Drug Rehabilitation Blog

Alcohol and Consequences

16 Unfortunate Long-term Effects of Alcoholism

Posted by Myra Davis to Sobriety

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 long-term alcoholism that can motivate you to get sober.

Man chained to alcohol bottles
Photo by: Sammis Reachers (Flickr)

1. Cancer

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 alcohol 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.

4. Malnutrition

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.

5. Insomnia

You drink to fall asleep, but alcohol actually 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.

6. Pancreatitis

Drink heavily for five to 10 years, and your chances of developing pancreatitis increase as your overconsumption puts added pressure on this organ that digests the food you eat. Stop drinking, and pancreatitis symptoms may disappear.

7. Tremors

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 overconsumption 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, painful abscess or gum disease.

10. Anxiety

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.

11. Depression

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. Overconsumption can also cause hypertension, one cause of erectile dysfunction.

13. Lost Employment

Repeatedly arrive on the job with a hangover, sloppy 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 as 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.

16. Homelessness

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reports that 38 percent of homeless people are alcohol dependent. 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 long-term drinking to motivate you or an alcoholic you love to jump on the sober wagon.

3 Comments

  • Diane C

    This information is good to know. I had heard of some of these before but not the full extent of what over drinking can do to the body and the affects it can have on a person’s life, including their friends and family. This is something everyone should be educated on, especially before they start drinking so they never get started in the first place. I know that sometimes when people are addicted, they’re not willing to look at the consequences of what they are doing and feel that other’s are exaggerating the bad things that can happen but we must keep trying so they get the treatment they need.

  • Amanda

    To me reading this article makes it so that I do not really see a reason to pick up a drink. I do not think all alcohol is bad and not one should drink ever, but it is up to the person. However if you look at all the illness, disease and losses a person can have when they have a drinking problem and no one is able to help. I mean it is scary to think that drinking alcohol for a long time can cause all these. It just shows that everything really is better in moderation and never to access. It really can lead to your demise and a person could really end up losing everything! Life is worth living!

  • Walter

    I am impressed with how many different ailments there are as a result of drug and alcohol use. It is amazing that there are this many people who could have these disastrous ailments in their future if they do not get off of the drugs. There is a lot to be said about the amount of prescribed drugs that are out there that have these as their side effects. Not to mention all of the other types that are illegal drugs and are obtained by other means. A lot of people who are addicts do not have the ability to self inspect and realize that they are doing that type of damage to themselves as they are consumed by the addiction of the drugs. This is something that will need to be addressed with any people that you know that are on drugs. And I can also see the benefit of getting them to go to a drug rehab facility so that they can get the help that they need.

  • Write a Comment

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    overcoming addiction to have a successful life

    How Overcoming Addiction Can Prepare You for a Successful Life

    The focus in drug addiction recovery articles is often on the many steps that it takes to really recover, the challenges …

    meth addiction

    Signs of Meth Addiction

    Various substances around the country have continued to be large issues. Some are very prominent, whereas others have been …

    fentanyl

    What is Fentanyl?

    Many different types of substances within our modern world can be extremely dangerous. One category of substances that has …