Effects of Alcohol Abuse
Car accidents. Violent arguments. Blackouts. You may be familiar with these examples of the most common consequences of alcohol abuse. They are the kinds of incidences that are reported in the media and spoken about in social circles. But the effects of alcohol abuse and alcohol addiction go far beyond the physical symptoms. In this article, we provide an overview of the effects of this life-threatening disease.
The body is affected by alcohol abuse in profound and far-reaching ways. Most commonly, alcoholics suffer liver damage to varying degrees. This may manifest in conditions such as jaundice, general fatigue and digestive problems. High doses of alcohol for prolonged periods of time can adversely affect the heart, putting individuals at risk of high blood pressure, heart attacks or strokes. In extreme cases, chronic alcohol users can suffer from thiamine deficiency which results in muscle weakness, blurry vision and long-term loss of appetite.
Alcohol abuse also affects the brain, particularly the neural centres that control one’s decision-making functions and memory. It is not uncommon for alcoholics who find recovery to be diagnosed with secondary mental illnesses such as neurotic anxiety and depression. In fact, what we know about alcohol abuse today, is that it can exacerbate an already existing, underlying mental condition. Extreme alcohol abusers may experience noticeable cognitive impairment that can cause long-term and irreparable damage.
Many alcoholics can relate to the transition from social drinking to drinking in isolation, as their disease progresses. Alcohol abusers may not want to share their liquor, may feel ashamed of their behaviour and may lose interest in social activities, particularly those which do not involve an element of drinking. In addition, it is marked by increasing and persistent levels of irritability. Abusers may become noticeably upset and uneasy when they are prevented from drinking or confronted about their problem. Without the act of satisfying their craving, alcohol abusers cannot function in a healthy way.
The spiritual effect of alcohol abuse is a topic that 12-step programmes cover extensively but one that is not often recognised by those who are not familiar with life in recovery. Many alcoholics describe their disease as feeling like a “hole in the soul,” or like something is fundamentally wrong with them or that they are unworthy of love. When coupled with low self-esteem and feelings of worthlessness, the spiritual effects are extensive and deeply troubling.
If you or a loved one is suffering from alcohol addiction or is abusing alcohol, know that help is readily available. Contact us for a free consultation and we’ll support you in your recovery journey.
If you or a loved one needs assistance with alcoholism – know that help is readily available. The road to recovery is not always an easy one but getting yourself or your loved one the best possible care from the team at Crossroads Recovery Centre, provides you with a map to sober, healthy living. No matter how bad things seem, there is hope and it’s only a phone call away. If you or anyone close to you needs help with an addiction to sex, gambling, substances, alcohol or food, please contact us for a free assessment.
American Addiction Centres
Stories of Recovery
Stories of Recovery
- The encouragement, love and support from the team at Crossroads allowed me to eventually see that I was worth something - that my life could be turned around and that I could accomplish the things that had long been a forgotten dream.Oliver VGRead more
- On the last day of my stint at Crossroads I could only express gratitude towards all who works there. A wise councillor once commented on my question when one is ready for rehab by explaining that when one is ready for rehab, rehab is ready for you.Johan BRead more
- I was lost and my soul was broken until I ended up at Crossroads and was introduced to the Twelve Steps. With the help of their excellent staff and amazing support I have recently been clean for 18 months, I could not have done it without them!Carla SRead more
- "Just for today I am more than three years in recovery. I have Cross Roads to thank for this wonderful gift. Cross Roads helped me to set a firm foundation in my recovery on which I can continue to build."Angelique JRead more