a conscious and subconscious way promote heavy drinking and idolize individuals who live a party lifestyle. Inherently there is nothing wrong with this, but given the fact that alcohol can wreak havoc on the health of an individual, and age their cells dramatically we may want to reevaluate our stance and begin to treat alcohol with the respect and trepidation it deserves.
Seeking Treatment for Alcoholism
Getting clean and sober from drugs and alcohol is the most important thing that an addict or alcoholic can do in their life. It is also the most anxiety producing and frightening thing that they can do in their life, but it doesn’t need to be. With help from the professionals at Elevations Health, you can find a new life in sobriety with the least amount of resistance possible. So call us today at 1-866-200-3224 and begin your journey to recovery the right way, with Elevation Health.