The Long Term Effects of Alcohol Abuse

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Excessive drinking frequently results in physical damage and disease, commonly increases the risk of getting various illnesses and diseases, and in many instances makes other diseases worse.

What is more, abusive and hazardous drinking often leads to relationship, financial, legal, educational, and work problems.

As a consequence, if you want to avoid the long term effects of alcohol on the body and on the brain, such as unnecessary alcohol-related health problems later in life, always drink in moderation or not at all.

Short and Long-Term Effects of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

Effects of Alcohol on the Body and on the Brain. Some problems, such as negative interactions with medications, driving impairment, and interpersonal relationship problems can manifest themselves after drinking over a relatively short period of time.

These are considered some of the short term alcohol effects on the body and the brain.

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Long Term Alcohol Effects. Other problems, however, can develop more gradually over time and may become noticeable only after excessive drinking for an extended period of time.

These are the problems that represent the long term effects of alcohol abuse.

Stated another way, these are some of the long-term effects of alcohol on the body and on the brain.

It is also important to point out that women may develop alcohol-related health problems after ingesting less alcohol than men over a shorter time period.

Due to the fact that alcohol negatively affects many organs in the body, long-term excessive drinking puts a person at risk for developing critical health problems and adverse alcohol effects.

So what is the bottom line about excessive drinking?

In a word, the long term effects of alcohol abuse can lead to a gradual breakdown of different organs and systems in the body that can result in serious, if not fatal, health issues.

Liver Disease

One of the long term effects of alcohol on the body is alcohol related liver disease.

In fact, more than 2 million American people suffer from alcohol-related liver disease.

Some drinkers develop alcoholic hepatitis (i.e., inflammation of the liver) as a result of long-term excessive drinking.

The symptoms of alcoholic hepatitis include the following: abdominal pain, jaundice (abnormal yellowing of the urine, skin, and the eyeballs) and fever.

If the person continues drinking, alcoholic hepatitis can be fatal. If the person stops drinking, on the other hand, alcoholic hepatitis is often reversible.

Another one of the key adverse alcohol effects on the body is cirrhosis of the liver.

Approximately 10 to 20 percent of heavy drinkers develop cirrhosis of the liver (i.e., scarring of the liver).

Alcoholic cirrhosis can be fatal if the person continues to drink.

Even though cirrhosis is irreversible, if the affected person stops drinking, his or her chances of survival can improve greatly.

Although some individuals eventually need a liver transplant as a last resort, many people with cirrhosis who quit drinking alcoholic beverages may receive treatment and may never require liver transplantation.

Alcohol-Related Heart Disease

Drinking in moderation can actually have beneficial effects on the heart, especially with people who are at the greatest risk for heart attacks, such as women after menopause and men over the age of 45.

Long-term excessive drinking, however, increases the risk for some kinds of stroke, heart disease, and high blood pressure.

In short, alcohol related heart disease is another one of the long term effects of alcohol abuse and alcoholism.

Cancer

Yet another one of the long term effects of alcohol on the body is alcohol related cancer.

Indeed, heavy, chronic drinking increases the risk of developing certain types of cancer, especially cancer of the voice box, mouth, throat, and the esophagus.

Excessive drinking may also increase the risk for developing cancer of the rectum and the colon.

It can be noted that women who drink two or more drinks per day slightly increase their risk for developing breast cancer.

Alcohol-Related Pancreatitis

Additional Effects of Alcohol on the Body. The pancreas helps regulate the body's blood sugar levels by producing insulin.

In addition, the pancreas is instrumental in digesting the food people eat.

Long-term excessive drinking can lead to pancreatitis (i.e.. inflammation of the pancreas).

Pancreatitis is associated with excessive weight loss and extreme abdominal pain and can lead to death.

Based on the above, it can be determined that excessive drinking can often result in physical damage, increase the risk of getting some diseases, and can make existing diseases and illnesses worse.

The moral of the story: if you want to avoid unnecessary health problems and negative alcohol effects later in life, drink in moderation or not at all.

Other Long Term Effects of Alcoholism

In addition to the diseases outlined above, excessive drinking over time is also associated with the following long term effects of alcohol abuse and alcoholism:

  • Loss of brain cells

  • Epilepsy

  • Nerve damage

  • Irritated stomach lining and bleeding from stomach ulcers

  • Infertility

  • Skin problems

  • Obesity

  • Muscle disease

  • Vitamin deficiency

  • Sexual problems

Conclusion: Alcoholism Effects

What Are the Long Term Effects of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism? Based on the above discussion, it can be concluded that heavy and chronic drinking often results in disease and physical damage, frequently increases the risk of getting various diseases and illnesses, and it commonly makes existing medical conditions and diseases worse.

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In addition to physical problems, chronic alcohol abuse and alcoholism commonly lead to mental health issues, legal difficulties, relationship problems, financial issues, and employment problems.

The bottom line is this: if you want to avoid the long term effects of alcohol on the body and on the brain, such as unnecessary alcohol-related health problems and adverse alcohol effects later in life, drink in moderation or not at all.

And if you cannot always drink in moderation or abstain from drinking on your own, consider making it a priority to talk with an alcohol abuse and alcoholism professional about getting alcohol treatment as soon as possible.

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