Long-Term Effects of Alcohol

bottles of different types of alcohol

Alcohol addiction is a chronic disease that doesn’t discriminate based on age, gender, race or belief system. Many people can tolerate drinking without developing a habit — but for an alcoholic, consuming alcohol becomes a compulsion. It can be difficult to detect an alcohol use disorder during the early stages, but as the condition develops, concealing it becomes a challenge. Detecting problem drinking and treating it before it takes over your life significantly decreases your chances of experiencing the adverse long-term effects of alcohol abuse.

Long-Term Effects of Alcoholism: Health

 

Liver

Alcohol is metabolized as a poison by the body, with the liver taking one hour to filter and process one alcoholic drink. Chronic alcohol abuse means the body is continuously trying to flush out this toxin, leading to scarring and eventually cirrhosis.

Brain

Alcohol use disorder leads to memory loss, increased aggression and blackouts. In some cases, these effects aren’t reversible, so seeking treatment is essential.

Heart

When you’re intoxicated, your blood pressure and heart rate increase, putting a strain on your cardiovascular system and raising the risk of stroke and heart attack. The more you drink, the more profound this effect is.

Pancreas

The pancreas breaks down alcohol into toxic by-products. These toxins damage the pancreatic tissue, leading to inflammation. Alcohol is also a sugar, which puts a strain on the pancreas. As a result, long-term drinking can lead to pancreatitis and diabetes.

Decreased Fertility

Men suffer a reduced risk of conceiving if they drink heavily, while women risk their fertility even if they drink moderately.

Increased Risk of Cancer

Drinking alcohol, especially to excess, can significantly increase your risk of developing certain cancers, such as:

  • Bowel cancer
  • Mouth cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Cancers of the head and neck

Long-Term Effects of Alcohol: Social

Quality of Life

It becomes increasingly challenging to take part in activities you once enjoyed as the disease progresses. Hobbies are usually replaced by drinking, and alcoholics may struggle to attend social events without drinking. If you tend to get out of control while you’re drunk, this can lead to the loss of friendships and people may stop inviting you to events.

Relationships

While friendships and acquaintances are often the initial casualties of a chronic alcohol use disorder, the condition harms the relationships you value the most. People who love you dearly, such as spouses, children and parents, are deeply affected by watching your health and well-being deteriorate.

Personal/Career Development

Whether you’re pursuing education or working, alcoholism tends to stunt your ability to progress at the rate you would be able to if you were sober. Someone suffering from an alcohol use disorder is unlikely to be able to read extensively or pursue pastimes that help them to develop because of inebriation.

Financial

While some alcoholics can stay in employment, an increasing amount of their wages are spent on buying alcohol. As tolerance builds, you need more and more to get the desired effects. Also, a person’s potential for getting a promotion or developing their career is severely compromised. You may end up borrowing or stealing from family, leading to further interpersonal problems.

Rehab for Alcohol Addiction

Whether you’ve been drinking excessively for months or years, recovery is an option. Fill out a contact form or call Holdfast Recovery today at 800-351-6858 to speak with one of our admissions counselors about how we can help you to regain control over your future.

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