In our previous post, we looked at the short term effects of alcohol abuse. In this piece, we will look at the long term effects of alcohol abuse.
When a person who abuses alcohol goes on without seeking some form of rehab, the short term effects often get compounded and increase in terms of severity. Their problems will end up becoming social, physiological and psychological in nature.
Here are 5 of the main long term effects of alcohol abuse.
- Liver damage: Regular and excessive alcohol consumption will ultimately result in liver damage because of too much strain placed on the liver as it tries to metabolize the alcohol without an opportunity to repair itself. Often, liver damage will begin with an inflammation which will transform into a permanent scarring in the liver commonly referred to as liver cirrhosis. If the problem goes untreated, the damage on the liver will be irreversible and will lead to death.
- Brain damage:Since alcohol directly goes into a person’s blood stream, it basically means that it will usually make its way into all the person’s body cells including their brain cells. Exposing the brain cells to such levels of alcohol frequently will eventually cause them to deteriorate thus affecting the brain and the nervous system. This will soon be followed up with a number mental health complications, such as dementia, depressive disorders and cognitive decline.
- Financial problems:As we have established, excessive alcohol consumption will negatively affect a person’s decision making and this extends to their finances. Many alcoholics tend to make poor financial choices as they attempt to try to sustain their highalcohol consumption habits.
- Ruined relationships:Another effect of poor decision making is ruined relationships which often happens in the long run. Alcohol addicts get to a point that they alienate all their friends and family as a result of the poor decisions they make that compromise these relationships. To them, their alcohol comes first and everyone else is damned.
- Death:The sad part about alcohol abuse is that it will eventually result in the death of the abuser, someone close to the abuser or even a complete stranger who just happened to be in the vicinity of the abuser. It may result from a moment of poor decision making by the abuser or a health complication that the abuser experiences.
It is vital for both alcohol consumers as well as their loved ones to be observant and ensure that they take every possible rehab measure available to ensure that these eventualities are avoided.
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Most alcohol consumers may be familiar with the term “hangover”. What they may not know is that a hangover is basically an aggregate of all the effects a person experiences after consuming too much alcohol. The severity of a person’s hangover will often depend on a number of things such as the quantity of alcohol they consumed, their body’s hydration level during the time they were drinking and their health status.
Here, we look at the 6 main short-term effects of alcohol abuse.
1.Blackouts: Too much alcohol in your system has the tendency to cause some form of temporary amnesia referred to as a blackout. When this happens, you will not be able to recall most or all of the events that took place while you were drinking.
2.Alcohol poisoning: When you consume too much alcohol within a significantly short period of time, it often results in what is called alcohol poisoning. Your body will not be able to metabolize the high alcohol quantity therefore causing most of your body functions to become depressed. In some cases, this has led to a person falling into a coma or death.
- Insomnia: In as much as alcohol can be a good depressant,excessive consumption of it may end up having the opposite effect. It may end up causing sleep deprivation and insomnia to the person doing the heavy drinking.
- Ataxia:This is a neurological problem that presents itself through a lack of voluntary muscle coordination. Alcohol is known to have a negative effect on the cerebellum, which is the part of the brain responsible for coordinating all body movements.
- Legal troubles:Excessive alcohol consumption often affects good judgment which results in poor decision making by the person drinking. This often results in legal troubles such as drunk driving, assault and many more.
- Relationship problems:With poor decision making, a drunk person will often engage in actions that ruin their relationships with people close to them. One such problem is engaging in drunken sex with a person who is not your spouse.
Most of these effects may seem small at the beginning but as your alcohol problem continues to become severe, these effects also grow in their severity. It is therefore advisable to seek rehab services the moment you notice these things increasing in frequency.
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As we have established, if you regularly find yourself drinking to a point that your level of intoxication impairs your safety and decisionmaking, then you may have or may be developing a drinking problem.
It is considered alcohol abuse when a person develops a habit of drinking increasingly larger amounts of alcohol on a regular basis. However, when this person then ends up developing a physical as well as psychological dependence on the alcohol then they are referred to as an alcoholic and in serious need of rehab.
Here are 5 types of alcoholics that you should be aware of.
#1 The young adult alcoholic
In America, it has been estimated that about 32 percent of all the alcoholics fall in the category of young adult alcoholics. They generally average the age of 24 years and are believed to have started heavy drinking by the time they were 20 years of age. The unfortunate bit about this category of alcoholics is that they may never seek for help because they don’t see their drinking as a problem rather a fun life choice.
#2 The young antisocial alcoholic
This category of alcoholics generally average 26 years of age and are believed to have started experiencing alcoholism from as early as 18 years of age. It is worth noting that at least 50 per cent of the people here will be diagnosed with some form of antisocial personality disorder. It may become much harder to identify and treat such a person because of their antisocial personality.
#3 The functional alcoholic
By the time a person gets to this stage, it means that they have somehow managed to avoid treatment for years.These are mainly people who are middle aged, educated, employed, and even in stable relationships. These people have been able to fool everyone around them including family and employers.
#4 The intermediate familial alcoholic
This category is a bit unique in that there is a very high likelihood that their alcoholism is as a result of genetics. It is highly likely that a significant number of their family members are struggling or also struggled with alcoholism.
#5 The chronic alcoholic
This is a very rare type of alcoholism that only affects about 9 percent of alcoholics who have gone untreated for years.
It is vital therefore to be able to identifythese different categories of alcoholics as this knowledge will help guide the type of rehab measure to prescribe to them. Most rehab programs are custom tailored to increase the level of their success.
