Alcohol can weaken the immune system, making it difficult for the body to fight diseases
Alcohol affects the central nervous system and causes the user to feel and think differently. However, the effects of alcohol abuse are more serious. Abusers become sedated and experience lowered inhibitions, slower reaction times, and sometimes breathing difficulties. Alcohol affects judgment, emotions and thoughts. Alcohol abuse also physically impacts vital brain centers, muscle coordination and speech.
Physical Effects of Alcoholism
People with alcohol addiction and binge drinkers may be at risk of several serious medical conditions:
- Alcohol can affect the body’s ability to produce new bone. Alcohol addiction leads to osteoporosis, increased fractures and thinning bones.
- People with alcohol addiction are at a high risk of liver disease since it can cause inflammation. With prolonged abuse, hepatitis can also result in irreversible scarring and destruction of the liver tissue.
- Heavy drinkers may have several digestive problems. Ongoing drinking can cause inflammation of the stomach lining, along with esophageal and stomach ulcers. Alcohol also affects the body’s ability to absorb nutrients. It can damage the pancreas and therefore affects digestion and metabolism. Alcohol can also cause the pancreas to become inflamed.
- Effects of alcohol abuse also include diabetes complications. Alcohol reduces the ability of the liver to release glucose. It also leads to low blood sugar. This can be dangerous for diabetes patients that are taking insulin for lowering sugar levels.
- Heavy drinkers are at risk of high blood pressure, stroke, heart failure and enlarged heart.
- Alcohol can weaken the immune system. It makes it difficult for the body to fight diseases. A weakened immune system further increases the risk of other physical effects of alcoholism.
- Long term use of alcohol has also been linked to several types of cancers such as breast, colon, liver, and throat and mouth cancer.
- In heavy drinkers, the brain shrinks faster in some key regions. This can lead to symptoms of dementia and memory loss.
- Alcohol abusers often face problems in their ability to make judgments, plan and solve problems. Other than nonspecific dementia, heavy drinkers may suffer from very serious nutritional deficiencies that can lead to other types of dementia.
- Prolonged alcohol abuse can lead to nerve damage that causes numbness, muscle weakness, erectile dysfunction, constipation and incontinence. Alcohol leads to nutritional deficiencies and this can affect nerve function. This may lead to alcoholic neuropathy.
Alcohol addiction should never be taken lightly. It is important to get medical help. There are several rehab centers and treatment plans available today for alcoholism. Individual and group counseling, relapse prevention help and psychotherapeutic treatment plans can help. You can find the tools and coping mechanisms you need to stop alcohol use. Even for those with a history of years of alcohol addiction, it is possible to change.