Are you in control of your drinking, or does it control you? Most U.S. households contain alcohol in some form, and drinking a toast is a time-honored way to celebrate an achievement, like graduation or retirement. How do people navigate the world of alcohol, and how can you tell if you have a drinking problem? Alcohol abuse treatment can help you change the course of your life. Get help now to avoid the long-term effects of alcohol abuse and begin a new life of wellness and sobriety.
The effects of alcohol abuse are many and can linger far beyond the day you stop drinking. But it is possible to heal. Learn about alcohol rehab, alcohol’s long-term effects, and what your options are by reaching out to Virtue Recovery Killeen today. You can connect via online form or by calling 866.843.0545.
Long-Term Effects of Alcohol Abuse
Short-term symptoms of intoxication do not last. Slurred speech, drowsiness, poor coordination, and nausea will pass. But alcohol’s long-term effects are a different matter. Consider the following long-term effects of alcohol abuse:
- Liver damage – Alcohol is not a nutrient but a toxin, meaning it is processed by the liver, which extracts the toxins to excrete them. The liver can only process so much alcohol at a time. Suppose it is overtaxed, for example, by excessive or long-term alcohol toxicity. In that case, it is damaged, scar tissue develops, and the result can be cirrhosis or fatty liver disease, which prevents the liver from doing its work.
- Anemia – Alcohol abuse slows the body’s production of red blood cells, leading to anemia. Since red blood cells deliver oxygen to all the body’s systems, low red blood count means low oxygen. This can lead to muscle weakness, exhaustion, and shortness of breath. Anemia is often worsened by poor nutrition and is common among those who drink excessively.
- Heart disease – The heart and its related systems are known as the cardiovascular system and are often damaged by alcohol abuse. Blood clots and high cholesterol are effects of long-term alcohol addiction.
- Brain effects – Brain damage from long-term alcohol abuse can include difficulty making decisions, poor motor coordination, memory loss, the inability to lay down new memories, and speech issues.
- Mental health – Alcohol abuse and addiction often lead to co-occurring mental health conditions such as depression. Dementia is also more common among people struggling with AUD than the general population.
- Cancer – Alcohol addiction is tied to certain cancers. Because alcohol amplifies the body’s ability to absorb other cancer-causing chemicals, for example, in tobacco, there is a higher risk of lung, bladder, and other cancers based on exposure to toxins.
Aside from your long-term health risks, the damage that can be done to families, careers, and finances is also potentially long-lasting. Get help for an AUD before the damage is done.
Are You at Risk?
Are you a frequent drinker, or do you abuse alcohol? Do you fall into the addiction category, which puts you at greater risk for the long-term effects of alcohol? Consider the signs of danger below. Do you:
- Often or always drink until drunk?
- Make poor choices about when to drink, such as while driving, at work, or before getting out of bed in the morning?
- Think about drinking for much of the time that you are not drinking?
- Struggle with money problems due to what you spend on beer, wine, or liquor?
- Drink alone to hide how much you drink?
- Notice your job or school performance and relationships slipping?
If you have even the glimmer of a thought that you might have an alcohol problem, reach out to learn more.