The disease of alcoholism can wreak havoc on the human body and mind. There are short and long term effects of drinking too much, that can range from slurred speech to coma or death. Excessive drinking impacts your safety, too. Poor coordination and judgment can lead to:
- Car accidents and injury
- Risky sexual behaviors or being victimized by rape
- An increased likelihood of committing or being victimized by violent crime
- An elevated risk of attempted or completed suicide
If it doesn’t kill you over a heavy binge, alcoholism can be a slow, tortured existence with the endgame being death. The following are health and fatality risks associated with excessive alcohol use:
- Liver disease: Fatty liver, inflammation of the liver, and irreversible scarring of tissue known as cirrhosis.
- Digestive problems: Stomach and esophageal ulcers, inability to absorb vitamin B, and inflammation of the pancreas, known as pancreatitis.
- Heart problems: High blood pressure, increased risk of an enlarged heart, arrhythmia, and heart failure or stroke.
- Diabetes complications: Increased risk of low blood sugar, and when coupled with diabetes, can cause dangerous glucose levels.
- Sexual function and menstruation issues: Erectile dysfunction in men, and interrupted menstruation in women.
- Eye problems: Involuntary eye movement, eye muscle weakness and paralysis due to vitamin B-1 (thiamin) deficiency. Thiamin deficiency may also cause dementia.
- Neurological complications: Numbness in hands and feet, shuffled walking, short-term memory loss, and dementia.
- Birth defects: Drinking in pregnancy can cause fetal alcohol syndrome and miscarriage.
- Bone damage: Decreased production of new bone, leading to increased risk of fractures due to osteoporosis. Bone marrow damage, which can lead to bruising and bleeding risks.
- Increased risk of cancer: Long term alcohol abuse has a higher risk of mouth, throat, liver, colon, and breast cancer. Even moderate alcohol use can increase the risk of breast cancer.
- Weakened immune response: Alcohol suppresses the immune system, increasing the risk of illness and disease, particularly pneumonia.
- Serious injury: Falls and accidents are common health risks amongst heavy drinkers.
- Medication interactions: Alcohol can interact with certain medications, which can increase the toxicity and effects, leading to dangerous interactions.
Immediately stopping drinking cold turkey can be extremely dangerous, and fatal. Alcohol withdrawal can range from mild to life-threatening. It can cause delirium tremens (DTs), which can include: gran mal seizures, cardiac arrhythmias, hyperthermia, and other complications that if not medically treated, can end in death.
A medically-assisted detox can be life-saving for an alcoholic. Not only will it provide a safe environment, but also medications that will keep the individual comfortable throughout the entire process. Withdrawal can be a painful experience, but it isn’t necessary. Help is available. If you or a loved one are ready to begin a new life, there will never be a better time to start than today.