The short term effects of drinking alcohol typically include being off balance, disoriented and otherwise noticeably drink but these effects typically wear off within a few hours. It’s the long term effects of alcohol abuse that are difficult to see, dangerous to live with and near impossible to overcome—that’s what you really need to watch out for!
It’s easy to understand that drinking makes you drunk and that being drunk makes you vulnerable to various dangers such as DUI or car accident, being taken advantage of or otherwise suffering great consequence. What isn’t always as easy to see is the fact that drinking also have various long term effects that will stick around even once you make the courageous decision to quit. The dangers of alcohol abuse don’t just go away when you quit drinking—in fact, the long term effects of alcohol abuse are sometimes more dangerous than the immediate effects themselves.
A myriad of different health issues can arise as a result of chronic alcohol abuse or alcohol addiction. Some of these issues will actually go away with time while others may cause long term damage that not only doesn’t go away, but that actually gets worse as time goes on. How terrible it is when you think that you have made the right decision to quit drinking but later realize that you made that decision long after the damage had already been done.
Long Term Effects of Alcohol on the Brain
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism has announced that both men and women who heavily consume alcoholic beverages are likely to experience a shrinkage of the brain. The brain can be permanently damaged as a result of consuming excessive amounts of alcohol such as is the case with binge drinking as well as from consuming alcohol for a prolonged period of time.
Memory lapses are likely when alcohol abuse is a factor and the longer a user drinks alcohol on a regular basis, the greater these memory lapses will be. Even after an individual stops drinking, the brain continues to suffer great damage and difficulty with learning new things or retaining information in a clear and concise manner. Studies have not yet determined the exact cause of alcohol abuse related brain damage aside from the fact that drinking has been found to cause brain shrinkage.
Long Term Effects of Alcohol on the Liver
The long term effects of alcohol abuse are not only seen in the inability for the mind to keep track of things, remember things or learn new things. There is also significant damage that occurs to the liver when alcohol abuse is a factor. Excessive drinking causes liver damage that is irreversible and in many cases may not even show up until many years after the last drink of alcohol was consumed.
Excessive strain on the organs, especially the liver, that results from the regular consumption of alcohol can cause fat cells to break down making it difficult for the liver to do its job. While it is possible to suffer from virtually no symptoms of liver damage as a result of excessive drinking, those who do have symptoms experience fever, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite and severe abdominal pain when the liver is scarred. Cirrhosis of the liver is also a common long term effect of alcohol abuse that does not heal.
Long Term Effects of Alcohol on the Intestines
Intestinal damage is a major concern when excessive alcohol consumption is a factor in one’s life. Alcohol breaks down the ability of the stomach to digest food and vitamins and this can cause severe intestinal damage. The damage that occurs in the intestines is also directly related to the brain damage that results from excessive alcohol use as there is a reduction in the ability for the brain to direct the appropriate functions of the body.
The long term effects of alcohol abuse on the intestines result from the alcohol consumption causing bacteria growth in the intestines that actually breaks down the walls of the intestine. This can lead to great pain and discomfort as well as permanent damage to the intestines which results from tearing or similar damage occurring to the weakened intestinal walls. Alcohol is a toxin that actually kills the cells within the intestines and the digestive system causing permanent damage.
Drinking can be a deadly situation but who would have thought that quitting was not the cure all? Unfortunately, the long term effects of alcohol abuse are likely to linger for many years causing a world of problem and pain for the user long after he or she decides to quit. While you may find that quitting doesn’t heal your body entirely, continued use of alcohol will only make matters worse! Seeking help for alcohol abuse can provide you with the tools, support and backing that you need to make a full and lasting recovery.