What Are the Physical Effects of Long-term Alcohol Abuse?
Alcohol abuse in the long-term can be devastating to every area of a person’s life, including professionally, personally, and physically. Unfortunately, those who abuse the substance consistently and drink large amounts often put themselves at serious risk of experiencing a number of dangerous physical effects.
If you are suffering from an alcohol use disorder (AUD) and need help, you can call 800-481-6965 (Who Answers?) today to be matched with safe, reliable rehab centers that will suit your needs.
Alcohol Consumption and Your Health
According to the National Library of Medicine, many Americans drink at least on occasion. For many individuals, this is a fairly safe endeavor medically, and in certain cases, “it may even have health benefits, including reducing your risk of certain heart problems.”
However, this is only true of occasional use and at low-risk levels. When someone starts to drink heavily and often over a long period of time, they put themselves at a serious health risk.
The Common Physical Side Effects of Long-term Alcohol Abuse
Alcohol abuse refers to individuals who drink a large amount over a short period of time or those who drink consistently and often more than the recommended amount. Those who do this often do not realize the “serious toll” consistent alcohol abuse can have on one’s health, or if they do, they do not care (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism).
However, it is extremely important to understand the potential physical side effects of abusive drinking in the long-term. These can include:
- Brain damage that occurs over a long period of time, which can make it more difficult to
- Make decisions
- Control one’s mood and behavior
- Think clearly
- Alcoholic neuropathy, which is a severe type of nerve damage caused by long-term alcohol abuse that can lead to
- Numbness or the feeling of pins and needles in your legs and arms
- “Problems with erections in men” (NLM)
- Leaking urine or difficulty urinating
- Heart problems such as
- Cardiomyopathy (stretching of the heart muscle)
- High blood pressure
- Cardiac arrhythmias (irregular heart beat)
- High blood pressure
- Liver problems such as
- Steatosis (fatty liver)
- Alcoholic hepatitis (liver inflammation that is caused by drinking too much)
- Fibrosis (the thickening of tissue in the liver, which leads to scarring)
- Cirrhosis (irreversible liver damage that can be deadly)
- Unfortunately, drinking heavily and in the long-term puts a person at risk for developing certain types of cancers.
- These can include
- Pancreatitis (swelling of the blood vessels in the pancreas that causes problems with digestion)
- A weakened immune system
- Even drinking too much on one occasion weakens the body’s ability to fight off infection. Over time, this can lead to a much weaker immune system in general.
- Those who abuse alcohol consistently over time are more likely to contract pneumonia, tuberculosis, and other diseases.
- Internal bleeding from the stomach or esophagus
- Nutrition problems
In addition, those who drink often and in the long-term also put themselves at risk of car accidents, falls, drowning, and other deadly occurrences that can result from high levels of alcohol abuse. Because drinking large amounts can impair your judgment, decision-making abilities, and vision, you also put your health at risk just because of the potential, accidental effects you may encounter while drunk.
How Do I Avoid the Physical Effects of Long-term Alcohol Abuse?
The best way to avoid experiencing any of these dangerous effects is to drink in moderation or possibly, if you have certain risk factors for addiction or are already addicted to alcohol, stop drinking completely. It is important to seek help from a professional rehab center if you do believe you have issues with alcohol abuse or may be suffering from an AUD.
We can help you find rehab programs that will help you recover safely from your substance use disorder and begin your life anew. Call 800-481-6965 (Who Answers?) now and we will match you with the best treatment option for your current needs. In addition, we can answer any questions you may have about alcohol abuse, treatment, and recovery.