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alcohol addiction facts

Alcoholism and its Effects

It’s estimated that approximately 15 million Americans struggle with alcoholism. This devastating addiction ruins lives, causes health problems, and it can even cause serious injuries or death. Every year, roughly 599,000 people are injured under the influence of alcohol, and 1,700 die. If you suspect that you or someone you love is suffering from alcoholism, it’s essential to be aware of the effects.

Neurological Effects

Alcohol is a neurotoxin. When consumed frequently and in large enough quantities, it causes damage to the brain and nerves. Over time, the effects on a person’s cognitive function become very apparent. They may become forgetful, have difficulty performing basic mental tasks and are prone to confusion. Mood also suffers. Depression, anxiety and irritability are common among alcoholics, and these effects tend to feed the cycle of alcohol abuse. In advanced cases, motor control is impacted. Severe or long-time alcoholics often have tremors in the head or hands, which is caused by nervous system damage.

Physical Effects

Health problems are likely with long-term heavy drinking. These can include high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, acid reflux, sleep apnea and digestive disorders. The liver is also frequently affected. The liver processes and detoxifies alcohol using enzymes, but this is a heavy strain. Over time, problems like cirrhosis, fatty liver disease, liver cancer and liver failure can develop. Alcohol abuse also increases the risk of colorectal, stomach and estrogen-dependent breast cancer. It may also increase the risk of prostate cancer, but only with very heavy consumption.

Effects on Everyday Life

The effects of alcoholism on everyday life can have some of the most severe immediate consequences. For instance, some alcoholics may go to work hung over or under the influence, or they might fail to go into work at all after a night of drinking. Mood problems like irritability and the behavior problems that come with it can cause conflicts with bosses, supervisors or co-workers, which could lead to being fired. Unsurprisingly, this can have a detrimental effect on a person’s financial situation.

Interpersonal relationships also frequently suffer. Once alcohol begins taking over a person’s life, they often avoid social activities that don’t involve alcohol. They may become increasingly isolated from family and friends, and many acquire a new circle of friends who are also alcoholics, which helps to encourage and facilitate their habit. Relationships with a significant other become strained, and domestic violence toward spouses and children is a common occurrence among alcoholics.

Getting Help

The vast majority of alcoholics are not able to overcome their addiction on their own. Most who try often relapse when stress hits or the effects of withdrawal become too great. For this reason, it’s necessary to seek help from a qualified inpatient treatment center. These facilities provide a controlled and medically monitored environment, as well as group therapy and a variety of other beneficial programs, to help addicts effectively resist and overcome alcoholism. If you’re struggling with alcoholism, enrolling in a treatment facility can help you get your life back.

10 Comments

  • Rose

    This is so sad and so very dangerous. I wish any and all who feel as though the bottle is holding them instead of the other way around would seek out help early. because damage done to an alcoholic’s spouses and children is a lot worse than just domestic violence. those people suffer in a thousand different ways from financial strain to low self esteem and a host of other problems. like any sickness early treatment works best.

  • Bob

    Interesting. I may have to recommend this to some of my family members. Some are really struggling with cocaine addiction and this article is useful. Thanks!

  • Marivic Hernan

    Alcohol addiction should be treated immediately before it will destroy someones life.

  • Micah Coffey

    Wow! I did not know how many people were affected by alcoholism. I know somebody who is, and I will use this information in trying to persuade them to stop!

  • Harold English

    I did not know about all of the physical effects of alcoholism. This is really enlightening for me.

  • Jeannaisa Desir

    This helps me so much on continuing my journey. Thanks!

  • homeless one

    Unfortunately, i have an Aunt that can be “classified” as an “alcoholic”. She attempts to hide it well from those “in the family”, but knowing what to look for cuts through the fascade. She refuses to go to a “treatment facility” on several counts. Only the most loving “in the family” bring it to her attention in hopes she would realize what she is doing and who she is hurting, and repent of it, before it’s too late.

    Now there’s a novel idea: repentance. A perfect man, who is God, once bellowed out that command before He said anything else in every new place he visited: “REPENT! For The Kingdom of God is at hand!” Recorded in the 4 Gospels Of Jesus Christ.

    To recognize that it IS SIN to perform alcoholic actions begins the restoration process. That provides the motivation to repent of it: to turn away from the sin, and towards the One who can redeem the sinner. And in that redemption, there’s a healing and restoration that takes place; no concern of any “relapses” because when said healing happens, it is as if that person did not sin there in the first place.

    I’ve not seen any other “treatment method” to work in the short and long-term.

  • Raymore Borrowland

    It’s sad how many people don’t realize how bad their drinking can be.

  • Gary R

    Alcohol addiction can be a nightmare for anyone who gets caught up in it’s deadly web. Not only do you suffer serious emotional & social issues, it takes a toll on your physical 7 mental capacity. People in denial will never admit that they have a problem, but that same problem never gets any better either.

  • Carl Corey

    Alcoholism is a serious problem that needs to be dealt with. You brought up some good points. Keep educating the people.

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