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Physical and Emotional Effects of Alcohol

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Alcoholism is one of the most common forms of addiction. Millions of people are dependent on alcohol.

When a person becomes addicted, they will lose all self-control. Their cravings will increase and they will have a desire to drink in excess. When this happens, there are many things in the person’s life that are affected. Things will no longer remain the same. Not only does the alcoholism affect the individual, but there are also effects felt by other people, including friends, family members and co-workers. People who have alcoholism will often continue to drink.

Some of these people won’t even realize they have a problem. While they are destroying their life and the lives of those around them, all they will be able to think about is getting their next drink.

Alcoholism is a serious disease that will usually require some form of treatment. It is possible for people to stop drinking, but when they do this, they will experience withdrawal symptoms. Some of these symptoms can be life-threatening and will require immediate medical attention. This is why most people with an alcohol addiction will benefit from an inpatient alcohol rehab center rather than trying to beat their addiction on their own.

Alcohol Dependency on Health

Excessive drinking will result in the development of many health problems. The long-term effects of alcoholism are similar to those experienced with other drugs.

When alcohol is consumed on a moderate level, individuals may run the risk of developing liver disease, pancreatitis, esophageal and oropharyngeal cancers. Alcoholism can also result in cardiovascular problems. These risks are increased when the person stops drinking and begins to experience withdrawal symptoms. The symptoms could be severe, and in some cases could result in death. People who consume excessive amounts of alcohol will also have an increased risk of developing arthritis, cancer, heart disease, hyper- and hypoglycemia, kidney disease, obesity, nervous disorders, psychological disturbances and malnutrition.

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Alcoholism can also have serious health effects on unborn children. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is caused from a mother drinking heavily while pregnant. The fetus will suffer physical and behavioral abnormalities.

Internal Organs

Studies have repeatedly found that long-term alcoholism effects in spurts throughout a person’s life can cause great harm to one’s internal organs.  This includes liver damage, liver failure, high blood pressure and shrunken arteries.
Reproductive System

Most young, college age women who engage in ongoing binge drinking behavior would be mortified to learn that alcoholism causes disruption to their menstrual cycles, infertility and even early menopause in some women. Even more frightening is the risk of birth defects and fetal alcohol syndrome in the children born to alcoholic women. But young women aren’t the only ones at risk. Male alcoholics may experience a drop in sperm count as a result of long-term alcohol abuse – leaving many unable to father children as they grow older.
Bones and the Body

Teen alcoholics run the risk of stunted bone growth as they grow older.  This is another prime example of the risks of alcohol abuse during a time when the individual is going through important stages of development.  In older men and women, alcoholism can lead to osteoporosis and other bone-related issues.
The Nose

It is a little known fact, but alcoholics run the risk of losing their sense of smell over time.   Just another prime example of the many ways in which alcoholism leaves no stone unturned when it comes to damaging the human body.
How the Brain is Affected

A individual who abuses alcohol sees their brain literally shrink over time.  The frontal cortex – the area of the brain responsible for higher functioning – including reasoning and long-term planning is heavily impacted by this problem.  The hippocampus is also impacted negatively by heavy drinking.  This causes problems in learning and memory — and an individual’s mood as well.

Can Alcoholism Lead to Cancer?

A number of recent studies by the American Medical Association have found links between alcoholism and certain types of cancer.   Regardless of the chances of getting cancer as a result of drinking, this should be reason enough to enter into an alcohol rehab program as soon as possible.


Social Effects

Aside from the many health effects caused by drinking alcohol in excess, people with alcoholism will also suffer social effects. They may begin to withdraw from family and friends. Many people with an alcohol addiction will develop a new social circle that consists of other people with a similar addiction. They will have trouble maintaining any meaningful relationship.

Most people with alcoholism will have some major changes in their marriage and need alcoholism help. The well spouse may leave or demand divorce unless the alcoholic receives treatment.

If children are involved, the addict may no longer be a part of their lives. In addition to the effects on the family structure, alcoholism will have a negative effect on relationships in the work environment. People with an addiction will not be able to get along with co-workers, which can lead to the loss of the job.


Other Effects

Alcoholism poses a threat to every aspect of the addict’s life. No matter what, they will suffer physical effects. Most will also suffer from psychological effects.

This could include unexplained mood swings, anxiety, severe depression, suicidal thoughts and tendencies, angry outbursts and acts or violence. All of these things are caused by the dependency to the alcohol. Each thing presents a threat to the safety of the addict as well as any other person the addict comes in contact with.


Receiving Treatment

When these effects begin to occur, other people may notice the alcoholism signs and symptoms realizing there is a problem. They may try to talk to the addict, suggesting they need help. However, an alcoholic will only go for help when they are ready. They will have to notice these changes for themselves and carry on their path of destruction before they hit rock bottom. Hopefully, the addict will then realize they need to make some major changes in the way they are living their life.

Most severe alcoholics will require a treatment center to help them beat their addiction.

These centers will also help them prepare for their new life when they leave the center. This could involve many lifestyle changes, so the center will provide intensive counseling and support to help the person learn new coping skills that will be needed to begin a new life without the dependency on alcohol.

All people with an alcohol addiction should seek some form of treatment. Not only will this increase the chances of a successful recovery, but it will help to reduce withdrawal symptoms and better prepare the patient for a future of sobriety.