Alcohol is consumed by nearly two billion people worldwide, and while a majority of those people drink responsibly, there are still millions of people that don’t. And those millions of people will face dire consequences if they don’t receive the proper help, attention, and treatment.
The WHO estimates that nearly three million deaths happen every year as a result of alcohol abuse. In the United States, there are an estimated 15 million people above the age of 12 with an alcohol use disorder, and roughly 100,000 people die from alcohol-related causes every year.
We all know about the immediate effects of alcohol use – in moderation, they can be tolerated. With that said, alcohol abuse is an entirely different story, and the long-term effects of alcohol abuse can be life-altering, if not life-threatening.
Is Alcohol Addictive?
Alcohol is one of the most addictive drugs in the world, which is why the amount of people drinking alcohol regularly is concerning. The main reason why alcohol is addictive is because it alters the brain’s reward system – when we drink alcohol, it makes us feel good and happy.
This ‘good’ feeling comes from the release of endorphins and feel-good chemicals, such as dopamine. The more we drink alcohol, the more our brain prioritizes alcohol above other things, ultimately changing our thoughts, behaviors, actions, and more – this is where addiction starts.
Not only that, but alcohol is extremely hard to quit once addicted. Not only does your brain make you feel like you need it, but the withdrawal symptoms often result in people relapsing and using again – spurring the addiction all over again. That’s largely what makes alcohol so dangerous.
What are the Signs of Alcohol Abuse?
Alcohol abuse can result in a number of unwanted health conditions and consequences. Still, it’s a highly treatable condition that doesn’t have to deplete the quality of one’s life – especially if the alcohol use disorder is detected, diagnosed, treated, and monitored in a timely manner.
Of course, that often requires early action – here are the most common signs of alcohol abuse:
- Frequent blackouts or short-term memory loss
- Mood swings and moments of extreme irritability
- Constantly making an excuse to drink alcohol
- Buying alcohol when you don’t have the money to buy alcohol
- Choosing to drink alcohol over other daily responsibilities
- Becoming distant or isolated because of your addiction
- Experiencing a hangover even when you don’t drink
- Lifestyle and behavioral changes to prioritize alcohol
If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol abuse, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. The sooner you get help, the sooner you can kick your addiction and regain control of your life. You have so much more to live for, and there are professionals that can help you succeed.
What are the Long-Term Effects of Alcohol Abuse?
When you consume alcohol, it’s absorbed into the bloodstream through your stomach and small intestine. From there, it travels throughout the body, enters your organs, and enters your brain. This causes impaired cognitive function, loss of balance or coordination, and so much more.
Of course, those are just the immediate and short-term effects of drinking alcohol. Let’s take a look at the effect of long-term alcohol abuse on the brain and body:
- Increased risk of injury or self-harm
- Broken relationships and issues with family members or friends
- Increased risk of heart-related diseases
- Increased risk of liver disease
- Permanent brain damage and nerve damage
- Sexual problems and loss of libido
- Ulcers and gastritis
- Cancer of the mouth or throat
- Malnutrition or unhealthy eating habits
Drinking a little bit of alcohol on occasion isn’t going to harm anyone – for the most part. With that said, continued excessive use of alcohol can grow into a significant problem and one that must be dealt with immediately. Don’t worry; plenty of people are ready and willing to help you.
How to Find Alcohol Abuse Treatment
Are you worried about the effects of long-term alcohol abuse? Are you ready to receive the care and treatment you so desperately deserve? Do you often fantasize about a life without alcohol? If you answered yes to any of the questions above, Epiphany Wellness is ready to help you.
Our state-of-the-art outpatient treatment program is tailored to those with substance abuse. Our New Jersey rehab center features an experienced and qualified team of addiction specialists who works one-on-one with each patient to ensure their unique, individual needs are met daily.
To learn more about our New Jersey substance abuse program or to enroll yourself or a loved one, contact us today – we can’t wait to help you in your journey towards a better, alcohol-free lifestyle.