Alcohol addiction has a range of effects on an individual, both immediate and long-term. Short-term problems can last only a few hours or days, but long-term impacts may be permanent. It may affect employment, finances, family, community, and physical and emotional health. Although risks vary depending on the person, here are the most common repercussions of alcohol addiction:
Excessive alcohol consumption is linked to various cognitive and mental health problems. It brings difficulties with memory or learning, as well as worsening or creating serious mental health conditions, including depression and anxiety. In a normal, healthy body, alcohol reaches the brain quickly and the liver eliminates most of it by breaking it down. However, the more you drink, the more alcohol in your blood increases, causing the following:
- Mental Disorders: Depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder
- Brain Damage: Extreme alcohol levels damage brain cells, leading to brain-related problems like dementia.
- Organs Failure: Alcoholism affects vital organs like the heart, liver, and kidney, leading to dysfunction.
- Liver Damage: Excessive alcohol intake results in hepatitis, characterized by liver enlargement and inflammation. This eventually results in liver cirrhosis, the last stage of alcoholic liver disease, and liver damage. Unfortunately, cirrhosis is irreversible.
- Develop Cancer: Regularly consuming large amounts of alcohol harms the liver, resulting in swelling and scarring, which may explain why it increases the risk of liver cancer. Also, alcohol use is associated with a greater colon and rectal cancer risk.
- Weakens the Immune System: Alcohol use is linked to several infectious and non-infectious diseases and mental health issues, which increase vulnerability. This makes the individual liable for contracting diseases. Alcohol intake affects the pancreas and increases the risks of contracting diabetes, being overweight, and hypertension. Some of these health conditions are irreversible and have high treatment costs.
Alcoholism often leads to financial mismanagement, and poor money management results in depression and stress. As a result, people with drinking issues are more likely to use alcohol as self-medication when stressed and in despair. It becomes a vicious cycle!
Since alcohol lowers individuals’ ability to work effectively, alcoholics lose their jobs. With no money to buy alcohol, alcoholics result in selling their property or stealing to raise money to support their habit. As a result, immediate family members experience financial difficulties.
The brain’s frontal cortex, which controls cognitive thinking processes, including reasoning and decision-making, is depressed by alcohol. Therefore, confusion, memory impairments, and slurred speech are short-term consequences of continuous alcohol intake.
Inebriation may be dangerous when paired with tasks like driving. Drunk driving can lead to accidents and severe injuries for you and others. Individuals under the effect of alcohol have unpredictable behavior with sometimes disastrous consequences.
Strained Social Life and Relationships
Alcohol impairs a person’s judgment and hinders their capacity to weigh the implications of their decisions. This takes a huge toll on an individual’s relationships. The drinker may begin to withdraw from family and friends, and start associating with other people who have an alcohol addiction. They may also start engaging in risky behaviors like vandalism and aggressiveness when under the influence of alcohol.
Alcoholism strains a person’s professional capabilities and relationships. This is mainly caused by failure to go to work or difficulty keeping up with professional responsibilities. If this behavior lasts a long time, the alcohol addiction can lead to an individual losing their job.
Another side effect of alcohol addiction is infertility. The damage an individual undergoes from consistent alcohol ingestion causes impotence or even miscarriage. For instance, in men, it reduces the overall sperm count and testosterone. Pregnant women taking alcohol also risk harming their unborn babies.
In reality, drinking is a major contributor to marital issues, divorce, domestic abuse, child maltreatment, and strained parent-child relationships. Alcoholics act unreasonably, even cruelly, especially to their loved ones. Violence will throw everyone living with the individual into a depression.
Younger children suffer emotionally, as they can’t understand what is happening. Older children may push people away, as they are ashamed of what is happening in their family. In the long run, the family unit may break.
Start Your Alcohol Addiction Recovery Journey!
Alcohol addiction has a wide range of effects beyond an individual’s health. Sadly, many people with alcohol use disorders are unaware of the effects on their families. Denial plays a significant role frequently in not controlling one’s drinking habits. Knowledge is power; you can begin your process of addiction recovery by getting the necessary information of medication assisted treatment for alcohol use. Start your healing process at your own pace today!