Alcohol is the most widely available and legal addictive substance in the United States. In our culture, the use of alcohol has been socially acceptable as far back as written history extends. It is used to celebrate important life passages like graduation, marriage, and baptism served in public places like restaurants, and available in most homes. We reference its use in casual conversation in all settings, including the workplace, where making a drinks date or announcing how much you are looking forward to that after-work glass of wine is normal. And yet 6% of American adults live in the grip of alcohol use disorder and suffer the fallout of their addiction in their careers, relationships, and physical and mental health. When you no longer control your drinking because it controls you, it’s time to find an alcohol rehab program.
If you or someone you love is worried about the long-term effects of alcohol and believes alcoholism treatment is the best and safest next step, learn more by calling Southern Sky Recovery today. We can answer your questions about the risks of alcohol abuse, how to access treatment services, what the options are, and more. Give us a call at 843.350.5769 or use our online form.
Long-Term Effects of Alcohol
Families are too often torn apart when one of their own is addicted to alcohol. The need to drink, preoccupation with the next drink, time spent consuming alcohol, and recovery from alcohol binges become the alcoholic’s priority. All else takes a back seat. Addiction is a serious disease, and annually over 85,000 people die of alcohol-related causes.
What are some of the long-term health effects of alcohol use disorder?
- Damage to the liver–As most people know, liver disease is one of the biggest risks for those who abuse alcohol for many years. Because alcohol is a toxin rather than a nutrient, it is processed as such by the liver. If there is more alcohol entering the body and at a faster rate than the liver can process and excrete, the liver experiences damage. When liver cells are killed off, they create areas of scar tissue within the liver. This is called cirrhosis. In the long-term, fatty liver disease can develop, another disorder that prevents the liver from functioning properly.
- Problems with the brain and central nervous system–Alcohol affects various parts of the brain, including the production of certain neurotransmitters as well as the communication centers.
- Common signs of brain damage are difficulties with gross-motor coordination, decision making, memory, and speech. In addition, depression and dementia are more common among alcoholics than among the non-addicted population.
- Anemia–Addiction to alcohol causes a slow-down in red blood cell production, affecting oxygen transmission throughout the body. Things like muscle weakness, shortness of breath, and exhaustion can occur due to the effects of alcohol-induced anemia. Since alcoholics often eat poorly or not enough, anemia can be exacerbated and reach dangerous levels of iron depletion.
- Cardio-vascular disease–Some of the risks alcohol abuse causes to the heart and related systems include blood clots and high cholesterol. Heart disease is much higher per capita among those with an alcohol use disorder than others.
- Certain cancers–The link between alcohol addiction and certain cancers has been proven. In addition to liver cancer, other systems are vulnerable to cancers due to cell damage caused by alcohol. Among them are the mouth, throat, larynx, and esophagus. Breast and intestinal cancers are higher among alcoholics as well. Alcohol also boosts the body’s absorption of cancer-causing chemicals in cigarettes and other tobacco products, increasing the risk of lung, bladder, and other tobacco-related cancers.
Find Out if You Are at Risk for Alcohol Abuse
If you are a heavy drinker who is uncertain about your status regarding alcohol addiction and its risks, seek professional advice from your physician. Consider the following warning signs of addiction, as well:
- Always drink to intoxication
- Think about drinking or drinking most of your waking hours
- Drink at inappropriate times such as upon waking, while driving, at work, etc.
- Struggle financially due to alcohol consumption
- Seeing your relationships and job performance suffering due to drink
- Begin withdrawal if you go too long without access to liquor
- Drink alone to hide from others how much you consume
- Pre-drink at home before going out for a drink with friends
If you believe you exhibit signs of addiction to alcohol or worry that one of your loved ones is in the grips of this disease, seek information about alcoholism treatment.
Alcohol Abuse Treatment at Southern Sky Recovery
Reach out to Southern Sky Recovery to talk to one of our caring professionals. You are not alone and do not have to figure everything out by yourself. We can help by answering your questions and discussing options and the next steps.
Call 843.350.5769 or use our online form today to learn more about Southern Sky’s alcohol rehab program.