More than 80% of the adult population consumes alcohol at least occasionally. While drinking alcohol isn’t inherently a dangerous pastime, excessive consumption could cause a number of serious problems. Exploring the long term effects of alcohol showcases just how much damage this substance can do.
Alcohol Impacts Brain Function Permanently
Anyone who has consumed a drink or two knows that alcohol can cause short-term cognitive impairment. However, alcohol’s impact on the brain extends well beyond any hangover.
Alcohol consumption kills brain cells. When these brain cells die, they won’t be replaced. That’s why heavy or chronic drinking can permanently impact brain function as well as communication throughout the body.
Heavy Drinking Can Lead to Pancreatitis
When a person drinks alcohol, the pancreas releases a toxic substance. This causes inflammation. In small amounts, the damage might not be harmful. Over time, however, it can cause pancreatitis.
Pancreatitis, or inflammation of the pancreas, can inhibit digestion. That could make eating a challenge, which could lead to malnutrition.
The Long Term Effects of Alcohol Can Lead to Liver Damage
The liver is probably the organ most commonly connected to alcohol addiction and abuse. That’s because the liver helps metabolize alcohol. Causing the liver to work overtime can lead to a damaged liver.
Heavy drinking can cause cirrhosis of the liver, a fatty liver or even alcoholic hepatitis. In many cases, these conditions will need extensive medical treatment—maybe even a liver transplant, which can be a risky procedure.
Heavy Drinking Weakens the Immune System
Heavy alcohol consumption can weaken the immune system for a full 24 hours. This means that it can’t fight off illness like it normally would. Those who drink daily will constantly have a weak immune system. That is why many heavy drinkers are prone to conditions like tuberculosis, the flu or pneumonia.
The Risk of Alcohol Addiction is Serious
One of the most dangerous long term effects of alcohol is the risk of developing a dependence. Once a person develops an addiction, it’s tough to cut back or quit. Typically, patients will need detox, addiction treatment and continuing care in order to achieve and maintain sobriety.
Identifying the long term effects of alcohol shows just how dangerous this common substance can truly be. Take steps to conquering alcohol abuse or addiction for good. Call Ashley Addiction Treatment today at 866-313-6307 to learn how provide the recovery support needed for lifelong sobriety.