The Long Term Effects of Alcohol Include Heart Disease and Stroke
The long term effects of alcohol consumption can continue to disrupt your health even after you stop drinking. Damage caused to vital organs is not undone and they can continue to deteriorate over time. Neuronal paths are disrupted when alcohol abuse continues for an extended period of time. Every function of the brain, such as memory, mental function, and consciousness is connected to neuronal activity. Another long term effect, seldom mentioned, is the loss a family feels when a drunk driver takes the life of a cherished family member.
Long Term Effects of Alcohol
Most people are aware of the short term effects of alcohol. Several hours after your last drink, difficulty with walking, speaking, and thinking clearly are gone. Long term effects of alcohol are far more serious and lead to health problems which can affect the brain and liver. Excessive drinking over a long period of time cause the person to become dependent on alcohol. His or her tolerance to the drink grows, and it takes more alcohol to experience the same results. The negative effects of the long term consumption of alcohol have emotional consequences in addition to the physical. Relationships dissolve and careers are ruined.
Women who drink when pregnant put their baby at risk of being born with fetal alcohol syndrome, which causes brain damage and growth problems. Many children have learning disabilities due to alcohol exposure during the mother’s pregnancy. The issues related to fetal alcohol syndrome can vary from child-to-child. Many are born with distinctive facial features. The sad fact is that the long term effects of alcohol that are the result of fetal alcohol syndrome are irreversible for the child. No amount of alcohol is safe to consume during pregnancy.
Long Term Effects of Alcohol on the Brain
The long term effects of alcohol on the brain can be devastating. Some of the damaging effects require years for recovery while others are permanent.
- Blackouts, memory loss, memory confusion
- Coordination problems
- Uncontrollable muscle movement
- Sexual dysfunction
- Accelerated heart rate, increased temperature, and difficult breathing, which may lead to unconsciousness and death
- Brain shrinkage
- Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome (mental confusion caused by thiamine deficiency, paralysis of nerves controlling eye movement, and problems with muscle coordination)
- Korsakoff’s psychosis (continual learning and memory problems)
- Slowing of new brain cell growth
- Sleep impairment
- Tremors and hallucinations
- Peripheral neuropathy
Long Term Effects of Alcohol on the Body
People who consume alcohol several days a week develop both a physical and emotional dependency on the drink. The long term effects of alcohol on the body include damage to the digestive system. Heavy drinking damages tissue in the digestive system, and the intestines are prevented from digesting food and absorbing necessary vitamins and nutrients. Gassiness, bloating, diarrhea, painful stools, ulcers, and hemorrhoids are fairly common. Malnutrition often occurs with heavy drinkers. Ulcers can result in internal bleeding and, if not diagnosed and treated early, can be fatal. Heavy drinking greatly increases the risk for mouth, throat, esophagus, colon, and liver cancer.
Withdrawing from alcohol is extremely challenging and can be a life-threatening event. Detoxing in an addiction treatment center with professional help is the safest way to go through alcohol withdrawal. Follow-up care includes ongoing therapy and counseling sessions. A strong support group of family and friends can help the recovering alcoholic to regain their life. Better Addiction Care can help you find the right treatment center in your area. Don’t wait any longer to seek help for yourself or a loved one. Alcoholism leads to death if there is no intervention.