Symptoms and Long-Term Effects of Alcohol Abuse – United Recovery

When used occasionally, alcohol does not have a significant negative impact, but when alcohol addiction and abuse occur, there are disastrous health effects to both your brain and body. Excessive drinking is dangerous for all people, but there is a stigma around addiction that makes it hard for people to get the help they need.
Keep reading for information about different signs and symptoms of alcohol addiction as well as the long-term effects of alcohol abuse. This information can help you help others get the assistance they need to overcome this serious habit.

Signs of Alcohol Addiction

Alcoholism or alcohol addiction can look different depending on the person. For example, one person battling with alcoholism might binge drinkfor several days, and then, not drink at all for several days. Another type of alcohol addict is a person who drinks consistently throughout the day, every day. These different types of alcohol addiction mean that there is not just one way to determine if someone has an issue with alcohol. However, there are some signs that someone might be suffering from alcohol abuse or addiction. Check out some of these signs below, and if you know someone who is exhibiting any of them, they could have an issue with alcohol.

  • Disinterest in activities or hobbies
  • Excessive and persistent drinking
  • Problems with relationships or jobs
  • Harmful use of alcohol
  • Using alcohol as a coping mechanism for any personal problem or issue
  • Feelings of guilt about alcohol consumption
  • Feelings of anger when confronted about alcohol consumption
  • Trouble giving up alcohol
  • Withdrawal symptoms after stopping alcohol consumption
  • Financial distress or legal trouble

Some of the signs listed above show up right away if someone is having a problem with alcohol, but other signs do not show up until someone has been drinking for a longer period of time. A person does not need to be showing every single one of these signs to be having a problem with alcohol consumption. Even just one of them is a red flag.
Persistent alcohol use can have a very negative impact on a person’s physical and psychological health due to a variety of bad symptoms. Check out some of the symptoms associated with alcohol abuse below.

Financial distress or legal trouble

Above, we discussed some common signs of alcohol addiction. Here, we will get into some of the issues that can occur physically and psychologically when alcohol is abused.
Physical Symptoms of Alcohol Abuse – Alcohol is a drug, so using alcohol has some immediate physical symptoms. Some of these side effects include slurred speech, memory loss, bloodshot eyes, decreased motor function, vomiting, and more. If a person continues using alcohol to the point of abuse, they will start to have cravings for alcohol, and begin to experience more significant problems. People who abuse alcohol may have long memory blackouts from binge drinking. Heavy drinking can also lead to physical problems like alcohol poisoning. Alcohol poisoning describes an alcohol overdose, and someone experiencing this may have irregular breathing, slow heart rate, low body temperature, vomiting, and seizures. Alcohol poisoning is something that requires immediate treatment, or it could lead to death.
Psychological Symptoms of Alcohol Abuse – Consistent alcohol use and abuse can also lead to negative psychological problems, including emotional turmoil, depression, and worsening of mental health issues. Drinking alcohol messes with a person’s brain chemistry. In the short-term, drinking alcohol releases dopamine and endorphins in the brain, which are chemicals that make a person feel good. However, in the long-term, alcohol abuse can actually alter the chemistry of your brain, which can lead to significant mental health issues.
As you can see, there are a lot of negative effects of alcohol use, even in the short term. However, the long-term effects of alcohol abuse can be even more significant. Read on to learn more about how alcohol can affect your future health.

Long-Term Effects of Alcohol Abuse

There are many negative long-term effects of chronic heavy drinking, including:

