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Long Term Effects of Alcohol Abuse

Long Term Effects of Alcohol Abuse Resurgence Behavioral Health

What Defines Alcohol Abuse?

Alcohol has become intertwined with the lives of Americans and has developed a sense of normalcy within day-to-day life. Whether your alcohol intake is a method of social engagement, partaking in work functions with colleagues or clients, celebrating success in life, or needing to find a method to cope, alcohol has become a common solution for many of those instances. Alcohol consumption, when done in moderation, does not pose a serious risk to an individual’s overall health and wellbeing, however, when your alcohol consumption progresses into an alcohol dependency it can create long term effects on your body, mind, and soul while significantly impacting your way of life. 

Alcohol abuse or heavy drinking is defined as an inability to stop drinking alcohol even when you recognize it has become a problem and experiencing strong cravings for alcohol or alcohol withdrawal when you are not engaging in alcohol consumption. For many individuals living with an alcohol use disorder, you recognize that your alcohol consumption has progressed from moderate drinking within a social activity to an alcohol dependency where you are unable to imagine a day without alcohol consumption or have attempted to quit drinking on your own with no success of being able to follow through with your goals of remaining abstinent from alcohol abuse. This is not a reflection on who you are as a person or means that you are less than for having an alcohol use disorder. Alcohol addiction progresses over time and is often a result of unresolved emotions or traumas that are deep-rooted within you. As you progress through life, your alcohol consumption has been the only coping mechanism that you knew and it eventually progressed into alcohol addiction. Participating in an alcohol treatment program provides patients with the opportunity to address and heal from those root causes of alcohol addiction while developing a new set of skills and tools to manage triggers or stressors in the future. 

Addiction Treatment that
Just Works

Individualized treatment programs delivered in a comfortable, relaxed setting promote healing in your recovery journey.

Long Term Effects of Alcohol on the Brain

When you have engaged in prolonged or excessive alcohol consumption, there is significant brain and nervous system damage that can occur that can create long-term effects within an individual. Alcohol is a powerful and toxic chemical that produces adverse effects within an individual while, at the moment, providing feelings of euphoria and increased levels of dopamine produced in the brain can, in fact, create damage to brain functioning and processing that can have long-lasting complications and effects. Even within a short term period for those who just recently began their alcohol consumption, there can be short term effects such as a significant impact on a person’s ability to effectively problem solve and think situations through, increase impulsive behavior, and alter a person’s coordination and memory. 

Research has shown that the long term effects of alcohol abuse within the brain are:

  • Significant nerve damage 
  • Challenges maintaining balance 
  • Difficulty sleeping or experiencing insomnia 
  • Inability to form clear, concise thoughts 
  • Experiencing depression 
  • Anxiety 
  • Dementia 
  • Wernicke’s encephalopathy
  • Decrease in attention span 
  • Alcohol induced coma 
  • Wernicke’s korsakoff’s syndrome also known as wet brain 
  • Alcohol poisoning 
  • Alcohol overdose 

There are significant impacts that can occur after engaging in alcohol abuse for long durations of time and at excessive amounts within one time. While some of these side effects can create permanent long-term effects and damage, there is still hope to reduce the severity of the side effects and regain some connections within your brain cells and functioning. Attending an alcohol treatment center will provide you with the opportunity to be monitored and advised by medical professionals who will guide you in recovering from alcohol addiction and healing physically from the impacts of alcohol abuse. 

Long Term Effects of Alcohol on the Body

Engaging in alcohol consumption undoubtedly has immediate, short-term effects within an individual as your levels of intoxication increase. As you begin to feel the effects of alcohol consumption, your body will show difficulties with coordination, balance, communication, dehydration, and changes in heartbeat and breathing patterns. The short-term effects of alcohol can quickly progress to more permanent, long-term effects the more that you engage in heavy drinking patterns. 

Alcohol use disorders are impacted by multiple factors within each person. Men are at a higher risk for developing an alcohol use disorder compared to women due to the differences in metabolic rates and processes as men are able to metabolize alcohol at a different rate than women. 

A common experience for young people across America is to begin to branch out to begin their journey of self-discovery by trying out new things and engaging with new circles of friends. This is often accompanied by experimenting with alcohol and drugs. This is dangerous for young people as their brains are still developing and the use of substances can impact and halt normal brain development. 

