Long Term Effects of Alcohol & the Need for Treatment
For many people, the affairs of everyday life offer more than a few occasions for drinking:
- After a hard day’s work
- Dinner parties
- Work functions
Considering how alcohol use has become an accepted indulgence within American society, it’s no wonder so many fall prey to the damaging effects of drinking. For some people, these effects can extend well past the occasional morning hangover episodes.
For frequent and/or heavy drinkers, the long term effects of alcohol can have far-reaching consequences that ultimately impair a person’s health and psychological well-being. The need for treatment help becomes increasingly apparent once the long-term effects of alcohol make it difficult to manage everyday life affairs.
While not everyone will succumb to the damaging effects of alcohol, there’s a certain point where casual drinking can turn into alcohol abuse practices. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism, signs of alcohol abuse take the following forms:
- Persistent cravings for alcohol
- Drinking larger amounts over time
- Physical dependency
- Loss of control over amounts consumed
In the case of frequent and heavy drinkers, the long-term effects of alcohol result from the ongoing deterioration of brain structures and overall brain function. As deterioration progresses, the brain requires increasingly larger amounts of alcohol to function normal. In effect, alcohol’s effects in the brain create a self-perpetuating cycle of abuse.
According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, the long-term effects of alcohol abuse can bring on any number of health problems as physical dependency and eventual addiction set in. Heavy drinkers tend to lose their appetite for food over time, which creates a state of malnutrition in the body. This condition coupled with alcohol’s damaging effects leaves drinkers wide open for the damaging long-term effects of alcohol.
While each person’s physical make-up differs, long-term effects of alcohol can take the form of:
- Blood pressure conditions
- Heart disease
- Elevated risk of heart attacks and strokes
Much like the body’s physical dependency on alcohol, the brain develops a growing dependency as well. Not surprisingly, the long-term effects of alcohol on the brain all but diminish a person’s mental health leaving many a drinker with any number of psychological disorders.
According to the Medical University of South Carolina, one out of every three heavy drinkers suffers from depression and/or anxiety disorders. Under these conditions, a person will likely use alcohol to self-medicate psychological symptoms just like he or she uses it to self-medicate withdrawal effects.
The Need for Treatment
Once a person starts exhibiting signs of alcohol abuse, some form of treatment is needed to stop the cycle of abuse and addiction. As alcohol addictions tend to evolve in stages, getting needed treatment help before the long-term effects of alcohol start to surface greatly improves a person’s chances at a successful recovery.
By the time addiction sets in, a person has developed a psychological dependency on top of the body’s physical cravings. At this point, needed treatment interventions will require a long recovery process in order to overcome the effects of alcohol in a person’s life.