The effects of alcoholism are potentially devastating. Not only is your health affected, but also the accident and death rate rises significantly for people who consume alcohol excessively. The short-term impairments caused by alcohol, such as stumbling, slowed reaction times and slurred speech, are just some of the more obvious effects.
Longer term the damage can be much more severe. Alcohol definitely has more long-lasting negative implications and everyone needs to consider the potential problems.
The brain is one of our most important bodily organs, as it controls our thinking as well as motor control over other organs. If you are a heavy drinker, it may have long lasting effects on the brain, such as slips in memory to debilitating brain damage.
The effects of alcoholism are impacted by different factors, but even moderate drinking can harm the brain. Blackouts often occur as a result of drinking. In the longer term excessive drinking can lead to a condition known as ‘wet brain’ (Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome).
Liver disease is another result of long term drinking. When you get liver disease, your body becomes unable to break down alcohol into byproducts, so it cannot be cleared from the body. This leads to other problems, including harm to the brain. This can cause encephalopathy, which may change sleep patterns, mood, anxiety and depression and “the shakes”.
Among the other dangers from drinking are gastrointestinal problems. Alcohol results in the stomach lining becoming inflamed. This causes less absorption of B vitamins, which provide folic acid and thiamin to the body.
One of the most dangerous effects of alcoholism is cardiovascular problems. When you drink heavily, your blood pressure is elevated and the heart becomes damaged, putting you at an increased risk from heart attack or stroke.
Alcoholics have an increased chance of cancer, including larynx, liver, colon, and esophagus cancers.
The health reasons alone should startle you, but there are other considerations to take into account with heavy drinking.
- Alcohol doesn’t only affect the drinker. Alcoholism has a history of causing birth defects (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome), which result when a fetus ingests alcohol through the mother’s blood stream. Not only could your child potentially have developmental disabilities, but physical abnormalities could be present as well.
- In addition to this, marriages and finances often suffer as results of alcoholism, and the drinker is put at risk of legal issues such as driving while intoxicated or other accidents related to drinking.
- The family of the drinker and outsiders are often also negatively affected.
In reality being informed about the effects alcohol can have on lives is not enough to prevent a problem with alcohol developing. That said if you are struggling with your drinking or you know someone else who is, then knowing what the long terms effects of alcoholism are may be the start of change.