As alcohol becomes more available and a significant aspect of our society, the opportunity to misuse and abuse it grows. When taken responsibly and in moderation, alcohol use is rarely an issue. Unfortunately, too many people don’t follow suit, and in the end, someone will get hurt. While short-term alcohol consumption can lead to reckless and dangerous behavior, the long-term effects of alcohol abuse can be even worse.
According to SAMHSA, roughly 140 million Americans consume alcohol each year, and about 40% of those individuals report binge drinking within the past month. Nearly 15 million Americans suffer from an alcohol use disorder, and it kills 4,700 teens and 10,511 drivers/passengers every year.
If not treated properly, alcohol abuse can create a world of pain for the individual and those close to them. Even for those that survive the addiction, there are a variety of long-term effects of alcohol abuse that will have to be addressed and maintained.
Like other drugs and harmful substances, the brain releases dopamine and other endorphins when someone drinks alcohol. These chemicals make us feel good, but behind the scenes, they are altering brain activity and chemistry – eventually creating cravings centered around alcohol.
To satisfy these cravings, the individual drinks alcohol again. The more they drink, the more their body grows dependent on it – at the same time, the body grows tolerant to it. Not only does the individual start drinking more often, but also in higher amounts.
This is what makes alcohol so addictive – once the brain gets it once, it’ll eventually want it again. And if the individual doesn’t satisfy what the brain wants, then there will be a variety of withdrawal symptoms that often result in relapse. It’s a vicious and heart-breaking cycle.
If not treated, alcohol abuse will gradually worsen, and the consequences will grow larger. The addiction will find a way to impact the individual in just about every facet of their life, but the impact won’t stop there – it’ll expand to the individual’s closest friends and family members.
While alcohol abuse long-term effects generally vary by person, let’s take a look at some of the most common long-term effects of alcohol abuse:
We can’t forget about the short-term effects of alcohol abuse, including expanded blood vessels, increased heart rate, impaired judgment, poor decision-making, dizziness, reckless behavior, slurred speech, slowed reaction time, clumsiness, and so much more.
It’s common for patients to try and hide their alcohol abuse from those they love and care about – usually because they know their loved ones would disapprove. Instead of facing their problems and getting the help they so desperately need, they choose to hide their continued alcohol use.
It’s important that friends and family members understand the many symptoms of long-term alcohol abuse, so let’s take a look at some of the most common:
Interjecting and confronting an addict about their alcohol use can be a stressful and delicate experience for everyone – in fact, it can go wrong if not done properly. There are countless professionals out there ready to help you and your loved ones overcome addiction.
Treating an alcohol addiction or alcohol abuse takes a whole-body approach – you must treat the body and mind, the soul and spirit. To achieve this, the individual will need a strong, reliable, and trustworthy support group to help them through the process.
The first step in recovery often requires a full-body detox, which removes all harmful substances from the body. During this process, healthcare professionals monitor the health of the patient and maintain their withdrawal symptoms with counseling, therapy, and medication.
After detox, individuals will continue therapy, counseling, and medication as needed – treatment will take place on an inpatient or outpatient basis. Once treatment is completed, the individual often enrolls in an alumni or aftercare program to further avoid a potential relapse.
Do you or a loved one have a history of alcohol abuse? Have the alcohol abuse’s long-term effects started to impact your ability to live a happy and healthy life? Are you ready to begin the recovery process in a safe and controlled environment? If so, then you came to the right place. At Prevail Recovery, we provide a variety of services designed to help individuals overcome addiction, substance abuse, and mental health issues. Our top-rated drug rehab in Fort Lauderdale offers the perfect setting to change your life for the better – contact us today to learn more about our South Florida treatment center!