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- Long-term heavy use of alcohol also may give you alcoholic fatty liver disease, a sign that your liver doesn’t work as well as it should.
- Some medications interact with alcohol, increasing its toxic effects.
- Alcohol is the most commonly used addictive substance in America and the effects of alcohol are substantial.
- This is especially true if you are taking a medication that makes you sleepy or causes sedation.
- In fact, a recent study by The Recovery Villagefound heavy drinkers were 48% more likely to report having cancer than those who didn’t drink heavily.
Plan a trip to the movies, the mall, a concert, or a sports event. You might also organize your friends into a volleyball, bowling, or softball team — any activity that gets you moving. Just about everyone knows that the legal drinking age throughout the United States is 21. But according to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, almost 80% of high school students have tried alcohol. Alcohol can have short- and long-termeffects on the brainand disrupts the brain’s communication pathways.
Impact on Hormones
Drinking heavily for a long time has been linked to hearing loss. You might not link a cold to a night of drinking, but there might be a connection. Alcohol puts the brakes on your body’s defenses, or immune system. Your body can’t make the numbers of white blood cells it needs to fight germs. So for 24 hours after drinking too much, you’re more likely to get sick.
Long-term alcohol use can affect bone density, leading to thinner bones and increasing your risk of fractures if you fall. Over time, alcohol can cause damage to your central nervous system. You might notice numbness and tingling in your feet and hands. Experts recommend avoiding excessive amounts of alcohol if you have diabetes or hypoglycemia.
The Dark Side of Alcohol
If you or a loved one is experiencing the effects of alcohol, it’s time to get help. Contact a treatment provider to discuss available alcohol rehab facilities. Bone loss can lead to thinning bones and an increased risk of fractures. Alcohol can also damage bone marrow, which makes blood cells. This can cause a low platelet count, which may result in bruising and bleeding. Over time, heavy drinking can cause involuntary rapid eye movement as well as weakness and paralysis of your eye muscles due to a deficiency of vitamin B-1 .
Immediate effects include impaired reflexes, slurred speech, and coordination problems. Talk openly with your child, spend quality time together and become actively involved in your child’s life. Seta – LGBTI Rights in Finland works for an equal society and individual welfare, that includes and welcomes everyone regardless of gender identity, sexual orientation or gender expression.
In general, the more heavily a person drinks over the long term, the greater the risk to their overall health. For this reason, experts recommend limiting yourself to two drinks per day if you are a man and to one drink a day if you are a woman. Having friends or a close partner who drinks regularly could increase your risk of alcohol use disorder. The glamorous way that drinking is sometimes portrayed in the media also may send the message that it’s OK to drink too much. For young people, the influence of parents, peers and other role models can impact risk. If you feel that you sometimes drink too much alcohol, or your drinking is causing problems, or if your family is concerned about your drinking, talk with your health care provider.
People who have issues with their work life, family relationships, finances or emotions because of their alcohol use could have a drinking problem. A lack of folate in the diet or folic acid, its supplement form, further increases the risk of breast cancer in women. Folate is needed to produce new cells and to prevent changes in DNA.
The long-term effects of heavy drinking can take a serious toll on your physical and mental health. It may also increase the likelihood of accidents such as falls and fractures. Alcohol is the most commonly used addictive substance in America and the effects of alcohol are substantial. Excessive drinking—on a single occasion or over a length of time—can lead to serious health problems, chronic diseases and even death. Alcohol abuse also impacts users’ behavior, which can result in accidents and violence.
Effects of Alcohol Abuse and Addiction
For starters, “alcohol is a neurotoxin that can disrupt communications of the brain,” says the Mayo Clinic. Some of the early cardiovascular effects, like high blood pressure and an irregular heartbeat, can lead to a host of problems down the road. Long-term consequences of excessive drinking may include cardiomyopathy, stroke and sudden cardiac death. Too much alcohol affects your speech, muscle coordination and vital centers of your brain. A heavy drinking binge may even cause a life-threatening coma or death.
The dangers of mixing alcohol with prescription drugs are well known. When you pick your prescription up at the pharmacy, chances are the label or package insert will come with a warning if it is not safe to consume alcohol while you are taking the medication. Having an alcoholic drink while you are taking medications to treat prostate conditions can cause dizziness, lightheadedness, and fainting. Mixing these medications with alcohol intensifies the side effects and increases the risk of a fatal overdose. You should avoid drinking alcohol if you are taking allergy medications or any multi-symptom cold and flu formulation.
In turn, these legal consequences can put a person’s job at risk and may even impact their ability to have custody of their children. In a recent study, 16.3% of heavy drinkers reported having an alcohol-related legal issue; they had increased their risk for a legal issue by 66%, compared to non-heavy drinkers. Long-term alcohol use can have a serious impact on the brain and body.
By interfering with these cells’ activity, drinking can make you more susceptible to infections and illness. In a recent study by The Recovery Village, heavy drinkers were 61% more likely than others to have a weakened immune system. Depending on your BAC, you can experience an array of side effects that range from minor complications to more severe ones. For example, lower BAC percentages tend to come with temporary side effects that subside within a few hours. However, as BAC percentages increase, the symptoms become much more serious and can be life-threatening.
Excessive drinking can affect your nervous system, causing numbness and pain in your hands and feet, disordered thinking, dementia, and short-term memory loss. The risk of alcohol use disorder is higher for people who have a parent or other close relative who has problems with alcohol. When you stop drinking, you might notice a range of physical, emotional, or mental health symptoms that ease as soon as you have a drink. Some people who drink eventually develop a tolerance to alcohol. As a result, they eventually need to drink more to notice the same effects they once did.
Beyond the short-term effects, long-term heavy alcohol use can seriously affect your physical health and lifestyle. Carol’s past experience in the medical field has led to a deep knowledge of the struggles those with a substance use disorder face. She is passionate about helping people who are struggling with alcohol abuse and addiction and hopes her writing for Alcohol Rehab Guide can help. In addition to the short-term, visible side effects of alcoholism, there are also long-term effects. Individuals who consume alcohol over a prolonged period are more at risk of developing these complications.
However, you don’t have to lose hope and continue down the path of destruction. Across the country, there are specialized alcohol treatment programs that help millions of individuals overcome alcoholism each year. With customized recovery plans in place, each facility offers several amenities, therapies and activities.