The impact that alcohol has on the body begins the moment you take your first drink. Continual consumption beyond what the body is prepared to handle — particularly binge drinking — leads to a steady physical decline that affects nearly every part of your body. Long-term side effects of alcohol can include behavioral changes, dependence, organ damage, sexual dysfunction, and personal issues with your career, family, and finances.
An alcohol addiction treatment program can help you overcome the symptoms of alcohol abuse while providing relief from some of the long-term side effects of alcohol. Treatment includes alcohol detox, rehab, and aftercare programs designed to promote lifelong recovery. Let’s take a closer look at the long-term effects of alcohol use.
If you or someone you care about is struggling with an alcohol use problem, you must get professional help. Reach out to Renaissance Recovery today using our online form or call us at [Direct] to learn more.
Long-Term Side Effects of Alcohol Consumption
Of the many long-term side effects of alcohol consumption, the following are the most pronounced and can be the most dangerous. Long-term alcohol use can result in:
Excessive drinking over several months or years can cause a buildup of enzymes in the stomach, digestive walls, and endocrine glands. The buildup can lead to pancreatitis, which can have health consequences such as upper abdomen pain, diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss, nausea, and vomiting.
Cirrhosis and Liver Disease
The liver’s job is to breakdown and to flush out substances that are harmful to your body. The liver can handle small doses of alcohol. However, it cannot break down the toxic substances quickly enough if you binge drink or regularly consume more than is recommended. The result is chronic inflammation and liver disease. Once you join an addiction treatment program and stop drinking, the liver can potentially recover up to 100 percent of its tissue.
The pancreas is involved in regulating levels of insulin in the body. The long-term side effects of alcohol may include hyperglycemia and diabetes. Diabetes is a terminal illness that stays with you long after the other symptoms of alcohol addiction go away. You can manage diabetes once you stop drinking.
Mental Health Issues
A dual diagnosis treatment program is designed to help individuals who suffer from alcohol addiction and a mental disorder. Common disorders associated with alcoholism include:
- Borderline personality disorder
- Bipolar disorder
These co-occurring disorders have a symbiotic relationship in which the disorder can trigger and fuel addiction. Likewise, your addiction can lead to a disorder. Someone who binges for several months or years may develop anxiety or depression, and this condition may, in turn, drive one to consume more alcohol. If left untreated, these can be long-term side effects of alcohol abuse.
In addition to mental disorders, alcohol can affect the central nervous system in other ways. Over time, the frontal lobe may experience some damage. You may notice issues such as the inability to control your emotions, short-term memory loss, or basic judgment skills. These only worsen as you continue to drink.
Heart and Lung Problems
Heart and lung problems can also be long-term side effects of alcohol use. Chronic drinking can increase your risk of heart or lung failure, heart disease, heart attack, stroke, and high blood pressure. You may notice that you have difficulty breathing or feel intense fatigue throughout the day. Alcoholism can also lead to anemia, a condition in which your body has difficulty absorbing minerals and vitamins.
Although drinking alcohol can lower your inhibitions, this is more or less an emotional response. Your physical response may be very different. Heavy drinking can lower sex hormone production and drastically reduce your sex drive (libido). You may have difficulty performing in bed.
Learn More About the Long-Term Side Effects of Alcohol at Renaissance Recovery
If you would like to learn more about the long-term side effects of alcohol, as well as your alcohol detox options, then contact Renaissance Recovery. We offer professional help for alcoholism at our substance abuse treatment center in California. To find out more about your treatment options, call Renaissance Recovery at [Direct]. We are here to help you get on the road to recovery.