Alcohol is a substance that many use to deal with the problems they face, such as depression, anxiety, financial instability, or troubled relationships. This is because alcohol known as a depressant. It provides a sedative effect that temporarily numbs whatever a person may be feeling. Nevertheless, these effects are also the reason why many individuals end up abusing alcohol. Alcohol abuse has been linked to more than sixty diseases, some of which may lead to death.
Here are some of the most common alcohol-related medical conditions:
Hepatitis and Other Liver Diseases
When a person drinks, the alcohol passes through the stomach and the small intestine to the liver. In the liver, alcohol is filtered and processed. If a person consumes too much alcohol, the liver is not able to do its job properly or effectively. As a result, excessive amounts of fatty acids collect in the liver, which may lead to alcoholic hepatitis.
Alcoholic hepatitis occurs when the liver must process significant amounts of alcohol for an extended period of time. As a result, the liver becomes damaged and loses the ability to work properly. Depending on the amount of damage, the liver could potentially shut down, causing yellowing of the eyes, internal bleeding, and swelling of the abdomen. A person may even slip into a coma.
After been diagnosed with alcoholic hepatitis, the person must stop drinking immediately before his or her liver shuts down completely. If the hepatitis is left untreated, the person could develop cirrhosis or even lose the liver entirely.
Alcohol and Brain Damage
Drinking too much may affect the brain in the short-term by slowing speech, reaction times, and memory. Depending on how much you drink, your age, how long you have been drinking, and your family medical history, excessive drinking may also cause irreversible brain damage and contribute to conditions such as hepatic encephalopathy or Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome (wet brain).
Interventions such as rehab, medication, and surgery may help your brain return to normal. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that your brain function will return to 100 percent, even after undergoing these treatments.
Did you know that alcohol poisoning is one of the most dangerous effects of misusing alcohol? It may occur when a person drinks an excessive amount of alcohol over a short duration of time. Alcohol poisoning may occur regardless of the individual’s tolerance to alcohol, age, or gender.
In alcohol poisoning, the level of alcohol in the blood rises to the point where a person has trouble functioning on a mental, physical, and emotional level. They person may experience:
- Bluish coloration of the face or pale skin
- Skin coldness
- Stupor (a person is conscious but not responsive)
Alcohol poisoning may be hard to distinguish from severe intoxication (drunkeness).
If you see any of these signs and you think that a person may have alcohol poisoning, do not try to self-treat the symptoms. Call 911 for emergency assistance.
When the symptoms of alcohol poisoning are left untreated, they may lead to a number of short-term and long-term side effects, such as:
- Hypothermia (low body temperature)
- Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
- Permanent brain damage
- Irregular breathing
- Abnormal heartbeat
People should NOT treat alcohol poisoning lightly. It is a serious condition that may produce deadly effects.
Treatment for Alcohol Addiction
Alcohol addiction can be treated like any other type of substance abuse problem. The steps are to acknowledge the addiction and research professional help.
Severe Bodily Injury
Drinking too much alcohol may increase your chance of bodily harm exponentially. It may affect your judgment, balance, and perception. It may also affect the time it takes you to react.
Slowed reaction times may make you more susceptible to accidents. It may also make you more likely to be involved in situations you would have otherwise avoided, such as bar fights, which can lead to more than just bruises, broken bones, and concussions.
Drunk driving is also another common way to incur bodily harm when drinking. Many people underestimate the effect of alcohol on the body. As a result, thousands of lives are lost on the road every year.
Find Help for Alcohol-Related Medical Conditions
Consuming excess alcohol may kill. It is important to drink responsibly, within your limits, and to understand the consequences that come with drinking and being under the influence.
You may save your life and the lives of others if you stop to think about what you are doing. Whether you are casually drinking, only do it on the weekends, or trying it for the first time, even a small amount of alcohol may lead to a condition related to alcohol.
After reading this, you hopefully have a better understanding of alcohol-related medical conditions, how alcohol may affect you, and what this substance may do to your body. If you or someone you know has an alcohol problem, seeking help is the best way to overcome it.
Contact Mountain Springs Recovery today of you or a loved one is in need of alcohol rehab. Finding help is simply a phone call away.
Mountain Springs Recovery strives to help people who are facing substance abuse, addiction, mental health disorders, or a combination of these conditions. It does this by providing compassionate care and evidence-based content that addresses health, treatment, and recovery.
Licensed medical professionals review material we publish on our site. The material is not a substitute for qualified medical diagnoses, treatment, or advice. It should not be used to replace the suggestions of your personal physician or other health care professionals.
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