Alcohol abuse can produce the following long term effects within adults and young people engaging in alcohol addiction:

  • Increased body mass or obesity 
  • Long term heart damage and conditions 
  • Stroke 
  • Immune system declines and becomes compromised 
  • Developing stomach ulcers 
  • Liver cirrhosis 
  • Lack of nutrition or experiencing malnutrition due to lack of healthy diet and sustenance during active alcohol addiction 
  • Onset of imbalances within hormones 
  • Diagnosis of cancer within the stomach, liver, esophagus, breast, and colon 

Effects of Alcohol Abuse on Your Social Life

Most individuals that are engaging in alcohol abuse usually have an idea that their alcohol use disorder has a significant impact on their own physical health and body. What is often overlooked is how alcohol addiction has changed your social life and shifted your values and experiences of interacting and connecting with others. At the height of your alcohol addiction, it is common to isolate yourself from loved ones and friends that you were once close to as a way to hide or mask the severity of your alcohol addiction. What many do not consider is that the more that you isolate yourself from loved ones, the more you increase your alcohol consumption and substance abuse the more your alcohol addiction tends to grow and worsen within an isolated person. 

Alcohol addiction creates an impact on an individual’s social life in the following ways:

  • Changes in social circles to one that is surrounded by others that engage in drinking and substance abuse 
  • Lack of connection with loved ones 
  • Loss of interest or hobbies that once brought you joy and provided you with social activities 
  • Engaging in high risk activity including criminal behavior which not only provides negative consequences within your own life and within society as a whole 
  • Strained relationships with children and loss of trust within parent/child relationship 
  • Experiencing higher instances of violence and, in some cases, domestic violence within a relationship 
  • Lack of trust within friends and family due to a history of lying about alcohol abuse or engaging in sneaky behavior such as stealing money from loved ones or lying about alcohol addiction 

Many patients will enter into alcohol treatment and state that they feel like they have no one to turn to and are alone in their battle with alcohol addiction.  An inpatient alcohol treatment program provides individuals with an opportunity to address their alcohol addiction within a supportive environment of medical professionals, addiction counselors, and fellow patients who share similar life experiences in battling alcohol addiction. Many patients will create a strong group of supporters and friends within the recovery community of alcohol addiction treatment. 

Signs Someone is Abusing Alcohol

Alcohol addiction can affect anyone for any reason and if someone doesn’t have the proper support and care from others, it can easily take over a person’s life and cause a significant impact a person’s life physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. It can be challenging to know when someone’s alcohol abuse has progressed from healthy, moderate drinking to serious, heavy drinking habits. 

The following are signs and indicators that you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol abuse 

  • Engaging in alcohol abuse alone and isolated from others 
  • Experiencing short term memory loss after drinking alcohol 
  • Denying or hiding your alcohol abuse from others 
  • Getting angry or defensive when confronted about alcohol consumption 
  • Hiding alcohol around the house, workplace, or car 
  • Having to sneak drinks in to avoid others seeing you in drinking alcohol 
  • Drinking heavily and more than intended or needing more alcohol to reach the same desired effect 
  • Expressing that you want to quit your alcohol consumption but having unsuccessful attempts at doing so 

Alcohol Rehab at Resurgence Behavioral Health

Resurgence Behavioral Health offers an alcohol treatment that provides patients with individualized care and alcohol addiction treatment that is adjusted and formulated to meet your unique set of needs and goals for recovery. Through various treatment approaches for alcohol using evidence-based therapy methods, our team of compassionate counselors and medical professionals will assist you in gaining an understanding of what has been fueling your alcohol addiction all along while supporting you to gain the skills and tools you need for relapse prevention and emotional regulation to ensure that you live a happy, healthy life in sober living. Contact Resurgence today to hear more about the personalized alcohol treatment program that will be specifically designed to assist you in healing from your alcohol addiction and developing a strong foundation for the future.

Addiction Treatment that
Just Works

Individualized treatment programs delivered in a comfortable, relaxed setting promote healing in your recovery journey.

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At Resurgence, we accept most PPO insurance. Verify your insurance now.