Drinking alcohol every once and a while doesn’t have a huge impact on one’s life-long health, but consistent alcoholism definitely does. Heavy alcohol consumption or alcohol addiction can lead to issues with mental and physical health, such as liver problems, heart damage, liver problems, and changes in personality and mood.
The more a person drinks over a long period of time, the more likely they are to experience a great change to their quality of life in the present and future. Even those who decide to quit may still experience these symptoms. To ensure that you don’t experience lifelong symptoms, seek help as soon as you realize you have a problem.
Effects of Alcoholism on the Body
Alcohol is the third-leading preventable cause of death in the United States, with approximately 88,000 people dying annually from alcohol-related causes. That includes accidents, alcohol poisoning, and more. However, in the longterm, alcohol can have a vast variety of effects, such as:
- Liver damage
- Stomach ulcers
- Heart damage and failure
- Compromised immune system
While one instance of drinking may lead to short-term problems like trouble breathing, heartbeat issues, and dehydration (as well as the lasting hangover the next day), those who drink heavily and frequently need to think about the long-term damage they’re doing to their body.
Effects of Alcoholism on the Brain
Unfortunately, effects on the body aren’t the only thing you need to be worried about. Damage to the brain and mind is also a present issue amongst long-term alcoholics. Long-term effects on the brain include:
- Nerve damage
- Insomnia or trouble sleeping
- Trouble balancing or vertigo
- Decreased attention span
- Brain fog or trouble forming thoughts
- Wernicke’s Encephalopathy
- Korsakoff’s Psychosis
Long-term alcohol abuse affects the brain heavily and can lead to these types of issues even when alcohol isn’t present in the system. Oftentimes, these issues are long-lasting or permanent, meaning there isn’t a cure. If you drink heavily or struggle with alcoholism, it’s time to start thinking about how your actions now are going to affect your life in the future.
While many of these symptoms are physical, alcohol can also affect one’s mental health, making them more susceptible to depression, anxiety, and PTSD after long periods of drinking. Many people with alcohol addiction also have mental issues to begin with, and drinking will only make them worse in the long run.
Signs of Alcohol Use and Addiction
If you’re worried that a loved one in your life has started drinking excessively, here are some signs that you should be on the lookout for:
- Constantly blacking out and forgetting things while drinking
- Sneaking or hiding drinks
- Having a defensive attitude about alcohol
- Denying that they have a problem
- Drinking alone
- Drinking more than intended
- Having trouble quitting
If you notice these warning signs in yourself or a loved one, it may be time to think about treatment. Discussing treatment options with a loved one may be difficult, but it can help them in the long run. When talking to your loved one about addiction, make sure that you’re open and honest with them without being too pushy.
Treatment Options to Reduce the Lifelong Effects of Alcoholism
If you or a loved one is struggling with alcoholism, we’re here to help. We offer many different treatment options, including outpatient treatment programs, partial hospitalization programs, and aftercare services. To learn more about our programs and discover which one may be right for you or your loved one, give us a call today. We’re eager to answer any questions you may have.