Many people are familiar with the short-term consequences of alcohol abuse, such as an increased risk for motor vehicle accidents, legal repercussions like DUIs, or the symptoms of a hangover. While alcohol abuse certainly impairs one’s judgment, lowers inhibitions and hinders motor coordination, plenty of risks of alcohol abuse go beyond having a bad night. Alcohol abuse can lead to a variety of unsuspected medical conditions. Alcoholism is certainly a risk of heavy alcohol abuse, but people do not have to be alcoholics to develop serious medical conditions from drinking. While alcohol affects the brain’s central nervous system, the substance travels throughout the body, so it impacts every body part from the brain to the bones. Alcohol abuse has been linked to several organ, mental, bone and muscle conditions, so people may be surprised by the long list of issues that are linked to alcohol abuse. Alcoholism is caused by.
Medical Conditions Linked to Alcohol Abuse or Alcoholism
If you or a loved one abuses alcohol, then she may suffer from any of the following issues:
Perhaps one of the most exoteric disorders related to alcohol abuse is liver disease. Alcohol is toxic, and the liver metabolizes it, so heavy and chronic drinking continually damage the liver. Such damage can include permanent scaring and inflammation of the liver tissue, cirrhosis and hepatitis.
Alcohol abuse affects the cardiovascular system. Alcohol causes blood platelets to clump together to form blood clots, which can lead to high blood pressure, heart attack or stroke. Alcohol abuse also increases the risk for cardiomyopathy, the weakening of the heart muscle, as well as changes in heart rate and atrial and ventricular fibrillation. High blood pressure can provoke several issues, such as kidney disease, heart disease and stroke.
Habitual or long-term excessive alcohol use is linked to several forms of cancer. When the body converts alcohol into acetaldehyde, it produces a carcinogen which is believed to be the cause of several alcohol-related cancers, such as breast, mouth, throat, liver and colon cancer.
Alcoholism caused by environmental factors
Everyone’s brain shrinks throughout life, but heavy alcohol use increases the shrinkage of certain regions in the brain. Alcohol abuse has been linked to dementia and memory loss, as well as deficits in judgment, problem solving and other neurological functions.
Alcohol abuse causes nerve damage, which can cause symptoms of pins-and-needles feeling and numbness in the extremities. Other signs of nerve damage can include muscle weakness, erectile dysfunction, constipation, nutritional deficiencies, weakness and paralysis of the eye muscle as well as menstrual complications.
Alcohol abuse weakens the bones and interferes with the formation of new bone tissue. Alcohol abuse can cause osteoporosis and increase the risk for fractures, which is especially dangerous due to the many accidents, falls and injuries that occur from alcohol intoxication.
Alcohol wreaks havoc on the digestive system. The substance inflames the stomach’s lining and interferes with the absorption of proper nutrients. Alcohol can cause ulcers and damage the pancreas, which can cause problems with metabolism and digestion, even pancreatitis.
Depression is the most notable mental health condition caused by alcohol abuse, but, because alcohol directly affects the brain’s chemical balance, almost every mental health disorder can be linked to heavy drinking, from personality to anxiety disorders.
Furthermore, alcohol weakens the immune system, so it makes individuals susceptible to several diseases, disorders and infections. Get help to quit abusing alcohol.
How to Prevent Disorders Caused By Alcoholism
While you can never prevent yourself from developing certain medical conditions, you can certainly reduce the risk. Alcoholism is a disease in itself, and it leads to no positive outcomes. If you would like to learn more about treating alcoholism or co-occurring disorders, please call our toll-free, 24 hour helpline now.