9 Long Term Health Impacts of Alcohol
Dangers of Excessive Drinking
Alcohol is the most common drug that causes substance abuse around the world, which makes many people assume it is safe. However, excess alcohol and alcohol abuse can cause serious health risks, including organ damage, psychological damage, addiction, and overdose. In the U.S. alone, nearly 15 million people suffer from alcohol use disorder. Binge drinking even once can have several negative health effects on your body. As a depressant, it slows down breathing and heart rate and if drunk to excess, can cause a person to stop breathing and fall into a coma or be fatal, also known as alcohol poisoning. It also interferes with a person’s gag reflex, which can lead to choking if the person vomits.
Other risks associated with alcohol are associated with inhibited behavior. For example, drinking to excess can lead to accidents and injuries, violent behavior, unsafe sex, loss of personal possessions, and unplanned time off work or school. Some effects of alcohol on the body and the brain can be reversed after the person stops drinking, however there are other conditions that cause permanent damage to the body.
Alcohol’s Long Term Health Effects
Heavy drinking for many years can cause damage to several areas of your body. The brain, nervous system, heart, liver, digestive system, and pancreas are the organs most susceptible to long-term alcohol abuse. Some long-term health impacts of alcohol include, but are not limited, to:
1. High Blood Pressure and Cholesterol. Both are major risk factors for cardiovascular disease, heart attacks and stroke.
2. Weakened Immune System. Making you more susceptible to serious infections.
3. Osteoporosis. Alcohol abuse leaches out vitamins from your systems and causes malnutrition, which could lead to weakened bones and osteoporosis, increasing the risk of broken bones from falls.
4. Liver Disease. As the liver overworks daily to filter out toxins from alcohol, it can become damaged and lead to liver diseases such as fatty liver, cirrhosis, and hepatitis with excess alcohol consumption. Some of this damage may be irreversible.
5. Several Cancers. Alcohol abuse has been linked to several cancers including liver cancer, mouth cancer, esophageal cancer, stomach cancer, and large and small intestine cancers.
6. Dementia. Heavy alcohol misuse can cause brain damage and eventually lead to dementia.
7. Mental Health Disorders. Some people use alcohol to escape depression or anxiety, but heavy alcohol consumption use can lead to developing or make existing mental health disorders worse.
8. Infertility. Heavy drinking can lead to infertility in both men and women. In women it can cause irregular periods and affect ovulation, making it difficult to conceive.
9. Pancreatitis. Alcohol is broken down into substances that are toxic to the pancreas. Over time with frequent alcohol misuse, it can lead to pancreatitis.
How To Get Help for Alcohol Addiction
Alcohol use disorder is the most common addiction worldwide. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse, treatment is available. You can talk to loved ones about your addiction and ask them to help you find a good addiction treatment program, or you can research online for the best alcohol addiction treatment center for you. Number one option you look for is a substance abuse treatment program with medical detox. Alcohol withdrawals can be dangerous and even fatal, which requires medication assisted treatment. Depending on certain factors, you should then enter inpatient treatment or intensive outpatient program, such as a co occurring disorder.
Alcohol Rehab and Detox at Quantum
Quantum Behavioral Health Services uses a variety of addiction treatment options that are personalized to your alcohol use disorder. Our staff will work with you to help you achieve your goals and get you the long-term alcohol addiction recovery you need to get your life back. Give us a call today at (609) 993-0733 if you have any questions, to verify your insurance, or get to start with one of our rehab programs.