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Drinking socially is so deeply ingrained in our culture that it becomes difficult to see the line between casual drinking and alcohol abuse. Alcoholism is rarely depicted as a problem when it’s shown in movies, or in TV shows. More often than not, it’s a source of comedy.
But there is one way to effectively determine whether or not someone is an alcoholic, and that is to see if they are experiencing any of its negative effects. Abusing alcohol and drinking too much has its consequences.
And if someone is clearly struggling with the adverse effects of alcohol use disorder, then they definitely need medical assistance. Recognizing the problem is always the first step towards recovery.
Here is what you need to know about the effects of alcohol addiction.
Alcoholism and the Brain
A person’s alcohol intake will impact their brain. Specifically, it will change the way their brain functions. For starters, excessive alcohol intake will impair the neurons’ ability to communicate with the rest of the body. This will hinder the ability to react to stimuli as needed, among other important functions.
Even when you are not drunk, chronic drinking will make your mind fuzzy, making it difficult to remember things or function properly.
This inability to make important decisions (and the inability to perform basic motor functions when intoxicated) can cause serious problems in certain situations where they are absolutely necessary. This is why you are not supposed to drink and drive. You are more likely to harm yourself and other people on the road because your brain is less responsive and less capable of performing properly.
Alcoholism and the Body
We all know that drinking too much is bad for the liver. But alcoholism also negatively impacts your heart, your pancreas, and your immune system. We can say that excessive drinking can slowly kill you from within.
Drinking too much can lead to overdose or an alcohol-related disorder. Heart problems are some of the most common effects of chronic alcohol abuse and alcoholism. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), the most common effects of alcoholism on the heart are high blood pressure, stroke, cardiomyopathy, and irregular heartbeat.
Alcoholism has also been linked to various forms of cancer like breast cancer, throat cancer, pancreatic cancer, mouth cancer, esophageal cancer, and liver cancer.
The person may also develop alcoholic hepatitis, liver inflammation, cirrhosis, and other potentially life-threatening conditions. Do keep in mind that alcohol is a toxin and it can create toxic substances in your body.
You will know that a person is alcoholic if they continuously crave for alcohol and if they easily give in to their compulsions. They will often feel distracted and agitated until they get it. Conversely, they will feel intense relief after a drink.
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It is estimated that about 18 million Americans are living with alcohol use disorder. There is no shame in seeking treatment. A combination of detox and behavioral therapy while following a personalized program can go a long way for a person who wants to get sober again.
Look for an addiction treatment center near you today!