It is important to understand the impacts that alcohol can have on your life and body. There is a big difference between occasional social drinking and alcohol abuse. For some, making this important differentiation can be challenging. Often, those who drink alcohol may not even realize the extent of how serious alcohol abuse may be. The risk of developing alcohol dependence can lead to long-lasting damaging effects for you and your loved ones.
The amount of alcohol consumed during a period of drinking plays a pivotal role in the harmful effects of alcohol. There is a huge difference between having a couple of drinks a week, and multiple episodes of binge drinking. When an individual consumes a large amount of alcohol at one time, it is considered binge drinking.
Binge drinking is considered much more harmful by professionals and can lead to long-term alcohol effects. The body can have a hard time processing a large amount of alcohol that is being consumed at one time. In turn, this greatly increases the risk factors associated with binge drinking and alcohol abuse.
Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)
Alcohol Use Disorder, commonly referred to as AUD is something that many individuals have without realizing it. In terms of diagnoses, there are qualifiers that your health care professional can help you identify.
In the United States, many are prone to Alcohol Use Disorder but do not seek to be diagnosed, much less treated for it. As a result, many struggling alcoholics do not seek the help they truly need. There are many telltale signs that may have you questioning whether you have Alcohol Use Disorder or alcoholism.
Typically, chronic alcohol abuse leads to this destabilizing disorder. Often, Alcohol Use Disorder increases the risk of other alcohol-related diseases and disorders. If you are experiencing the following thoughts and symptoms, you may be at risk of Alcohol Use Disorder:
- As your body processes alcohol and rids itself of the toxins, you find yourself experiencing alcohol withdrawal symptoms and short-term effects such as shakiness, nausea, racing pulse, and difficulty sleeping.
- You continue to drink regardless of negative alcohol effects such as feelings of sadness, depression, or blacking out.
- You find that you need to increase alcohol consumption to experience the same effects that alcohol once had for you.
- Loved ones have commented or expressed concern over your alcohol consumption.
- You often experience extreme hangovers after drinking, and other unpleasant side effects that make it difficult to carry out your daily responsibilities.
- You have tried to cut back on alcohol or quit completely, but it has been very challenging. Thus, you tend to continue your same alcohol consumption habits. Maybe you’re even impulsive when the chance to drink alcohol arises (you feel like you can’t say “no” or don’t want to stop).
Alcohol Effects on the Body
The effects of alcohol can range from mild discomfort to life-threatening diseases. Alcohol consumption is prevalent in our society, but it is important to understand how excessive drinking can lead to dire personal consequences.
Having a good understanding of alcohol’s effects on your body can help you make a well-informed decision to drink. Unfortunately, many individuals do not have a good understanding of how vulnerable they are to the negative impacts of alcohol on the body. Many people who are secretly addicted to alcohol go through normal daily life as high-functioning addicts.
The following are a few of the adverse effects long-term alcohol abuse can have on the body.
- The liver plays a pivotal role in processing the alcohol that is consumed. In turn, the liver plays a heavy price for continued alcohol use and heavy drinking. As you continue to drink heavily, the liver becomes more impaired and increases the risk of developing liver disease, cirrhosis, and even cancer.
- The communication system of the brain is vast and extensive. Excessive alcohol consumption can impair this delicate network and how the brain processes information.
- Increases the risk of certain cancers.
- The impacts of alcohol abuse on the heart are tremendous. Developing high blood pressure, strokes, and other cardio-related illnesses are more prevalent among those who increase their alcohol intake on a regular basis.
- The immune system is less effective with continued alcohol use. A weakened immune system may not harbor the ability to fight off infection.
- Gastrointestinal discomfort is commonly experienced by chronic drinkers. Bloating, gas, ulcers, and digestive issues can stem from alcohol dependence
- Long-term heavy drinking may lead to disruption of normal pancreas function and the serious life-threatening disease of pancreatitis.
The immediate impact that alcohol has on the body and mind is undoubtedly the impact it plays on the brain. Alcohol impairs brain function and the communication pathways in the brain. For individuals under the influence of alcohol, this often results in impaired speech. Motor functions, judgment, and processing information also take a major toll as a person is partaking in heavy drinking. All these alcohol effects can also result in slurred speech and difficulty walking. Long-term alcohol use can have long-lasting effects on the brain and these sensitive communication pathways.
The immediate effects on the brain when consuming alcohol are very apparent. Lesser apparent is the toll it takes on vital organs as one continues to heavily consume alcohol. Most notable are the effects that alcohol plays on vital organs such as the heart, liver, and pancreas. Diseases of these organs can be life-threatening and sometimes come without warning.
Alcohol Abuse Over Time
When alcohol is consumed over a long period of time, and in some cases even moderately, one cannot argue with the adverse impacts it has on the body and its system. In some cases, these effects are subtle, or can even take years to develop. Prolonged chronic drinking can lead to many diseases, and in some cases result in death. Alcohol abuse should not be taken lightly, and there are ways to receive effective consultation and treatment.
If you feel you are at risk or have Alcohol Use Disorder, it is important to understand the role alcohol plays in your body. In order to prevent the negative impacts of alcohol on the body, one should abstain or lessen their drinking. In order to assess your situation, seek professional treatment options and care. There are many alcohol dependence resources available, and it isn’t a journey that anyone should face alone.
If you or a loved one needs help, call us at 949-625-4019.