Alcohol is a depressant. It slows down function in the central nervous system. A single night of drinking does little to the system. However, continued drinking for several years or decades will eventually take its toll. Let us take a closer look at the long-term effects of alcohol and why you should get help if you have an addiction.
Long-term alcohol use can have a devastating effect on your body. After several years of excessive drinking, your organs, nervous system, brain function, motor skills, and overall mood will deteriorate, and body functions will decline. While it is never too late to stop drinking, some of the effects of alcohol can be terminal.
The Various Long-Term Effects of Alcohol
Staying addicted to alcohol for a significant amount of time can have severe consequences on nearly every body system. From your brain to your feet almost every part of your body can be damaged by excessive drinking. Here are some common consequences:
Your brain is significantly impaired by the long-term effects of alcohol. People struggling with alcohol have trouble thinking clearly, making decisions, and solving problems. They may also experience changes in their mood and personality. Over time, alcohol can shrink the brain. This can lead to problems with memory, learning, and judgment.
As physical changes in the brain occur, severe symptoms of wet brain, or Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, can develop. This potentially fatal condition is marked by confusion, memory loss, and paralysis of the nerves that control eye movement.
Alcohol also affects your mood and psychological state. Long-term alcoholism can lead to:
- Bipolar disorder
- Alcohol-induced psychosis
When you suffer from both alcoholism and a mental disorder, you have co-occurring disorders.
The connection between alcoholism and liver malfunction is well-documented and commonly known. However, what you may not know is that liver damage is irreversible. Heavy drinking over time can cause massive damage including jaundice, liver failure, cirrhosis, or liver cancer. Most of these conditions occur because alcohol breaks downs the liver’s ability to resist infection.
When you combine alcoholism with other health problems, you put a significant amount of strain on the heart. Eventually, you may suffer from heart disease. This condition occurs as a result of the fatty deposits that build upon the walls of your arteries. Large amounts of alcohol can increase fatty deposits, making it difficult for your heart to receive the oxygen and nutrients it needs.
The pancreas is responsible for digestion and regulating blood sugar levels. One of the long-term effects of alcohol is that it can lead it pancreatitis, a painful and potentially fatal condition. When the pancreas is damaged or cannot function, you may experience conditions such as:
- Severe abdominal pain
- Back pain
- Increased heart rate
- Low blood pressure
The long terms effects of alcohol can cause damage to the pancreas that may be irreversible past a certain point.
Large amounts of alcohol can make it difficult for the kidneys to filter blood. High consumption also keeps the kidneys from keeping the right amount of water in your body. Furthermore, alcohol can also lead to liver disease and dysfunction. These are terminal conditions that can affect your overall health.
Yes, alcohol can even affect your feet. When you drink excessively, you may suffer from peripheral neuropathy. This condition damages the nerves in your feet and can cause pain, tingling, numbness, and weakness.
Chronic alcoholism can also increase your chance of developing gout. Gout is a form of arthritis that can cause severe pain, swelling, and redness in the joints.
Lessen the Long-Term Effects of Alcohol Today
Regardless of the long-term effects of alcohol, it is never too late to get help. Right Step Hill Country offers comprehensive treatment for alcohol and drug abuse. We provide full detox, rehab, and aftercare programs that promote long-term recovery and relapse prevention. To find out more about our alcohol treatment center in Texas, call us at 1.844.675.1628 or contact us online today.