Alcohol Abuse: 15 Long Term Effects You NEED to Know
11 January, 2023
Alcohol abuse is one of the prime concerns and global threats for people of different age groups. It is highly toxic to the human body and our liver can only process a small amount of alcohol at a time.
Moreover, there are severe long-term effects of alcohol abuse that need detailed discussion to make people aware of the adversities.
What are the Long-Term Effects of Alcohol Abuse?
The 15 long-term effects of alcohol abuse are as follows:
1. High Blood Pressure
Overview: Overconsumption of alcohol affects the muscles of blood vessels and makes them narrow. Thus pressure gets high, causing severe troubles. High blood pressure is not noticeable in the early stages; however, it is one of the most severe effects of alcohol abuse.
High blood pressure can cause serious complications such as heart disease, heart attacks, strokes, etc. Further, high blood pressure can also cause kidney failure and vascular dementia.
How to Treat?: Lifestyle changes and medicines can help to control blood pressure.
Overview: Pancreas is one of the most important organs of the human body that produces necessary enzymes for digestion. Hence alcohol consumption increases viscous secretion, which restricts pancreatic ducts. In addition, it further activates digestive enzymes within acinar cells.
Thus, this type of inflammation causes pancreatitis, which is a swollen condition of the pancreas.
How to Treat?: For the acute stage of pancreatitis, patients need to be admitted to hospitals. Doctors will charge painkillers, antibiotics, and nutritional support to treat pancreatitis.
3. Breast Cancer
Overview: Long-term effects of alcohol abuse may cause breast cancer. This is because alcohol may increase the estrogen level in a woman's body, which triggers breast cancer. It is a very deadly disease among women and has been increasing worldwide.
Therefore, unusual symptoms, such as discharge from nipples, rashes around nipples, etc., are alarming.
How to Treat?: There are only 3 ways of treating this disease which are chemotherapy, surgery, and radiotherapy. However, one can prevent this disease by following a healthy lifestyle.
4. Liver Disease
Overview: Alcoholic liver diseases are one of the fatal consequences of overconsumption of alcohol. This is because alcohol causes inflammation in the liver and damages tissues and cells. The liver diseases one can get from alcohol are fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis, cirrhosis, etc.
How to Treat? The foremost treatment for alcoholic liver disease is to quit alcohol and completely detoxify the body. However, depending on the severity, physicians will suggest medicine, diet, and, in adverse cases, liver transplant.
5. Mouth Cancer
Overview: Alcohol is carcinogenic and contains harmful toxins that damage DNA in cells. Thus, overconsumption of alcohol will harm the mouth adversely and lead to mouth cancer. It is generally about the growth of a tumor in a part of the mouth, inside the cheeks, on the surface of the tongue, etc.
How to Treat?: Surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy are ways to manage and treat mouth cancer.
Overview: Stroke is one of the life-threatening effects of alcohol abuse. The toxins in alcohol cause the narrowing down of blood vessels and blockage in the heart. Therefore it disrupts the blood supply in the heart and causes a stroke.
How to Treat?: Medicines are given to remove clotted blood or make blood flow easily through blood vessels.
Overview: Dementia is one of the long-term effects of alcohol abuse on the brain. Excessive alcohol consumption leads to a faulty cardiovascular system and high blood pressure. Thus it increases the chances of Dementia.
How to Treat?: Cognitive and neurological therapies are necessary to treat dementia.
8. Head and Neck Cancer
Overview: Head and neck cancer is one of the adverse effects of alcohol abuse. Alcohol consumption leads to oral cavities and causes cavities in the larynx and pharynx. Thus, it leads to head and neck cancer. Some areas where head and neck cancer can develop are the sinuses and nose, lips and mouth, salivary glands, throat, voice box, etc.
How to Treat?: Medication, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy are the treatment procedures for head and neck cancer.
9. Sexual Problems
Overview: Sexual problems due to alcohol abuse cause erectile dysfunction in men. Alcohol generally makes brain cells numb to activate the body during sexual intercourse. Thus it leads to issues like premature ejaculation problems.
How to Treat? Antidepressants, self-motivation, and couples therapy are some effective ways to treat sexual problems.
Overview: Alcohol is a depressant that hampers the secretion of neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin. Thus, it is not at all for removing stress and making minds fresh. Instead, the harmful toxins will affect the brain's natural chemicals and cause depression.
How to Treat?: There are antidepressants available that doctors may prescribe. However, counseling, meditation, and a healthy lifestyle can provide greater help in treating depression.
Overview: Infertility is one of the major global alcohol abuse problems, increasing daily. Both men and women can be infertile due to the overconsumption of alcohol. For women, alcohol affects ovulation, and for men, it decreases testosterone and sperm production. Thus, heavy drinkers are at a high risk of infertility.
How to Treat?: Medications, IUI, and IVF treatments, surgeries, and therapies are available to treat infertility.
12. Bowel Cancer
Overview: Alcohol causes extreme inflammation inside the human body and also causes cell death, scars, etc. The intestinal parts of the human body get maximum adverse effects from the overconsumption of alcohol. Thus, people mainly get colon or intestinal cancers, which have extreme mortality rates.
