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Alcohol use disorders affect a wide variety of people across the United States, and many of these people experience negative long-term effects of alcohol that require treatment by medical professionals. Alcohol affects the body in a variety of ways both while drinking and during the period of withdrawal. The negative effects of alcohol should be taken seriously, and it is important for those who struggle with an alcohol use disorder to get help at an alcohol treatment center that is a good fit for them. Better Addiction Care offers personal pre-screening to help people find the right program for them from our nationwide recovery network.
The short-term effects of alcohol vary depending on how much alcohol is consumed. In low doses, alcohol produces lowered inhibitions, slowed reaction times, poor coordination, slower brain activity, strange sensations, and confused perception. These effects are what draw people to alcohol use and are caused by alcohol acting as a depressant on the brain's GABA receptor sites. A moderate amount of alcohol consumption causes slurred speech, poor vision, altered emotions, changes in sleep patterns, increased urine production, and lowered body temperature. High doses of alcohol are dangerous and can produce vomiting, uncontrolled urination, breathing difficulties, unconsciousness, and alcohol poisoning.
There are also physical effects of alcohol on different regions of the body. For instance, alcohol must pass through the liver, and excessive drinking can impair the liver's ability to break down harmful substances. Liver problems can include alcoholic hepatitis, jaundice, liver inflammation, and severe scarring called cirrhosis. The pancreas contributes to proper liver function, and alcohol can cause the pancreas to produce toxic substances that interfere with how the liver works. Alcohol can be detrimental to the digestive system as a whole and cause damage to salivary glands, gum disease, tooth decay, acid reflux, heartburn, and stomach ulcers.
The digestive system is just one area that suffers from the negative effects of alcohol on the body. The circulatory system is also affected, as alcohol can cause complications such as poisoned heart muscle cells, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, stroke, and heart attack. Alcohol affects sexual and reproductive health as well, as it can cause erectile dysfunction and infertility. Pregnant women who drink are at risk of miscarriage, premature delivery, stillbirth, and fetal alcohol syndrome. Drinking puts an individual at risk for osteoporosis as well as muscle cramps and atrophy. Heavy drinking is associated with a weakened immune system, and drinking is very dangerous for those who have diabetes because it can cause hypoglycemia, a drop in blood sugar levels. The many effects of alcohol on the body are also accompanied by host of other effects on the brain and central nervous system. Mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression are among the potential long-term effects of alcohol use.
With so much at stake, it's vital for those who struggle with alcohol addiction to seek help and support. With so many treatment options available, it can be difficult to find the addiction recovery program that works best for you, but Better Addiction Care can help. Our professional client care specialists can match you with the best addiction recovery center near you based on your specific needs. Call today or fill out our contact form to speak with a counselor and start healing.