Understanding Alcohol Abuse Problems
Before launching into the extensive laundry list of the problems caused by alcohol, knowing what an alcohol problem is and isn’t is critical in helping to identify when you, or a loved one, should seek professional help from an alcohol rehabilitation program.
Typically alcohol abuse and subsequent addiction stems from using alcohol as a means of escape from depression, stress, anxiety, and anger. Psychological alcohol dependence is established early on when used frequently and in increasing quantities- as tolerance can develop within the body relatively quickly.
Contrary to popular belief, one should seek help for alcohol abuse long before their habits turn into into full blown addiction, to avoid chronic alcoholism treatment– as alcohol causes permanent physical and mental damage if left unchecked. Binge drinking, or consuming many drinks within a short period of time, exacerbates the severity of these conditions. Withdrawal from binge drinking can be excruciating and may reach life-threatening levels. At Harbro Village, alcoholism treatment programs are individualize, with specific programs slated to address the early symptoms of alcoholism before the disease is at full force.
Knowing When You’re Drinking Too Much
Recognizing the signs of impending alcohol abuse and use disorders is critical to know before they manifest. As a rule of thumb, you should not exceed five drinks within the week, but there are many studies which differ in their interpretation as to what is considered healthy alcohol consumption. Women appear to be more susceptible to the adverse effects of alcohol, as they are typically unable to process alcohol as quickly as men due to differences in physique.
It’s unclear at this point if women are more affected by alcohol use disorders than men, but men develop the same mental and physical defects from alcohol at slower rates. The health problems from alcohol are universal, and should be continually monitored. Perpetual avoidance of addressing alcohol use disorders can be fatal and develop into the chronic condition, delirium tremens. Look for the following signs to help you identify potential health defects and conditions caused by alcohol consumption:
- Dependence on alcohol as a stress reliever
- Forgoing your typical activities to drink alcohol
- Drinking too much even when you have work in the morning
- Ignoring personal limits on drinking
- Poor sleeping routine
- Tolerance to alcohol; you can drink more than the average person
Mental Health Problems from Drinking Too Much Alcohol
Chronic alcohol abuse may cause permanent brain damage by shrinking the grey matter. Premature cell death is common among alcoholics, and those with untreated alcohol use disorders may lose about 10,000 brain cells prematurely as a direct effect of excessive alcohol consumption. Alcohol affects neurotransmitters in the brain which help regulate vital bodily functions and mood management.
- Development of anxiety disorders
- Memory Loss
- Inability to create new memories
Physical Problems Caused by Alcohol
Alcoholism may be the root source of myriad conditions. Beyond this, alcohol affects the entire body and can cause the dysfunction and shutdown of many vital organs. You may be surprised to learn alcohol causes a number of cancers which can be inoperable. It’s crucial to get help before the development of the following health conditions:
- Amenia, which can cause short breath, dizziness, and drowsiness
- Heart disease
- Delirium Tremens
- Development of diabetes
- Erectile dysfunction
- Alcoholic neuropathy
- High blood pressure
- Immune system becomes compromised
Alcohol Eye Problems
- Constriction of the pupil
- Paralysis of the eyes
- Adverse affects to one’s ability to distinguish objects based on light
- Uncontrolled twitching
- Chronic dryness
- Development of cataract
- Vitamin deficiency often leads to decreased vision
- Alcohol amblyopia, a painless condition which strips the eye of sight
Liver Problems from Alcohol Abuse
Cirrhosis causes irreversible damage to your liver and can be fatal. Chronic drinkers develop this condition by leaving alcohol use disorders untreated. Women are especially vulnerable to this liver condition.
Fibrosis: A condition in which scar tissue consumes the liver, making it unable to function properly.
Alcohol Hepatitis is the swelling and inflammation of the liver; cases left untreated often result in death. The condition may encourage jaundice, ascites, fatigue, and encephalopathy- which is a dysfunctional brain disease directly caused by liver damage from alcohol.
Alcohol Fatty Liver Disease: Build up of fat in the liver, inhibiting the organ from cleansing the blood
Abdominal Problems from Alcoholism
- Pancreatitis: inflammation of the pancreas, which causes acute abdominal pain- 60% of cases are directly derived from excessive alcohol consumption
- Stomach lining damage
- Small intestine damage
- Aggravates irritable bowel syndrome
Cancers Caused by Alcohol Abuse Disorders