22 Side Effects of Alcohol Abuse You Weren’t Aware of
1. Alcohol abuse in the long term can actually cause cravings for alcohol, or “a strong need to drink,” just like the abuse of illicit substances like heroin (NLM).
2. Even in low doses, alcohol slows the activity of your brain making it harder to think and perform certain physical and mental tasks.
3. One of the first effects alcohol has when you begin to drink is to lower your inhibitions. This is why many people abuse it, but it can also cause you to do things that are dangerous like participate in unsafe sex or drive while intoxicated.
4. Insomnia is one of the most common side effects of chronic alcohol abuse.
5. Alcohol intensifies your emotions; if you are happy, you may become extremely excitable but if you are sad, you will likely become even more depressed when drinking.
6. Over time, “male sperm production decreases” in men who abuse alcohol in the long term (California Office of the Courts).
7. “Alcohol also increases the risk of death from car crashes, injuries, homicide, and suicide” (NLM).
8. Abusing alcohol over time kills brain cells, and your brain will actually decrease in mass the longer you abuse alcohol.
9. Your blood pressure will also increase if you continue to abuse alcohol in the long term.
10. This can cause “heart disease, heart attack, or stroke” (COOTC).
11. Someone who overdoses on alcohol often evacuates their bowels and their bladder which are symptoms apart from becoming unconscious or vomiting that they need medical attention immediately.
12. Withdrawal symptoms actually occur in those who become physically dependent on alcohol, and they are often more intense and life-threatening than those caused by illicit drugs.
13. Those who abuse other substances such as prescription opioids, marijuana, and cocaine often do so along with alcohol. In these cases, alcohol worsens the side effects of the other drugs and, in the case of being combined with prescription opioids, can largely intensify the risk of overdose death (NIDA).
14. Abusing alcohol can actually lower your core body temperature (COOTC).
15. Over time, a person’s memory can suffer from long term alcohol abuse, and dementia symptoms may develop.
16. Cirrhosis or severe scarring of the liver occurs in those who abuse alcohol in the long term. Cirrhosis is the last phase of liver disease.
17. Babies born with fetal alcohol syndrome have trouble with controlling their emotions, “daily life skills, such as feeding and bathing,” and cognitive abilities like remembering and learning new things (NLM).
18. A person who abuses alcohol in the long term can develop intestinal ulcers.
19. Anemia is also a side effect of long term alcohol abuse because alcohol lowers the “levels of iron and vitamin B” when abused chronically.
20. “Heavy drinking can increase the risk of certain cancers,” especially in those with a family history of cancer (NLM 1).
21. Binge drinkers, like alcoholics, are still in danger of alcohol poisoning, coma, and death.
22. Like prescription opioids, alcohol in high doses can cause extreme breathing problems and respiratory depression, sometimes leading to death.