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Accelerated aging and organ damage with chronic alcohol abuse

The chemical we call “alcohol" is actually ethanol - one of many chemicals that are alcohols (which is any compound with a hydroxyl functional group).

It’s also one of the most ancient intoxicants; the fermentation of beer predates the domestication of horses (~6000 years ago vs. 5500 years ago), though the first recorded recipe (and definitive proof of intentional brewing) was not until 3900 BCE, in ancient Sumeria.

This illustration shows the accelerated aging, ulceration of the stomach, and cirrhosis of the liver in a man who has abused alcohol since he was a teenager. While the body has defenses against acute alcohol toxicity, such as vomiting the irritating alcohol from the stomach (as well as the negative mental associations we make with hangovers, of course), it does not have the same defenses against chronic excessive alcohol consumption. As one develops a tolerance for alcohol, and drinks more frequently, the brain becomes dependent upon it.

Alcohol is one of the few drugs that is absorbed directly through the stomach, for the most part. This can cause significant ulceration and scleroses (hardening) with chronic abuse. As the liver is where the alcohol and its by-products are processed, consistent abuse of the substance can cause significant organ damage.

Die Frau als Hausärztin
. Dr. Anna Fitcher-Duckelmann, 1911.

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