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Alcohol abuse leads to many unwanted consequences and is not simply a precursor to struggling with alcohol use disorder (AUD). This type of substance use disorder (SUD) is a diagnosable, chronic disease characterized by compulsive alcohol use, loss of control over alcohol consumption, and adverse health effects resulting from drinking.
For many people who struggle with alcohol abuse, however, the road to AUD is not always clear. Some may drink heavily for years without developing any alcohol dependence. Others may develop AUD after only a few months of excessive drinking. However, AUD is a progressive disease, meaning that it typically gets worse over time. Alter Health Group offers some of the best substance abuse treatment programs, including ones for people struggling with AUD.
Why Should You Care About the Long-Term Effects of Alcohol Abuse?
The long-term effects of alcohol abuse can lead to severe and unwanted health problems, including:
- Liver disease
- Heart disease
- Brain damage
- Memory problems
Alcohol abuse can also worsen mental health problems like anxiety and depression. Drinking too much alcohol can quickly lead to AUD, which can also have life-threatening symptoms. However, addiction treatment makes it possible to recover from AUD and leave alcohol abuse behind. If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol abuse, it’s essential to seek help from a rehab center offering a substance abuse treatment program that fits your needs as soon as possible.
What Is the Connection Between Drinking Alcohol and Physical Health?
Unwanted physical health consequences brought upon by AUD are also effects that are often the result of chronic alcohol abuse, meaning that they develop after years of excessive drinking. However, some physical health effects can occur after only a few months of heavy drinking.
One of the most dangerous long-term effects of alcohol abuse is liver disease. Alcohol is a toxin that can damage the liver, and chronic alcohol abuse is one of the leading causes of liver disease in the United States. The liver is responsible for filtering toxins out of the body, and when it’s damaged by alcohol, these toxins can build up and cause serious health problems.
Cirrhosis is the most common type of liver disease caused by alcohol abuse and is characterized by the liver’s scarring. This scarring can lead to liver failure, which is fatal if not treated.
Liver cancer is another serious long-term effect of alcohol abuse, and it’s also one of the leading causes of cancer deaths in the United States.
Cardiovascular issues are common long-term effects of alcohol abuse. Drinking too much alcohol can damage the heart muscle, leading to problems like cardiomyopathy, arrhythmias, and stroke. Alcohol abuse is also a significant risk factor for high blood pressure, damaging the heart and leading to heart disease.
Drinking too much alcohol can damage the brain, leading to problems like memory loss, dementia, and cognitive impairment. Alcohol abuse is also a major risk factor for developing Alzheimer’s disease.
What Is the Connection Between Drinking Alcohol and Mental Health?
Anxiety and depression are two common mental health problems that can be worsened by alcohol abuse. Drinking too much alcohol can make anxiety and depression symptoms worse, and it can also lead to the development of new mental health problems.
Alcohol abuse is also a significant risk factor for developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This anxiety-related issue is a mental health disorder that can develop after a person experiences or witnesses a traumatic event. People who struggle with PTSD often have flashbacks, nightmares, and anxiety.
Substance abuse treatment programs can help people struggling with AUD and any co-occurring mental health problems. These programs provide evidence-based care to help people recover from alcohol abuse and improve their mental health.
Ready to Learn More About Alter Health Group’s Substance Abuse Treatment Programs?
If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol abuse, don’t wait to seek help. Alcohol abuse is a severe problem that can lead to life-threatening physical and mental health problems. SUD treatment programs can help you recover from alcohol abuse and improve your overall health.
Alter Health Group offers evidence-based substance abuse treatment programs. Our programs are designed to meet your unique needs, and we offer various treatment options, including inpatient and outpatient treatment. Contact us today to learn more about our substance abuse treatment programs and how we can help you recover from alcohol addiction.