Fifteen million people in the U.S. experience an alcohol use disorder and are in danger of developing the long-term effects of alcohol use. Alcoholism can lead to chronic disease, damage to body organs, depression, and brain damage. Each year, approximately 88,000 people lose their lives due to alcohol-related causes. Therefore, it is imperative for those experiencing an alcohol use disorder to make the all-important decision to get help and treatment for their addiction. After all, alcoholism is the third leading cause of preventable death in the United States.
Long-Term Effects of Alcohol Use on the Body
Long-term effects of alcohol use can include the development of chronic diseases, organ damage, and certain cancers. Men are the greater population among alcoholics, but women suffer more health-related consequences. Family or loved ones may see the signs and symptoms of an alcohol use disorder but feel helpless to aid in addressing it. However, along with the following long-term medical effects on the body, relationships can suffer, and families fall apart as the end result of alcohol addiction.
Long-term effects of alcohol use on the body can include:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Liver diseases such as cirrhosis of the liver
- Digestive problems, stomach ulcers
- Compromised immune system
- Hormonal Imbalances
- Mouth and throat
- Colon and rectum
- Voice box
Long-Term Effects of Alcohol Use on the Brain
Long-term effects of alcohol use on the brain can alter mental well-being. Meanwhile, short-term effects of alcohol on the brain can impact memory, coordination, and functional thinking. Long-term effects of alcohol use can include permanent brain damage. Brain chemistry is affected and what was normal may never be again. This is why the importance of reaching out for help is vital to recovery and successful treatment.
The following long-term effects of alcohol use on the brain include:
Learning and Memory Problems
- Poor school performance
- Decreased attention span
- Difficulty forming thoughts
- Nerve damage
- Trouble with balance
- Korsakoff’s psychosis (wet brain)
Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Use Disorder
Long-term effects of alcohol use will manifest if action is not taken to stop drinking when the signs and symptoms of an alcohol use disorder appear. Recognizing important signs and symptoms can lead to intervention and prevent irreversible damage to the body and mind. If you or a loved one is experiencing any of the following signs and symptoms of excessive alcohol use, taking action is imperative. On the other hand, ignoring these factors could lead to serious health complications and possibly early death.
Signs and symptoms of alcohol use disorder could include:
- Short-term memory loss
- Blacking out – leaving no memory of moments of time
- Sneaking drinks, hiding alcohol, drinking alone, and getting defensive about drinking habits
- Denial of a problem
- Drinking more than originally intended
- Minimizing actions while intoxicated
- Unsuccessful attempts to stop or cut down on drinking
Suddenly stopping excessive drinking can lead to withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms are uncomfortable and often prove to reinforce that there is a problem with alcohol. However, long-term effects of alcohol use can be addressed by taking action once the withdrawal signs and symptoms begin. The addict can either relapse by drinking more alcohol or decide to take on treatment.
The signs and symptoms of withdrawal from alcohol use can include the following:
- Shaking hands and feeling jumpy
- Anxiety and pounding heart
- Dizziness, agitation, and confusion
- Nightmares and/or insomnia
- Sweating and fever
- Loss of appetite and nausea
Treatment for Alcohol Use Disorder
Making the decision to treat a drinking problem is the important first step. After an assessment is made by a medical professional, an immediate medically monitored detox program follows. After all, withdrawal from alcohol is a dangerous process. The patient must be continually monitored by experienced medical professionals to ensure uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms are addressed. Sometimes, medication is prescribed so that withdrawal symptoms are less intense. Making the choice to begin treatment for alcohol use disorder may help to deter the long-term effects of alcohol use.
Inpatient rehab may represent the best choice of treatment plans for those who are experiencing long-term effects of alcohol use. Treatment plans are individualized to meet the specific needs of each addict. Learning how to live in a sober world takes time. With the help of individual therapy, group therapy support, and possibly other new forms of holistic treatment, recovery chances are increased. Following a roadmap that leads to success rather than relapse includes working with experienced treatment professionals to learn life skills for a healthy sober life.
Long-term effects of Alcohol Use in Tennessee
In conclusion, living with the short and long-term effects of alcohol use can be debilitating and a negative force on all aspects of life. If you or a loved one is worried about developing the long-term effects of alcohol use in Tennessee, contact us at Detox West immediately. Reach out by calling us at any of the opportunities within our site that offer a phone number. Making the decision to take action and receive treatment is the beginning step for a full recovery and sober living in the future. Contact us today!