While the occasional night out or few glasses of wine at home are not a big deal, excessive and/or binge drinking can have a serious impact on your health. In fact, from the moment you first take a sip of your drink, the alcohol starts affecting your body. Excessive consumption of alcohol can take a major toll on your overall wellbeing.
It’s a well known fact that your liver is the main organ in which helps to process toxins and eliminate them from the body. Chronic abuse of alcohol lessens the ability of the liver to do so effectively. Long-term excessive drinking can put you at a higher risk for liver disease and liver inflammation. Inflammation actually causes a build up of scar tissue, which can permanently damage the liver.
Alcohol abuse can also damage the digestive tract, making it harder for your body to absorb nutrients from the food you consume. In some severe cases this can actually lead to malnutrition. Other signs of damage to the digestive tract from drinking can include excessive gas, bloating and diarrhea. Ulcers and hemorrhoids are also common in people who suffer from alcohol addiction. Those who drink excessively may also be at a greater risk for certain types of cancer including cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, colon and liver.
In addition to the liver and digestive tract, chronic alcohol abuse can damage your heart and lungs as well. Complications may include high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, heart disease and even heart failure. Malnutrition caused by the body’s inability to properly absorb nutrients can lead to anemia as well.
It’s common to see one of the first signs of intoxication being slurred or slowed speech. This is because the alcohol slows down the communication between your body and your brain. Short term effects on the Central Nervous System include difficulty balancing (which may lead to falling down), impaired coordination and the aforementioned slurred/slowed speech. Alcohol abuse in the long term can impact your brain’s ability to create memories as well as your ability to make rational decisions. In addition, over time your frontal lobe can become permanently damaged. The frontal lobe is responsible for control over your emotions, judgement, short-term memory as well as several other very important functions. In fact, long term alcohol abuse can lead to permanent brain damage.
Alcohol dependency is a very serious concern. Not only is the addiction physical but it can also be mental as well. The withdrawal from alcohol can be very serious and even life-threatening. Because of this, many who suffer from the addiction to alcohol seek professional help in a rehabilitation or clinical setting. Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can include severe anxiety and nervousness, nausea, tremors, high blood pressure, excessive sweating, irregular heartbeat and in more severe cases there may be seizures and hallucinations.
These are just some of the negative effects that alcohol abuse can have on your body. In reality, many more aspects of your health can be affected. If you think you or someone you know may have a problem with alcohol, consider reaching out to your local Alcoholic’s Anonymous chapter or seeking professional help. Remember that you are not alone and you can get through this.