Your road to recovery doesn’t end in rehab. You must now…
Alcohol abuse can create a lot of damage in your relationships, make your personal life more troubled, and interfere with your work life. Almost all drinkers have experienced feeling cruddy because they have been drinking. Whether it is barfing because you drank to excess or having to deal with a hangover the morning after, it is no secret that consuming too much alcohol can leave you feeling gross. However, what many people do not realize is that alcohol abuse can have significant, long-term effects on your health.
Drinking in excess, either for long periods of time or in a single major binge episode, can cause significant and sometimes irreversible damage to your heart, which can lead to heart attacks and death. Some heart problems that are linked to alcohol abuse include: arrhythmias, high blood pressure, cardiomyopathy, heart attack, and stroke.
Alcohol is a depressant and it weakens your immune system. Chronic drinkers are at a higher risk of contracting some infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis and pneumonia. Drinking to excess increases your likelihood of contracting infectious diseases, not only while you are intoxicated, but up to 24 hours afterwards, as well. This is an important thing to keep in mind as we are currently in a COVID-19 pandemic.
Any alcohol consumption interferes with how the brain is working (which is what produces the “mellow” feeling many drinkers get when they consume alcohol). Usually, these changes go away once the alcohol has left the body and any hangover effects are gone, but long-term, these changes can lead to disruptions in mood, cognitive skills, behavior, and coordination.
Almost everyone knows that alcohol abuse can lead to liver damage. That is because it is the liver’s job to remove toxins from the body. Liver problems linked to alcohol abuse include alcoholic hepatitis, fibrosis, cirrhosis, and steatosis (fatty liver).
Alcohol consumption actually causes your pancreas to produce toxic substances. In social drinkers, these toxins are usually metabolized safely, but in chronic drinkers it can lead to pancreatitis.
Excessive alcohol consumption is linked to higher rates of a wide variety of cancers, and the more a person drinks and the longer the period of time that he or she drinks, the greater the risk of developing an alcohol-related cancer. Alcohol is related to cancers in the mouth, larynx, pharynx, esophagus, liver, breast, colon, and rectum.