We would love to hear from you, if you have been affected by any of these forms of alcoholism or whether someone close to you has been a victim.
Alcohol is no doubt a major part of our culture therefore it may not always be easy to realize when a person’s drinking habits have actually turned into a serious drinking problem.
In most cases, you will always know if your loved one loves to drink. They are always the first ones to open that bottle of beer or pour themselves a glass of scotch or wine. However, loving to drink and having an alcohol problem are not the same thing.
Here are 4ways to tell if your loved one’s drinking has turned into an alcohol problem.
#1 When they start lying about their drinking
The moment you realize that your loved one has started hiding their drinking including hiding alcohol bottles in various locations in the house, then this is a sign that there is a problem. Generally, anyone who consumes alcohol in a normal way will keep his/her stockpile in the open such as in a liquor cabinet, the fridge or in the pantry. They do not feel the need to keep their alcohol hidden.
#2 When they start experiencing extreme mood swings
Most people take alcohol because in the right quantity, it is an antidepressant. However, excess alcohol consumption can easily disrupt the drinker’s mental as well as physical health. The reaction is different from person to person but a common effect has been making the drinker irritable, angry and even violent. This mainly happens soon after the feeling of relaxation has started to fade. Always be on the lookout for such mood swings as they indicate signs of an alcohol problem.
#3 When they start experiencing alcohol-related health problems
Alcohol is toxic especially when taken in large quantities. It causes a lot of strain and eventual damage on the liver as it struggles to process it. Generally, when a person is an occasional drinker, their liver will always afford some time to recuperate. However, for a person who binge drinks on an almost daily basis will not give their liver a chance to rest and recuperate therefore eventually damaging this vital body organ. This then opens the body up to other health problems such as compromised immunity, liver failure, heart disease and even some forms of cancer.
#4 When they start experiencing problems at work or at school
The first sign of an alcohol problem is when it starts interfering with a person’s professional or academic life. It is impossible to continue being effective at work or at school when you are drunk most of the time or nursing a hangover most of the time. The moment your loved one starts getting into frequent trouble at work or school due to lateness, poor performance, or frequent disciplinary issues, then there is a problem.
There are many more signs to look out for but these are the main ones that you can be able to quickly spot. If you at some point suspect that your loved one is experiencing such problems, make concerted efforts to refer them to a rehab facility.
We would love to hear from you, please share with us some of your experiences dealing with a loved one with a drinking problem.
Alcohol poisoning often occurs when a person consumes too much alcohol within a very short period of time. During this period, this high level of alcohol in the body’s system is believed to be toxic and can even result in death if it goes untreated.
Unlike other drugs that are normally abused, alcohol is more dangerous owing to the fact that it will continue to build up in a person’s blood long after the person has stopped drinking. This is because, when in the body, alcohol usually goes through the same digestion process as other beverages, meaning it goes through metabolism in the liver before being absorbed into the person’s blood stream. At this point is when the person will start feeling the effects of the alcohol. In a nutshell, by the time you decide that you have had one too many, it is too late.
These are the symptoms you need to be wary of as theywill let you know if you are suffering from alcohol poisoning.
Experiencing a blackout:When a person experiences an alcohol induced blackout, they tend tobe fully conscious, and may keep on drinking but come the next day, they will not have a recollection of whatever transpired during this time. What most alcohol consumers do not know is that such conditions may be life threatening and a telltale sign of alcohol poisoning.
Experiencing hypothermia: An obvious sign of suffering from alcohol poisoning is hypothermia. A person’s body temperature will drop dangerously low as the excess alcohol in the body disrupts the body’s normal functioning.
Experiencing slowed breathing:Too much alcohol in the blood stream affects the body’s ability to receive oxygen. This will result in slowed breathing which could fall to below eight breaths a minute.
Vomiting: This is the body’s reflex action when it seeks to expel a foreign substance that it deems dangerous. It is therefore common for a person to vomit when they have drank too much alcohol as the body tries to reject it. This is another obvious sign of alcohol poisoning.
The moment you start noticing these signs, it is time to request for emergency medical services. Be sure to follow this up with rehab.
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Most people will not recognize the signs associated with alcohol use disorder until it is probably too late. This is mainly because they tend to be mild at the beginning therefore they do not register as trouble signs.
Alcohol use disorder is basically the act of consuming too much alcohol on a regular basis to an extent that it causes you distress or harm. Paying attention to these trouble signs that are associated with alcohol abuse will enable you be able to spot them early thus enabling you to take the necessary action.
Here are the symptoms to look out for.
- When you realize that you are beginning to drink more or longer than you had actually intended.
- When you deliberately try to reduce or stop drinking but you realize that you cannot.
- When you realize that you are getting more and more into trouble situations while drunk.
- When you notice that you have to drink more than you did before in order to get high.
- When you realize that despite drinking causing you to feel depressed, anxious or even sick, you still continue to drink.
- When you realize that you spend so much of your time drinking or nursing hangovers.
- When you realize that despite your drinking getting you into trouble with your family and/or friends, you still continue to do it.
- When you realize that you are becoming unproductive at your job or you cannot take care of your family matters because you are mostly drunk or nursing a hangover.
- When you realize that you have stopped or cut back on activities you once considered to be important or interesting.
- When you notice that you are getting more and more into legal problems as a result of your drinking habits.
- When you realize that once the alcohol is out of your system, you started experiencing withdrawal symptoms like restlessness, trembling and insomnia amongst others.
The moment you start noticing these symptoms and you have trouble beating them on your own, make an effort to seek help or check yourself in at a rehab facility.
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