How to Treat?: Quitting alcohol, indulging in a healthy lifestyle, taking proper medications, chemotherapy and radiotherapies are the solutions to bowel cancer.
13. Liver Cancer
Overview: The liver can only break a small amount of alcohol per hour. Hence, exceeding that amount will cause extreme inflammation in liver cells that gives permanent scarring and a high chance of liver cancer. Liver cancer is highly deadly and can spread to other organs over time.
How to Treat?: Treating chronic liver disease is a preventive measure for liver cancer. Further, medication, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy are needed to treat liver cancer.
14. Brain Damage
Overview: Brain damage is one of the long-term effects of alcohol abuse because the toxins of alcohol directly attack the brain cells and decrease their efficiency. It also shrinks the brain tissues and makes them weak. Thus, over time people start facing cognitive dysfunction.
How to Treat?: Quitting alcohol is the main solution for treating brain damage. However, medications and therapies are available for this.
15. Behavioral Issues
Overview: Behavioral issues like anger disorder, hypertension, impatience, and uncontrolled impulsivity are prevalent long-term effects of alcohol abuse. As a result, people start misbehaving with others and indulge in domestic abuse and crimes.
How to Treat?: Medicines, counseling, and therapies help treat the adversity of behavioral issues.
What Are the Short-Term Effects of Alcohol Abuse?
There are some immediate effects of alcohol abuse that also demand discussion. These are as follows:
What are the Triggers of Alcohol Abuse?
The triggers are as follows:
Loneliness is a common trigger for substance abuse. This is because, in the early stages of drinking alcohol, people feel a euphoric sensation in their brains. So they try to come out from their loneliness in this way.
Drinking is common during special occasions and fun gatherings. So, it eventually triggers people to indulge in binge drinking during this time, which turns into a habit.
Alcohol consumption gives a temporary light feeling inside the brain. That is why people become more addicted to alcohol to release their stress.
Environmental and Social Problems
Staying in socially degraded areas or receiving abusive treatment from others are some triggers of alcohol addiction. These affect the personal lives of people and make them prone to addiction.
What are the Symptoms of Alcohol Abuse and Addiction?
The symptoms of alcohol abuse are as follows:
An uncontrollable desire to drink
Being socially inactive
Failing to meet basic obligations and responsibilities
Developing tolerance for alcohol
How to Recover From Alcohol Abuse?
Recovery from alcohol abuse is challenging but possible. Therefore, caregivers should be attentive to the patients to help them overcome difficult situations. The treatment procedures for alcohol abuse are as follows:
Medication is available to save patients from the effects of alcohol abuse. These medicines help to detoxify the body and relieve painful withdrawal symptoms. However, drugs for alcohol abuse and addiction may have side effects.
Dual diagnosis refers to the process of mental support along with medicines to treat any addiction. Generally, alcohol addicts do not continue the treatment program. Thus, dual diagnosis will motivate them to be under treatment and recover.
Behavioral treatment is also necessary to reduce the effects of alcohol abuse. This treatment calms the issues of impulsive disorders and helps to get back to a normal, stable life. Besides, it is also helpful to restore and strengthen bonds.
What to Do For Alcohol Overdose or Poisoning
The signs of alcohol poisoning are:
Cold and blue skin
Immediate medical attention should be given if a patient shows these symptoms. Further, caregivers should take the following prompt actions to manage the situation:
Keeping the patient awake and warm
Try to prevent the patient from choking
The treatments that a patient with alcohol poisoning may receive are as follows:
Stomach pumping to bring out the toxins from body
In an advanced stage, blood filtration is needed
Talking to them to keep them active
IV fluid treatment for dehydration and increasing sugar level
Oxygen support for faint breathing
How Much Alcohol is Dangerous For Health?
As for the quantity of alcohol, people face different effects.
This discussion on the effects of alcohol abuse has not only brought out the central idea but also pointed out several important aspects of alcohol addiction. The diseases are highly dangerous; however, they can be controlled with proper treatment at the right time.
The most important is to restrict patients from alcohol consumption and take them to rehab for alcohol abuse for comprehensive help.
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Frequently Asked Questions
What are the risk factors of alcohol overdose?
The risk factors of alcohol overdose and poisoning are the people's age, earlier drinking experience, amount of food in the stomach, etc. However, alcohol poisoning can happen to anyone, irrespective of the above factors.
What to do for alcohol abuse prevention?
To prevent alcoholism, one can set a drinking limit, change daily routine drinking, stop binge drinking and get into a healthier lifestyle. Further, one can indulge in alcohol-avoiding campaigns to prevent the effects of alcohol abuse.
What are the medicines for alcohol abuse?
The medicines to treat the effects of alcohol are Naltrexone, Acamprosate, and Disulfiram. Though physicians prescribe these medicines, they have other reactions in the human body.
What is a hangover?
Drinking too much has a long-term effect on human brains. Thus, people can feel drowsiness even after withdrawal from the effects of alcohol. Symptoms of a hangover include headaches, fatigue, concentration problems, restlessness, etc.