People who use alcohol as a means to escape may find themselves overindulging in alcohol use. Therefore, leading to a dependence on alcohol. While alcohol use doesn’t always lead to dependence and addiction, alcohol is an addictive substance. And, can lead to alcohol use disorder. People living with alcohol use disorder and who use alcohol as a means to manage emotions can experience negative health effects of alcohol. But, what are these effects and how can one get help for alcohol abuse so that these physical effects can be prevented, managed, or reversed?
Drinking alcohol socially doesn’t necessarily lead to negative health effects. But, people who overutilize and abuse alcohol can expect to experience a variety of health issues as a result of their use. Typically, when people think about the negative health effects of using alcohol, they think of liver issues. This is because the liver filters everything our bodies drink in order to circulate and remove anything that’s potentially harmful, including alcohol. After a while, this can lead to liver damage and disease. But, what most people don’t know is that alcohol can lead to even more damage than just to the liver. And, can even lead to fatal, irreversible symptoms.
The nervous system and brain are connected, and high use of alcohol has been identified as harmful to both. Alcohol use can bring about high levels of a specific amino acid, homocysteine, which is actually toxic to both the nervous system and brain. High levels of this amino acid can lead to shrinking of the brain, brain nerve tissue damage and shrinking, higher risk of stroke, and convulsions, and even seizures during the withdrawal process of using alcohol (which can be fatal). Furthermore, alcohol use in pregnant women can lead to brain issues in a developing fetus/baby. Finally, drinking high amounts of alcohol can also be damaging to the brain and nervous system long-term as it can lead to a decreased memory threshold and the development of dementia disorders like Alzheimer’s.
According to the American Liver Foundation, as many as 35% of people who engage in heavy drinking develop alcoholic hepatitis. This is a liver condition that can lead to symptoms such as fever, jaundice, stomach pain, vomiting, and nausea. Another liver issue that can be the result of heavy drinking is cirrhosis. This is a liver disease that is characterized by scarring of liver tissue caused by long-term liver damage that can be the result of drinking alcohol. Essentially, this scar tissue prevents the liver from doing its job, which is to remove the body of toxins and potentially poisonous substances.
Along with the brain, nervous system, and liver issues, alcohol use and abuse can lead to a host of other physical and biological issues including:
The best thing that you can do if you find that alcohol use is affecting your health is to get professional help to assist you with stopping drinking. In many cases, the negative effects that alcohol use brings to health can be reversible. But, you need to act fast if you’re beginning to notice health issues as a result of drinking. Outpatient mental health facilities like Delray Center for Healing give people the tools to stop drinking through therapy, medication-assisted treatment, and addiction treatment services. Find out more about how we can help from our website.