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15 Effects of Long Term Alcohol Abuse

The history of alcohol use to celebrate, relax, to heal, and for religious ceremonies goes back many centuries. Most people can control their consumptions of alcohol and suffer no ill effects from its use, but, alcohol is the most commonly abused substance.

Whether it’s an occasional binge or daily drinking despite the adverse risks, long term effects of alcohol abuse often show up when you least expect them, when they can do the most harm, or when it’s too late to prevent the damage.

About Alcohol Abuse

long term alcohol abuse

It is difficult to know what constitutes long term alcohol abuse, and when it becomes a problem.

Alcohol abuse is defined b the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism “as the continued use of alcohol despite the development of social, legal, or health problems.” People who abuse alcohol may drink excessively on occasion, have several drinks a day, or harm themselves or others due to their drinking habits and behaviors.

There is no way of predicting what the harms of continued alcohol abuse will be and often, the effects are subtle enough to be ignored or minimized for years. For some people, the effects take a gradual and recognizable toll and for others, they hit like a freight train, upending the abuser’s life and those who care about them most.

Some of the most common effects of long term alcohol abuse can include:

1) Tolerance – Adaptation to alcohol requiring more to achieve desired effects.

2) Alcoholism – Compulsive urges to drink, inability to control alcohol use, and withdrawals when BAC levels are decreased.

3) Financial Problems – Neglecting financial obligations to buy and consume alcohol.

4) Legal Problems – DUIs, domestic violence, injuries or assaults, and the misuse of firearms.

5) Social Problems – Isolation or loss of interest in social or important activities.

6) Employment Problems – Poor work performance or attendance, loss of job.

7) Family Problems – Frequent arguments, disagreements, or confrontations leading to abuse, neglect, divorce, or withdrawal from loved ones.

8) Liver Failure – Fatty liver, hepatitis, cirrhosis, and fibrosis.

9) Gastrointestinal Problems – Ulcers, pancreatitis, erosion of the esophagus.

10) Cardiovascular Problems – high blood pressure, stroke, arrhythmias, and cardiomyopathy.

11) Cancer Risks – Throat, esophagus, breast, liver, and mouth cancers.

12) Immunological Problems – Malnutrition and vitamin deficiencies leading to increased risk of infections and reduced healing abilities.

13) Brain Impairments – Decreased cognitive and motor skills, memory loss, and dementia.

14) Psychological Disorders – Inability to cope with daily issues without alcohol, schizophrenia, or behaving immorally, dishonestly, or dangerously.

15) Emotional Instability – Anxiety, depression, uncontrollable mood swings, violent or suicidal tendencies.

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