Continuous use of alcohol can harm a person’s overall health. The impact can be more for those who drink often or have several bottles at a time. Here are eight harmful effects of alcohol addiction and how to find help when you decide to reduce or quit drinking:
Every component of the digestive system contributes to the body’s processing or breakdown of alcohol. The chemical elements of alcohol can harm tissues and organs as they pass through the digestive tract, resulting in digestive issues such as:
- Acid reflux
Symptoms of these issues may include abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea.
Alcohol causes the liver to degrade as it eliminates the alcohol from the bloodstream. Too much alcohol within a short span overloads the liver and accumulates bad fats, a condition known as fatty liver. Fatty liver may cause type 2 diabetes, obesity, and liver dysfunction. Alcoholism may also cause more severe liver problems, including:
- Alcoholic hepatitis
- Liver cirrhosis
Heavy drinking can weaken the heart, affecting how other essential organs receive oxygen and minerals. Alcohol also raises the blood’s triglyceride levels, increasing the risk of severe heart-related issues such as:
- Heart disease
- Heart attack
Drinking alcohol can increase the risk of developing certain types of cancers. The risk increases with the amount of alcohol consumption. Cancers associated with alcohol addiction include:
- Mouth cancer
- Esophagus cancer
- Pancreatic and liver cancer
- Colon and rectum cancer
Immune System Deterioration
Overindulging in alcohol weakens the immune system. A person becomes prone to illnesses like pneumonia and tuberculosis and struggles to get well when they fall ill. This happens because alcohol reduces the immune system’s bacteria and antibodies that fight diseases.
Alcohol immediately impacts the brain resulting in short-term issues, like memory loss, and long-term, irreversible effects, like dementia. Heavy alcohol consumption affects the brain’s structure and function, which causes memory and emotional regulation problems.
Mental Health Issues
Long-term alcohol consumption alters the brain affecting one’s overall mental health. Alcoholism may worsen symptoms of some mental illnesses, such as depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. There is also a likelihood of developing alcohol-related anxiety or depression.
Alcoholism impacts the alcoholic, their family, and everybody they come into contact with, including friends, neighbors, and coworkers. Excessive alcohol consumption may result in the following social problems:
- Public and private property damage
- Decrease in workplace productivity
- Domestic violence
- Violent crimes
- Increased insurance costs
- Higher medical claims
Many alcoholics start withdrawing from society, spending less time interacting with friends and family. They may even develop a new social circle of heavy drinkers, or they may be solitary drinkers, further isolating themselves from society.
Help for Alcohol Addiction
There are specialized alcohol treatment facilities nationwide that help individuals overcome alcoholism. These facilities offer various services, therapies, and activities for individual recovery. Patients learn to deal with triggers and use other tools to support sobriety. Find an addiction recovery center near you to get the help you need to quit drinking. Research your options to find one that best suits your needs.