Alcohol has complex effects in the body and can affect multiple organs and systems like the heart, kidneys, gastrointestinal tract, vasculature system, and liver. There are different short- and long-term consequences for each of these systems. Several important takeaways include:
- Alcohol can affect the GI tract, heart, kidneys, liver, and vascular system in the short-term.
- Chronic alcohol abuse can include arrhythmias, cirrhosis, and risk of stroke.
- Alcohol abuse can contribute to or worsen mental health conditions over time.
- Chronic drinking can lead to diseases like cardiovascular disease and cancers.
- Seeking professional rehab care can help anyone recovery from alcohol addiction.
Over time, alcohol has serious consequences on different organs of the body. Some of the physical symptoms and effects include:
- Cirrhosis (widespread fibrosis)
- Steatosis (fatty liver disease)
- Fibrosis (development of scar tissue)
- Weakened immune system
The mental and emotional effects of daily alcohol abuse are less specific than the physical effects, meaning that this group of mental health symptoms can come from many different causes. The above group of physical symptoms, on the other hand, usually only show up in that combination when alcohol is involved.
Worsened Mental Side Effects
Daily alcohol use has a wide range of mental symptoms, including:
- Antisocial behaviors
- Sleep disorders
Worsened Mental Health Conditions
Additionally, chronic alcohol use can contribute to the development of many different mental health conditions or worsen existing psychiatric illnesses, including depressive disorders and anxiety disorders. When someone struggles with alcohol addiction and mental health conditions simultaneously, it is referred to as co-occurring disorders. Fortunately, dual-diagnosis treatment can address both conditions simultaneously during treatment.
Research has linked alcohol abuse, especially heavy alcohol use, to numerous health issues, from liver disease to depression to cancer. When over 2,000 survey participants about health complications directly related to their alcohol use:
- 1 in 3 reported depression (38%)
- 1 in 3 reported high blood pressure (31%)
- 1 in 6 reported liver disease (17%)
- 1 in 10 reported cirrhosis (scarring of the liver) (12%)
- 1 in 10 reported cardiovascular disease (11%)
- 1 in 7 reported a weakened immune system (15%)
- 1 in 10 reported nerve damage (11%)
- 1 in 12 reported pancreatitis (8.4%)
- 1 in 11 reported seizures (9%)
- 1 in 13 reported cancer (7.8%)
Recognizing alcohol abuse is easier with the right information. However, it is never easy to confront alcohol abuse in yourself or others. Going to alcohol rehab in Pennsylvania at Just Believe Recovery Centers and getting professional help for alcohol abuse can help anyone heal from alcohol addiction.
Scientific studies and clinical trials have created some drugs to help the brain recover from chemical changes, but much of our drug rehab in Pennsylvania focuses on behavioral changes. To achieve long-term abstinence, therapists first help users rethink why they are craving the drugs, and then they help them learn how to overcome those cravings. They will also help them address other psychological difficulties that may have contributed to the substance abuse.
While rehab cannot keep people from ever using drugs again, it does give individuals tools to use when facing drug cravings, and it gives encouragement to continue staying healthy and clean