Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a condition that is classified as a dependence on alcohol consumption to the point that it is detrimental to your health and relationships. Signs of alcoholism include the inability to stop drinking alcohol and lying about the extent of your consumption. If you engage in heavy alcohol abuse, there are many ways in which it can adversely affect your health and you may require addiction treatment at a rehab center.
Alcohol use can affect multiple parts of the body and take a serious toll on your health. Severe alcoholic symptoms can include depression, cancers of the breast, liver, colon and mouth, brain damage such as alcoholic dementia, and liver problems such as cirrhosis, alcoholic hepatitis and alcoholic fatty liver disease. These can occur because the effects of alcohol include the weakening of your immune system, which makes your body much more susceptible to the development of diseases.
The National Cancer Institute has found a strong link between the consumption of alcohol and the development of a variety of different cancers. This is because alcohol is considered a carcinogen (a substance that causes cancer), similar to tobacco and processed meat products. Their study concluded that the amount of alcohol consumed along with the frequency of use correlated to an increased risk of certain cancers. In fact, an estimated 3.5% of cancer deaths in the United States were alcohol related.
Alcohol causes brain issues because it interferes with the communication pathways. In short-term alcohol use, this leads to the loss of control that individuals feel when drunk. In longer-term situations, heavy alcohol use or binge drinking can damage or shrink brain cells, which may lead to changes in how the brain works. This includes stopping new brain cells from developing, lowering the level of serotonin in the brain which causes depression, and damaging nerves and blood vessels in the brain.
Other serious effects that alcohol use can have on the brain include brain damage such as dementia and Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome. This is a brain disorder also known as wet brain, and it is caused by a lack of vitamin B1. Many alcoholics lack vitamin B1 because alcohol affects how your body absorbs and uses the nutrient. Symptoms of this disorder include muscle and vision problems, confusion, and memory loss.
Liver problems occur from alcohol use because the liver breaks down most of the alcohol you consume so that it can be removed from the body, which leads to the creation of substances that are even more harmful than alcohol. These substances can damage liver cells and cause serious liver diseases. The most common liver disease attributed to alcohol consumption is fatty liver, which is a buildup of fat in the liver which stops the organ from working properly.
Other liver problems that can occur include inflammation of the liver, known as alcoholic hepatitis, and scarring of the liver, known as cirrhosis. The cirrhosis is caused by alcohol changing the chemicals that break down and remove scar tissue, meaning that this scar tissue is now building up in the liver and replaces normal healthy cells. This replacement causes the liver to not work properly, which can result in liver failure and even death.
In addition to these problems, alcohol use disorder can also lead to heart problems such as cardiomyopathy, irregular heartbeats, stroke and high blood pressure. Alcohol also causes the pancreas to produce toxic substances that may develop into pancreatitis, which is swelling and inflammation in the blood vessels that prevents proper digestion.
If you are suffering from alcohol dependence, it is only a matter of time before alcohol consumption results in negative effects on your body. However, it is never too late to begin the path towards recovery. Quitting drinking can help to repair damaged organs or prevent further damage from occurring. If you’re ready to take steps toward sobriety, you don’t have to go through it alone.
Receiving treatment at an alcohol rehab facility such as Fusion Recovery can help you maintain sobriety and get a new lease on life. At Fusion Recovery, our treatment programs offer support groups and counseling and behavioral therapies that can help improve your mental health and offer new coping mechanisms to fight against the root of your addiction.