  • Liver Damage– When a person drinks alcohol, it is metabolized in the liver; however, the body metabolizes alcohol into acetaldehyde, which is toxic to the liver. This means that the liver of someone who abuses alcohol is at a larger risk for damage. Long-term alcohol abuse can result in liver disease, and if the liver cannot work properly, it can lead to multiple organ failure.
  • Cancer – There are several cancers associated with long-term alcohol abuse. People who chronically abuse alcohol are at greater risk for cancer of the stomach, liver, mouth, colon, breast, and esophagus.
  • Brain Damage– In the short-term alcohol messes with the brain. For example, most people commonly associate alcohol with slurred speech and memory lapses. However, those are just short-term effects, and chronic consumption of alcohol can lead to some pretty dangerous long-term effects as well. Over the long term, alcohol can cause difficulty processing information because it depresses the central nervous system. Alcohol can also speed up the brain’s aging process, leading to dementia. Additionally, long-term alcohol abuse can cause problems with muscle coordination and certain neurological conditions.
  • Gastrointestinal Problems– People who drink heavily for a long period of time can experience problems with their stomach and gastrointestinal system. Chronic alcohol abuseong can lead to ulcers and inflammation of the stomach and the gastrointestinal tract. This area is particularly susceptible because it picks up the toxins that alcohol gives off.
  • Osteoporosis– Osteoporosis is the loss of bone mass, and this disease increases the risk of bone fractures. Osteoporosis can be a long-term effect of chronic and heavy alcohol consumption. This is even more of a risk for those that start drinking heavily when they are adolescents or young adults.
  • Heart Damage– Alcohol abuse can also affect heart health. Heavy drinking can lead to problems with high blood pressure and heart failure because it puts extra strain on the heart.
    As you can see, there are a lot of adverse long-term effects of alcoholism or alcohol abuse. That is why it is essential for people to get treatment for their alcohol addiction or abuse. The sooner they get treatment, the more likely they are to avoid these health problems in the future.

Helping Someone You Know Get Treatment for Alcohol Abuse

There are many negative long-term effects of chronic heavy drinking, including:

  • Liver Damage– When a person drinks alcohol, it is metabolized in the liver; however, the body metabolizes alcohol into acetaldehyde, which is toxic to the liver. This means that the liver of someone who abuses alcohol is at a larger risk for damage. Long-term alcohol abuse can result in liver disease, and if the liver cannot work properly, it can lead to multiple organ failure.
  • Cancer – There are several cancers associated with long-term alcohol abuse. People who chronically abuse alcohol are at greater risk for cancer of the stomach, liver, mouth, colon, breast, and esophagus.
  • Brain Damage– In the short-term alcohol messes with the brain. For example, most people commonly associate alcohol with slurred speech and memory lapses. However, those are just short-term effects, and chronic consumption of alcohol can lead to some pretty dangerous long-term effects as well. Over the long term, alcohol can cause difficulty processing information because it depresses the central nervous system. Alcohol can also speed up the brain’s aging process, leading to dementia. Additionally, long-term alcohol abuse can cause problems with muscle coordination and certain neurological conditions.
  • Gastrointestinal Problems– People who drink heavily for a long period of time can experience problems with their stomach and gastrointestinal system. Chronic alcohol abuse can lead to ulcers and inflammation of the stomach and the gastrointestinal tract. This area is particularly susceptible because it picks up the toxins that alcohol gives off.
  • Osteoporosis– Osteoporosis is the loss of bone mass, and this disease increases the risk of bone fractures. Osteoporosis can be a long-term effect of chronic and heavy alcohol consumption. This is even more of a risk for those that start drinking heavily when they are adolescents or young adults.
  • Heart Damage– Alcohol abuse can also affect heart health. Heavy drinking can lead to problems with high blood pressure and heart failure because it puts extra strain on the heart.

As you can see, there are a lot of adverse long-term effects of alcoholism or alcohol abuse. That is why it is essential for people to get treatment for their alcohol addiction or abuse. The sooner they get treatment, the more likely they are to avoid these health problems in the future.
It may not be easy to help a friend or loved one get treatment for alcohol abuse, but it could save their life. Alcohol addiction and abuse have a lot of negative effects on a person.
At United Recovery Project, we work to help people get treatment for alcohol addiction and abuse. We offer several different treatment options which provide the exact kind of help that each patient needs. Learn more here about United Recovery, and how our staff can help your loved one stop suffering from alcoholism.

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