Physical Effects of Alcohol Abuse
It is a commonly held belief that only heavy drinking will cause any long-term physical effects of alcohol abuse. However, even consuming just two regular drinks per day can cause a significant increase in the risks of developing a long-term health problem.
Key organizations, such as the World Health Organization, no longer promote alcohol consumption as having merit in helping prevent cardiovascular disease. Instead, organizations studying the effects of alcohol have determined abstinence from use is the only way to avoid any harmful impacts.
Alcohol abuse, whether during early onset or after years of drinking, can have negative physical effects on the human body. There are a number of obvious repercussions initially that are easily noticeable. But the long-term impacts may not become prevalent until months or years after someone’s last sip. Understanding the physical effects of alcohol abuse may help convince you or a loved one, from reducing the amount of alcohol consumed or abstain from alcohol altogether.
Immediate Effects of Alcohol Consumption
There are nearly 200 disease and health related issues linked to alcohol abuse. There are a significant number of physical effects immediately felt when consuming alcohol.
First-time drinkers and life-long imbibers can each find themselves experiencing one or more of the following symptoms:
- Slurred speech
- Upset stomach
- Impaired judgement
- Decreased perception
- Memory lapses or blackouts
Moderate alcohol use is most likely not harmful for the majority of adults. However, about 18 million adult Americans have developed an alcohol use disorder (AUD). This means their drinking has become so severe that it causes distress. AUD is a chronic relapsing brain disease characterized by compulsive alcohol use.
Those who have developed an AUD will experience physical harm because of drinking. Alcoholism, which includes physical dependence, and a general form of alcohol abuse are found on the extreme end of alcohol use disorders.
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Long-Term Physical Effects of Alcohol Abuse
Binge drinking or daily consumption of large amounts of alcohol will likely lead to long-term health problems. The risks of one or more of the following health problems increases after consuming alcohol:
- Birth defects
- Liver disease
- Nerve damage
- Lung infections
- Alcohol poisoning
- Alcohol dependence
- Cardiovascular disease
- Cancer of the mouth and throat
- Gastritis (inflammation of the stomach walls)
Along with the long-term health effects directly caused by alcohol consumption, there are other detrimental; non-health related consequences caused by individuals while intoxicated. Car accidents, aggressive behavior leading to violent crimes, and other risky behavior go along with alcohol consumption. These do not include the emotional distress placed on the friends and family of an alcohol abuser.
When to Seek Treatment for Alcohol Abuse
Drinking alcohol in itself is not detrimental to one’s health as long as consumption is done in moderation. However, if one is not careful, it is easy to slip to a point where treatment will be required. If you know that you have a hard time limiting your consumption of alcohol, perhaps it is wise to stay away from it all together.
When friends and family become concerned with your drinking; when you start to question if you’re drinking too much; or when you take an honest look at your life and realize your drinking is causing problems despite your denial, it is time to seek professional help from alcohol rehab Scottsdale AZ.
Reaching out and asking for help with alcohol abuse is often the hardest step toward a sober life. That single step, however, can mean the difference between life and an early death in many situations.
Effective Alcohol Treatment and Rehab
Once you’ve decided to seek help, a great starting point is to speak with your primary care doctor. With their help, they will be a consistent presence while walk down the road to recovery.
Physicians will work with you to create a personalized treatment plan. In addition, they will refer you to local resources, such as support groups and counselors to help with the mental and emotional aspects of alcohol withdrawal.
Lastly, your physician can prescribe medications when appropriate. There are three medications available in the United States of America for to help with alcohol treatment: Antabuse (Disulfiram), Naltrexone, and Campral (Acamprosate). When taken as part of an overall alcohol treatment program, the success rate of sobriety can be significantly increased.
Physical Effects of Alcohol Withdrawal
The withdrawal symptoms for those with a physical dependency will last between 5 to 7 days. The symptoms will range from anxiety and insomnia. The first signs of withdrawal often begin within 8 hours of someone’s last drink.
In some scenarios, those who have not had a drink for 2 to 4 days, may begin to have hallucinations and seizures. Although these may be minimized while under the care of a medical professional. The severity of the symptoms will be dependent upon the amount and frequency of your prior alcohol consumption.
Getting Help for Alcohol Use Disorder
While getting sober is an important first step, it is only the beginning of your recovery from alcohol addiction or heavy drinking. Alcohol rehab Scottsdale AZ can get you started on the road to recovery, but to stay alcohol-free for the long term, you’ll need to build a new, meaningful life where drinking no longer has a place.
Whether it is a friend, relative, co-worker, or even yourself, asking for help can be a life changing decision. If you or someone you know needs help for alcohol or substance abuse, contact SpringBoard Recovery today. Help is just a phone call away.
- World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/health-topics/alcohol#tab=tab_1
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/moderate-drinking.htm
- National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism: https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/brochures-and-fact-sheets/understanding-alcohol-use-disorder
- Medical News Today: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/157163
- WebMD: https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/addiction/binge-drinking#1
- National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism: https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/brochures-and-fact-sheets/understanding-dangers-of-alcohol-overdose
- Verywell mind: https://www.verywellmind.com/alcohol-abuse-vs-alcohol-dependence-63101
- Harvard Health Publishing: https://www.health.harvard.edu/addiction/alcohol-abuse