| Peter Cook

How drinking affects you

Introduction

Alcoholism is a terrible thing.   

 

Alcoholism is a progressive, chronic, and possibly fatal disease.  You might feel fine, but liquor profoundly affects your body and mind.   

 

How much harm alcohol can cause depends on many factors: Your pattern of drinking, your body size, how old you are, genetics, how hydrated you are, how well you eat, your metabolism, and even other social factors.

 

Let us tell you more about the general long-term damaging effects of alcohol.   

 

Drinking affects your physical health.

 

Your poor body

 

Excessive alcohol abuse damages almost every part of the body, and the cumulative effects add up. Here’s what can happen:

 

  • Your digestive tract.   Your pancreas produces digestive enzymes, and too much alcohol can cause an abnormal amount to be released.  The enzymes build up and can cause severe inflammation and complications in your gut.   Ulcers are also common in heavy drinking, and research shows that stomach and bowel cancer are frequent in alcoholics.

 

  • Liver scarring.The liver is supposed to break down and remove all harmful substances from your body.   If you drink too much, you interfere with this process.  Eventually, liver cirrhosis hardens your liver, and your body cannot remove the toxic substances anymore.   This is life-threatening.

 

  • When your liver and pancreas are not functioning as they should, hypoglycemia or (low blood sugar) is a risk.   In some patients, this manifests to the other end of the spectrum - in high blood sugar.   If you have diabetes, you should not drink at all.

 

  • Your heart and lungs.   Complications in your circulatory systems can include an irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, heart disease, and the possibility of a stroke or a heart attack.  

 

  • Weak and thinner bones:   The risk of fractures when you fall is much greater when you drink too much.  The fractures may also take a long time to heal.   

 

  • Your body can’t fight germs of viruses.The body’s natural immune system gets compromised by heavy drinking.

 

  • There’s more.Alcohol misuse can also lead to a stroke, dementia, fertility issues, erectile dysfunction, miscarriage, or stillbirth.    Over time, the alcoholic's frontal brain lobe (that controls emotions, judgment, and short-term memory) can get damaged.  Severe alcohol abuse can even cause permanent brain damage.

 

What is troubling about all of this is that one health condition does not drive off all the others.   If you drink too much, alcohol can impact your body in more than one way.

 

Alcohol affects emotions

 

Your emotions

 

Alcohol is a depressant and can worsen already existing conditions such as anxiety and depression.

 

Yes, when you drink, you might feel better temporarily, but once the calming effect has worn off, you feel worse than ever before.   It turns into a vicious circle, and eventually, you need to drink more and more as your tolerance for alcohol grows.  With it, your anxiety and depression intensify.

 

Alcoholics are often irritable and withdraw socially so that they can drink whenever they want.   Paradoxically, this leads to loneliness and the loss of interest in the activities of friends or family.  

 

And the emotions of others.

 

Someone who abuses alcohol is often unreliable.   Eventually, it can cause the person's loved ones to avoid him or her. It hurts because they want to help but are often helpless in the monstrous face of addiction.  Alcohol abuse can cause severe emotional pain to those standing on the sidelines.

 

Decision-making

 

Alcohol abuse results in poor decisions, which can cause physical harm (and even death) first to the alcoholic but also others around him.   Driving under the influence is a case in point.

 

‘What can I do?’   

 

Alcohol withdrawal is not only tricky, but it can also be life-threatening.  If you want to make a change, you need professional help and medical detoxification.   In severe cases of withdrawal, hallucinations, delirium, and seizures are not uncommon.

 

A formal plan

 

If you say enough is enough, you need a formal treatment plan.   Inpatient, long-term recovery programs are often seen as the most successful way to go.

 

Can we help?

 

At Largest Heart, we offer solutions and resources.  Please look around on our website if you need more information about possible treatment options.   

 

It may be hard to take the step, but there is no other way out of the grip of alcohol addiction.   Keep on like this, and tomorrow might be too late.   

 

Why not reclaim a life of sobriety?   We are here to help.

 

Resources

 

https://americanaddictioncenters.org/blog/drinking-affects-health-wellness

https://vertavahealth.com/alcohol/emotional-effects/

https://www.healthline.com/health/alcohol/effects-on-body#Immune-system