Although many people think that alcohol is relatively harmless when it comes to damage caused to the body, in fact, this is a mistake. Alcohol can cause some serious damaging to the human body, not only in the short term but also in the long term as well. This is because abusing alcohol rewires the brain so that it reinforces addictive behavior and, in the long term, consuming excess alcohol has a disastrous effect on the internal organs. Despite the fact that alcohol can be freely purchased in stores and is perfectly legal, it causes more problems than many other illicit substances.
How Does Alcohol Effect the Internal Organs?
It has been shown that alcohol abuse can cause serious damage to the abdominal organs, as well as the heart. In fact, even a single binge drinking session can cause damage to these delicate organs, and, in particular, the heart. As is the case with most addictions, the longer alcohol abuse is allowed to continue, the more internal damage will be inflicted on the organs. Alcohol addiction strains the ability of the body to function properly, leaving alcoholics more likely to develop severe medical problems later in life. In many of those cases, the damage to the organs is either life-threatening or even fatal.
How Does Alcohol Affect the Heart?
The longer the period of time that alcohol abuse continues, the greater the risk of the individual suffering from heart failure or a stroke because of impairments caused by the performance of his or her organs. Alcohol abuse may stop the heart from beating in the correct rhythm, thus preventing it from processing oxygen and blood properly. Although an irregular heartbeat (otherwise known as atrial fibrillation) is quite a short-term problem if it is only brief, if there are repeated occurrences because of alcohol consumption, the risk of more severe symptoms developing is greatly increased. These symptoms include:
- An enlarged heart.
- Difficulty in breathing.
- Congestive heart failure.
- Fibrous damage to the heart.
How Does Alcohol Affect the Digestive System?
As soon as alcohol is consumed, it is passed down the esophagus and into the stomach where it is processed. Drinking too much alcohol can damage the esophagus, causing constrictions that make swallowing food very difficult. With time, this results in GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). And, this, in turn, can cause:
- Stomach acid to splash into the esophagus, causing the tissue to deteriorate and causing a burning sensation.
- Bleeding and tearing in the esophagus, which may require a blood transfusion and/or surgery.
- A higher chance of developing esophageal cancer because of inflammation in the stomach as a response to alcohol consumption. Chronic gastritis can cause stomach cancer and ulcers.
How Does Alcohol Affect the Liver?
The function of the liver in the body is to process toxins. When you consume alcohol, your liver is strained. It is the main site where alcohol is processed through the body. With time, liver diseases, such as cirrhosis, may become life-threatening, and consuming too much alcohol increases the chances of liver failure. The good news, however, is that the liver is capable of repairing itself. Therefore, the sooner the alcohol consumption is stopped, the better the chances are the liver will return to its healthy function.
How Does Alcohol Affect the Kidneys?
The kidneys are directly affected by excess alcohol consumption. This is because alcohol adjusts the balance between the nutrients and water inside the body and this hampers kidney function. If alcohol abuse is allowed to continue unchecked, the imbalance in the body may result in seizures or dangerous drops in blood sugar levels. Those who drink excessively for long periods also have dehydration symptoms because their kidney function is impaired or slow.
How Does Alcohol Affect Mental Health and Nutrition?
Drinking excessively has serious effects not only on the body but on the mind, too. The brain is also an organ, and mental health conditions often arise because of damage caused to the internal organs. When substance abuse continues, the decreased function of the organs pairs with poor nutrition and dehydration to put the individual at risk of limiting the ability of the brain to function.
Why Seek Help for Alcohol Abuse?
One of the most dangerous things about alcohol addiction is that it can progress extremely rapidly and has an effect on the whole body. Not only that but as alcohol is seen as socially acceptable, it is simple for alcoholics to carry on drinking even if they appear to live normal lives.
Young people are especially at risk of alcohol addiction because alcohol is so easy to get a hold of and because there is a lot of peer pressure from other teens to drink. However, this kind of lifestyle is unable to go on for extended periods since alcohol takes a serious toll on the body.
Seeking treatment as early as possible for alcohol addiction is essential to guard against significant damage to the body’s key organs. If the young person does not seek out professional help at an early stage, it becomes more difficult with every passing week and month to tackle the problem and to find a way out of substance abuse.