Long-Term Effects of Alcohol Abuse

The long-term effects of alcohol can lead to deadly results. Alcohol wreaks havoc on a person’s body and mental health. It can also affect their life in other ways. The long-term effects can be life-altering, making it seemingly impossible to move forward with life.

Knowing how alcohol abuse can affect a person’s overall well-being can help prevent further damage, and encourage a person to seek help as soon as possible.

Recognizing Problematic Drinking

Nobody who has an addiction to alcohol started off by trying to develop a dependence on it. In fact, usually in the beginning drinking alcohol is just a social occurrence. However, at some point that changes. At some point, drinking begins to interfere with their daily life.

Being able to identify and recognize when alcohol has begun to interfere with daily life is a critical point when it comes to avoiding irreparable damage. Problematic drinking can seemingly sneak up on someone. However, recognizing when drinking has become problematic is crucial to stopping it before it gets worse.

Some signs of problematic drinking include:

  • Inability to control drinking once it starts
  • Drinking at inappropriate times
  • Unsuccessful attempts to stop drinking
  • Increased levels of drinking
  • Spending more time drinking or recovering from drinking
  • Decline in work or school performance
  • Preoccupation with thoughts surrounding drinking

Long-Term Effects of Alcohol Abuse on the Body

The long-term effects of alcohol abuse on the body can be severe, leading to death. Alcohol can affect a person’s appetite. This can cause dramatic weight loss or weight gain. It can also lead to changes in sleep patterns and a weakened immune system.

Alcohol abuse can also lead to high blood pressure, alcoholic cardiomyopathy, respiratory problems, kidney damage, gastrointestinal issues, and liver disease. Damage to a person’s liver can be life-threatening and can result in death.  

Long-Term Effects of Alcohol Abuse on the Brain

Alcohol abuse not only affects the body physically, but it can also affect the brain. Chronic alcohol abuse can lead to structural and functional changes in the brain that can be detrimental to a person. These changes include changes in memory and cognitive function.

Alcohol damages brain cells and results in brain shrinkage, and this damage particularly occurs in the areas of the brain responsible for these functions. Neurological disorders can also be a result of alcohol abuse. This increases the risk for conditions including seizure disorders, neuropathy and dementia. 

Long-Term Effects of Alcohol Abuse on Finances

The long-term effects of alcohol abuse on a person’s finances can be severe. When alcohol becomes a problem, it can lead to job loss. It can also result in long-term unemployment. Alcohol addiction can be so detrimental that it can take over a person’s entire life, leaving them with a constant urge to drink.

When this happens, alcohol can be their sole priority and work, no matter how beloved the career, is not as high of a priority as drinking. Missing work, not performing as one should, or even drinking on the job can lead to unemployment. Loss of income often leads to continued drinking, and draining finances in order to drink. 

Long-Term Effects of Alcohol Abuse on Emotional and Mental Health

Struggling with alcohol can severely damage a person’s emotional and mental health. Alcohol is a depressant, it can exacerbate feelings of worthlessness and sadness caused by depression. Struggling with both mental health and alcohol is known as dual diagnosis.

Because alcohol plays such a huge factor in a person’s emotional and mental health, it can be difficult to stop. 

Long-Term Effects of Alcohol Abuse on Relationships

Relationships can be damaged when someone is struggling with alcohol. The long-term effects of alcohol on relationships can be severe, and sometimes irreparable damage can occur. Alcohol addiction leads to broken marriages, broken family relationships, and broken friendships.

Because alcohol has the ability to change a person’s demeanor, it can lead to aggression, lying, and stealing from those who mean the most to the person struggling.

The Role of Detox

In order to find freedom from the chains that alcohol addiction can have on someone, the detox process is necessary. Removing the toxins that have been introduced to the body is vital for being able to start again, with a clean slate.

Alcohol withdrawal can be deadly and should be medically monitored to prevent severe complications from occurring. Professional medical detox can help to not only ensure a person’s safety during the withdrawal process, but it also helps to provide comfort as they go through such a hard time. 

Recovering from Alcohol Abuse 

Those struggling with alcohol abuse often end up with physical and mental health conditions that can be difficult to reverse. Relationships suffer, children suffer, and the person struggling with alcohol suffers from the guilt of being unable to stop on their own.

If you or a loved one are struggling with alcohol, Spirit Mountain can help. Our team of on-staff professionals can help as you walk down the road to recovery.

Reach out today and begin your journey.


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