Alcohol is the most widely used drug in the world. Fifteen million people suffer from alcohol use disorder in the United States. Alcohol abuse can lead to severe health problems, including organ damage, addiction, overdose, and depression. If a person goes through rehab, many of the adverse effects of alcohol abuse can be reversed. However, some permanent side effects, including damage to the liver and pancreas, may never be reversed.
How Alcohol Abuse Affects Your Body Long-Term
You might know that overdrinking can negatively impact your physical health. But did you know that it is the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States? More than 85,000 people die every year because of alcohol-related causes. When a person drinks alcohol, they may notice the drug’s immediate impact on their body. If you overdrink just one time, your breathing slows down, you become dehydrated, and your heartbeat changes.
Prolonged alcohol abuse can lead to life-threatening conditions, including:
- Stomach ulcers
- Liver cirrhosis
- Hormonal imbalances
- Heart damage
- Compromised immune system
- Cancers of the breast, esophagus, colon, mouth, and liver
More men than women abuse alcohol. However, women are at a greater risk for health hazards related to alcohol abuse. This is because male and female bodies metabolize alcohol differently. Alcohol has a more powerful effect on a young person’s developing body. It can interfere with brain development and raises the risk of a person being involved in or becoming a victim of someone involved in risky behaviors.
How Alcohol Affects Your Brain Long-Term
If you over-drink, you could be impacting your mental well-being. Even if you overindulge in alcohol for a short amount of time, you can negatively alter your coordination, memory, and cognitive skills. Repeated alcohol abuse can lead to irreversible brain damage. This means that you will exhibit intoxication symptoms or declining cognitive abilities, even when not drinking alcohol.
Some of the long-term consequences of alcohol on the brain include:
- Nerve damage
- Reduced attention span
- Trouble with balance
When Does Alcohol Use Become Abuse?
A common misconception is that a person must be an alcoholic before facing some of the negative results of alcohol use. It is true that a person who has an issue with heavy alcohol use and binge drinking may develop the disease of alcoholism. However, many binge drinkers and heavy drinkers are not alcoholics. If you are concerned that a loved one might be battling addiction, you will do well to familiarize yourself with the signs of addiction. Also, being aware of the symptoms of alcohol use can give you what you need to help your loved ones prevent long-term damage.
For example, your loved one may be struggling with alcohol use if they drink to the point of blacking out. You may see them hiding alcohol around the home or they may lie or be defensive about their drinking. They may have attempted to cut back or stop drinking but can’t kick the habit. Many individuals battling with alcohol use adamantly deny that they have a problem. When a person who is dependent on alcohol stops drinking for a short amount of time, they may experience loss of appetite, agitation, tremors, confusion, or visual and auditory hallucinations. Each of these symptoms indicates that alcohol is already harming the health and well-being of your loved ones.
Get Treatment for Alcohol Addiction and Excessive Use
Addiction and alcohol use disorder impacts the lives of millions of Americans. If you or someone you care about is battling alcohol addiction, help is out there. Some people try to detox on their own. However, when faced with withdrawal symptoms, they relapse. Are you ready to get control over your life again? Do you want to avoid the short-term and long-term effects of alcoholism? If so, we can help. Call us today at 833-820-2922.