Effects of Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol addiction can wreck your life. Alcohol addicts have a hard time controlling their own life and fail to take care of their family. Everything is driven by a relentless desire to get another shot of alcohol. People who struggle with alcohol abuse lull themselves into a false sense of complacency. Alcohol is not only legal, but also easily accessible, which makes it all the more difficult to avoid.

Alcohol is correlated with hostile behavior. For that reason, alcoholics generally find themselves doing things they never imagined they'd do: assaulting their partners, stealing from loved ones, and abusing their children.

Effects of Alcohol Addiction

Let’s explore the overall effects of alcohol addiction.

Immediate Effects of Alcohol Use

Alcohol begins to work on your body and brain from the first sip. Being a central nervous system depressant, it slows down the pace of your brain activity. To make matters worse, the effects become more severe as you consume alcohol for a prolonged period.

A few short-term consequences of drinking alcohol include:

  1. Impaired judgment
  2. A feeling of fullness
  3. Poor coordination
  4. Reduced brain activity
  5. Loss of consciousness
  6. Lowered inhibitions
  7. Slower breathing
  8. Less motor control
  9. Gastrointestinal discomfort

Long-Term Effects

Consuming excessive alcohol can cause acute harm to your physical and mental well-being. Cardiovascular disease, liver damage, and cancer are only a few of the dangerous long-term side effects of alcohol addiction. We are going to elaborate these effects later in this post.

Effects on Family

Alcohol abuse can disrupt any family. People who live with alcoholic parents or spouses feel as if they are dealing with a bad accident every day because each day comes with its own set of challenges.

Living with individuals who are unable to overcome their alcohol addiction is unsafe and unpredictable. From domestic disturbances to driving charges, family members feel helpless and usually avoid confronting the addiction. In fact, some family members are forced to become enablers, buying alcohol for the addicted person.

Effects on Society

Owing to the psychological effects of alcohol dependency, the addicted individual generally becomes less supportive of friends, family members and colleagues. Sufferers avoid attending social events and sometimes miss out on meetings. Since alcohol addicts are not fully aware of their behavior when they are under the influence, they fail to network or communicate with peers effectively.

This lack of productivity and empathy leads to undue troubles for individuals who are financially dependent on the sufferer. If the addiction becomes worse, a partner or roommate may need to work for extra hours or find a second job.

Effects on Physical Health

Alcohol addiction affects all areas of the human body. Consuming too much alcohol also leads to digestive, circulatory and reproductive problems. Men can develop erectile dysfunction and women who consume alcohol during pregnancy are at a greater risk of stillbirth, or premature birth. In worst cases, a baby is born with fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS).

Let’s take a look at how alcohol addiction wreaks havoc on a person’s physical health.

Liver and Digestion

Liver is responsible for flushing toxins out of the body. Since, our liver metabolizes many substances, including alcohol, excessive consumption affects liver performance. Prolonged addiction can make the liver less effective and also leads to scarring or fat accumulation in the liver. In some cases, sufferers become vulnerable to chronic inflammation. Heavy drinkers are at risk of developing fatty liver disease, alcoholic hepatitis or even liver cancer.

This long-term inflammation also results in pancreatitis, chronic heart burn and increases the risk of ulcers. Moreover, changes to pancreatic enzymes affect insulin production, which puts you at a risk of diabetes. More complicated problems include poor intestinal function as the intestines fail to digest important nutrients, especially thiamine, which leads to malnutrition.

Nervous system and Circulatory System

Alcohol triggers the release of dopamine and serotonin. These neurotransmitters are linked with the brain’s reward system and can worse your addiction. Since the addiction also leads to the deficiency of B12, you can develop dementia-like symptoms. For that reason, alcoholics usually suffer from memory loss.

Heart and Lungs

The heart and lungs are also affected by binge drinking. The addiction leads to irregular heartbeat, abnormal blood pressure, stroke and cardiomyopathy, which lead to various heart diseases.

Malnutrition from alcohol addiction sometimes results in anemia. Loss of nutrients also puts you at a greater risk of acquiring osteoporosis and osteoarthritis, making you vulnerable to weak muscles and fractures.

Cancer Risk

Consuming alcohol or any toxic substance lowers the body’s natural defenses. As a result, alcoholics are prone to contract a contagious disease, including tuberculosis or pneumonia. But worst of all, alcohol addiction also leads to the onset of many forms of cancer including cancer of the:

  1. Liver
  2. Esophagus
  3. Mouth
  4. Throat
  5. Breast
  6. Bowel

Effects on Mental Health

People who suffer from mental disorders, such as bipolar disorder, anxiety or depression are likely to develop AUD. While consuming alcohol initially leads to a feeling of relaxation, more consumption generates stress and anxiety. For that reason, alcohol triggers depressive cycles in people with depression or individuals who have bipolar disorder.

Since alcohol shrinks the brain, it negatively affects learning and cognitive function. Thiamine deficiency caused by alcohol addiction also leads to Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, which is actually a collection of dementia-like symptoms along with reduced mobility. Medical experts reveal that even a small serving per day can damage memory and cognition, over time.

Drunk Driving

People who are struggling with an AUD or alcohol use disorder are guilty of causing a significant number of car accidents every year. Alcohol takes almost 30 minutes to two hours to get absorbed into the bloodstream. Since alcohol can slow down your cognitive skills and affect your motor skills, drinking and driving becomes a lethal combination.

Lack of coordination makes it almost impossible to avoid an impending harmful situation. If you have trouble walking or find yourself swaying after a drinking session, it is best to take a cab home to avoid hurting yourself and other people.

Overcoming Alcohol Addiction

No matter how bad your alcohol addiction is, recovery is possible. Although every journey is different, there are many ways to overcome the addiction once you decide to get sober. There are many resources available and qualified professionals are always ready to help you take the first step to recovery. The road to recovery is just a click away. If you have already been through a Treatment Program, go ahead and be a part of the Alcoholics Anonymous Meetings in your area to combat your addiction the healthy way.

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