Physiological Changes in Alcohol Abuse
When it comes to all of the addictive substances available in the United States, alcohol is the one that is most commonly used. Statistics from the National Council of Alcoholism and Drug Dependence show that one in every 12 Americans suffer from alcohol abuse.
When someone is dealing with alcohol abuse, he or she is also dealing with the physiological changes in alcohol abuse. These can have devastating effects on different parts and functions of the body. Statistics show that 88,000 deaths a year are attributed to excessive alcohol abuse.
The effects alcohol can have on the body over time can impair everyday functions and impact vital organs. These include damage and functions involving the:
Let’s take a closer look at the physiological changes in alcohol abuse when it comes to these vital organs.
Changes in Alcohol Abuse & Your Liver
The liver helps to break down and remove harmful substances from the body. This includes alcohol. When someone abuses alcohol, the liver can become inflamed, leading to disease. This inflammation leads to scarring on the liver referred to as cirrhosis. This destroys the liver, making it more difficult for the body to rid itself of toxins. When toxins and waste build up in the body, the consequences can be life-threatening.
Changes in Alcohol Abuse & Your Pancreas
Alcohol abuse can also have damaging effects on the pancreas. The pancreas helps to regulate the body’s insulin levels and how it responds to glucose. When someone drinks too much alcohol, it can lead to an abnormal activation of digestive enzymes that the pancreas produces. This can cause an inflamed pancreas or a condition called pancreatitis.
When the pancreas isn’t working properly it can also prevent the body from making enough insulin to use sugar. This can cause extremes in blood sugar levels that range from levels either too high or too low. Either case harms the body and can lead to diabetes or other medical conditions.
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Changes in Alcohol Abuse & Your Brain
Excessive drinking and alcohol abuse impair a person’s judgment and reasoning. But, the effects on the brain go much deeper. Over time, excessive alcohol use can lead to frontal lobe damage in the brain. This is the part of the brain that controls emotions, short-term memory, and judgment, among other things. When there is chronic alcohol abuse, there is also the risk of permanent brain damage.
Change in Alcohol Abuse & Your Heart
Alcohol abuse also puts life-threatening pressure on the heart. When a person drinks too much they put themselves at greater risk for:
- High-Blood Pressure
- Irregular Heartbeats
- Cardiomyopathy (stretching & drooping of the heart muscle)
Long-term alcohol abuse weakens and thins the heart muscle. This prohibits the body from pumping blood effectively, leading to the problems mentioned above which can be life-threatening.
Other Physiological Changes in Alcohol Abuse
Besides the impact alcohol can have on the organs, it can also lead to other health issues because excessive drinking lowers the immune system. This impacts your body’s ability to fight off disease and makes it more susceptible to illnesses like tuberculosis and pneumonia. Drinking excessively even just one time slows your body’s ability to fight disease, even 24 hours after being intoxicated.
The effects of alcohol abuse can also be seen in reproductive health. Alcohol abuse in men can lead to erectile dysfunction and a lowered libido. Women may experience irregular menstruation cycles or may stop menstruating altogether, leading to fertility problems.
Alcohol abuse can also increase the risk of developing certain types of cancers like:
- Breast cancer
- Liver cancer
- Oral cancer
- Throat cancer
It can also take its toll on bones in the body, making bones even more fragile and at greater risk for fractures in the event of a fall. Muscle weakness, cramping, and even muscle atrophy can occur with long-term excessive drinking.
Seeking Help from Arizona Alcohol Treatment
For those who may be abusing alcohol, realizing the need for help may be most difficult. Desert Cove Recovery, Arizona alcohol treatment facility, is here with a variety of treatment programs. For more information, contact us and one of our highly trained staff members will contact you. Let us help you get on the path to recovery and better overall health.