Long-term drinkers stay off the wagon for a number of reasons. I’ve met alcoholics who are afraid to face painful emotions, don’t think they can quit, or worry about living without their crutch. Whether you’re an alcoholic or know someone who is, consider 16 effects of alcoholism that can motivate you to get sober.
Long-Term Effects of Alcoholism
1. Cancer Related to the Effects of Alcoholism
Chronic drinkers face an increased risk of developing mouth, throat, esophagus, breast, rectum, and colon cancers.
2. Liver Disease
Hepatitis and cirrhosis are two liver diseases that alcoholism can cause. I encourage you to stop drinking as soon as possible, though, to reverse hepatitis and reduce your risk of dying from cirrhosis.
3. Heart Disease
Drink long enough, and your risk of developing high blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease increases.
Fill up on alcohol, and you’re consuming empty calories that make you feel full but contain no nutrients. Additionally, drinking affects your body’s ability to absorb nutrients when you do eat a healthy meal.
You drink to fall asleep, but alcohol interrupts your sleep cycle and causes insomnia. The next day, you can’t stay awake, so you drink to fall asleep, suffer from insomnia again, and repeat the vicious pattern.
Drink heavily for five to 10 years, and your chances of developing pancreatitis increase as your over-consumption puts added pressure on this organ that digests the food you eat. Stop drinking, and pancreatitis symptoms may disappear.
Quit drinking, and tremors could start as you withdraw. Likewise, the shakes can occur when you drink for years.
8. Brain Damage
Long-term drinkers can experience spatial processing challenges since over-consumption of alcohol kills white brain cells and some gray cells in the part of your brain that’s responsible for this important function.
9. Dental Problems
Consistently expose your teeth, gums, and tongue to alcohol and resist regular dental care, and you could experience tooth decay and loss, a painful abscess or gum disease.
Alcohol does inhibit your central nervous system and stems anxious feelings in the short term. However, prolonged use affects your brain’s ability to handle and cope with anxiety. It could also cause panic attacks.
Because alcohol lowers your brain’s serotonin and norepinephrine levels, long-term drinking causes depression.
12. Erectile Dysfunction
Long-term alcohol consumption damages blood vessels and prevents erections. Over-consumption can also cause hypertension, one cause of erectile dysfunction.
13. Lost Employment
Repeatedly arrive on the job with a hangover, poor appearance, or poor work performance, and I can guarantee you won’t have a job much longer.
14. Deep Debt
Drinking every day isn’t cheap. Especially since your drinking progresses and the volume of alcohol you consume increases, you’re going to find yourself in deep debt.
15. Broken Marriages
An alcoholic’s lies, neglect, resentment, blame, and anger strain almost every marriage to the breaking point. It’s no wonder that alcohol contributes to as many as seven percent of all divorces.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reports that 38 percent of homeless people are suffering from the effects of alcoholism. When drinking becomes more important than anything else, you risk losing everything.
I know getting sober takes hard work, but you can do it, especially when you allow these 16 effects of alcoholism to motivate you or an alcoholic you love to jump on the sober wagon.