The Walking Dead: Are you becoming an alcohol zombie?
By Senior Airman Zachiah Roberson, 319 Air Base Wing Public Affairs
/ Published March 16, 2015
GRAND FORKS AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. --
Deteriorating bodies still in motion, a scenario no one wants to see; yet it is happening to Airmen throughout the Air Force every day.
Driving Under the Influence (DUI) and Drunk and Disorderly offenses plague the military today, but even more devastating is how these Airmen's bodies are handling excessive drinking.
"Anything that you put in your body whether it is Advil or alcohol it will metabolize, the difference is Advil won't get you a DUI, it won't get you into fights and it won't impact your judgment," said Capt. Thomas Efird, 319th Medical Operations Squadron. "The biggest thing alcohol does when consumed it impact a person's ability to make good rational decisions, especially if they are drinking more and more over a long period of time."
Creating a vessel for alcohol to flourish in destroying a person's body can lead to numerous issues within, such as liver failure, sleep deprivation, heart disease, cancer and more.
"A person who uses alcohol long-term has a higher chance of damaging their organs which can lead to cardiovascular diseases, cancer and other types of diseases," said Mongeriq Barron, 319th Medical Support Group medical technician.
Drinking can be seen as fun in moderation and is thought of as harmless, but at a certain point drinking will kick back and let a person know what is truly happening.
"If someone is an alcoholic, chances are their diet may be off, their physical fitness may be suffering and with poor diet and lack of exercise combined with constant consumption of alcohol, one could begin to neglect their oral health also," said Senior Airman Robin Reese, 319th Medical Operations Squadron dental technician.
Dental issues are also not far and few with long-term alcohol consumption. Alcoholics can battle with irritated soft tissue in the mouth which in turn intensifies the chances of getting mouth or throat cancer. Combined with smoking, this could create a 'recipe for disaster' in your mouth opening up the possibilities of diseases becoming an actual problem.
"This in turn could cause bad breath, gum disease, loss of teeth and or tooth structure, intense pain and a host of other dental issues," said Reese.
There is a way to help prevent all of these issues: not abusing alcohol. A person can choose when and why, how much and what they consume. With self-control the issues stop dead in their tracks.
"Self-control can only go so far, someone who cannot stop drinking on their own will need help; as tolerance grows, the ability to recognize a problem decreases," said Efird. "A chronic abuser of alcohol is not the norm in the Air Force, most Airmen who are referred to ADAPT do not have a diagnosis and only need to receive basic alcohol education which is usually four sessions. Our return to duty rate over the past year has been 96 percent!"
The Air Force Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment (ADAPT) is for those who feel they may have a problem with alcohol abuse. The program is in place to "promote readiness, health and wellness through prevention and treatment."
"What I have to say to the people who may feel they have a drinking problem [is] come see ADAPT," said Efird. "Getting help up front can help avoid many negative outcomes and a voluntary patient will not have his or her chain of command notified, so it is even more of an incentive to seek treatment."
Though alcohol abuse can lead to numerous medical issues and even death; through self-control and medical treatment the rested living can continue to watch The Walking Dead.