How Does Alcohol Affect the Body?

Alcohol abuse seems, at first glance, to be less harmful than other drugs. After all, it is legal and most people can indulge without major consequences. When alcohol use turns into alcoholism, however, the damaging effects it causes to the body can be tremendous. Alcohol can lead to immediate death from alcohol poisoning, but more often the effects are drawn out and painful over time.
Medical News Today explains, “Alcohol contributes to over 200 diseases and injury-related health conditions including dependence and addiction, liver cirrhosis, cancers, and unintentional injuries such as motor vehicle accidents, falls, burns, assaults, and drowning. Around 88,000 people in the U.S die from alcohol-related causes every year. This makes it the third leading preventable cause of death.” Alcoholism can lead to a variety of health concerns, including liver disease, pancreatitis, cardiomyopathy, stomach ulcers, cancer, immune system dysfunction, nerve damage, brain damage, osteoporosis, and mental health problems.
One of the most well-known symptoms of alcoholism is liver damage. Alcohol’s effect on the live can range from immediate to long-term Cindy Kuzma, in a 2017 Vice article entitled How Alcohol Affect the Liver, explains, “In some cases, the consequences are truly frightening: A single episode of serious bingeing can cause a condition called acute alcoholic hepatitis, an inflammation of the liver, says Hardeep Singh, a hepatologist with St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, California. Symptoms include abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting. (This is a very serious problem—about half the time, patients die within a month.)” In the long-term, fat begins to build up in the liver and interferes with necessary functions. This can lead to steatosis (fatty liver), alcoholic hepatitis, fibrosis, and cirrhosis.

Alcohol’s effects on the heart are just as damaging. According to Drink Aware, alcohol abuse can, overtime: “Increase the risk of high blood pressure. Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol causes raised blood pressure which is one of the most important risk factors for having a heart attack or a stroke. Increases in your blood pressure can also be caused by weight gain from excessive drinking,” and, “Heavy drinking weakens the heart muscle, which means the heart can’t pump blood as efficiently. It’s known as cardiomyopathy and can cause premature death, usually through heart failure. The heart may be enlarged.” Alcoholism is a progressive disease and, if left untreated, is almost always fatal.

Your story doesn’t have to be one of diminished health as a result of alcoholism. You can make the decision to seek help now and begin building a brighter future in sobriety. Oceanfront Recovery, located in beautiful Laguna Beach, offers a Detox program that is staffed with a compassionate team of care providers with the goal of making the process as comfortable and painless as possible. For information about Detox and other individualized treatment options, please call today: (877) 279-1777