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What are the long-term effects of alcohol addiction?

Alcohol is a powerful chemical that can have wide-spread negative effects on virtually every part of your body following sustained abuse. We all know the short-term effects of binge drinking but what are the long-term effects of alcohol for someone with an addiction?

Of course, we’re all familiar with the short-term inconvenience of a sore head, nausea and perhaps a hint of embarrassment after a heavy night of drinking. But when a few social drinks escalate towards the telltale signs of alcoholism, what sort of trauma can alcohol wage on the body over the long-term?

Long term effects of ethanolSource for image: wikipedia

“Drinking hazardous amounts of alcohol for many years will take its toll on many of the body’s organs and may cause organ damage,” NHS Choices forecasts bleakly. “Organs known to be damaged by long-term alcohol misuse include the brain and nervous system, heart, liver and pancreas.

“Heavy drinking can also increase your blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels, both of which are major risk factors for heart attacks and strokes. Long-term alcohol misuse can weaken your immune system, making you more vulnerable to serious infections. It can also weaken your bones, placing you at greater risk of fracturing or breaking them,” they add.

Am I an alcoholic?

Long-Term effects of alcohol

Some of the signs of alcoholism to be aware of include:

  • Reliance on alcohol to relax, fall asleep, or to socialise.
  • Uncharacteristic behaviours whilst intoxicated.
  • Regularly drinking to excess.
  • Vomiting and shaking.
  • Blaming others for problems and drinking.
  • Hiding alcohol around the house.
  • Failing to keep promises and appointments.
  • Isolation or going missing for days.
  • Frequently swearing off alcohol.
  • Not accepting responsibility for behaviours.
  • Regularly smelling of alcohol or trying to mask the smell.

Get the right help, at the right time

Put simply, if drinking causes you problems, then it is time to look into how to quit. When the negatives outweigh the positives, it could be time to re-evaluate your relationship with the bottle. Seeking help at the earliest juncture increases the likelihood of avoiding, or decreasing, the potentially chronic effects of alcohol described above.

If you, or someone you know, is physically dependent on alcohol do not attempt to stop or detox without consulting a medical practitioner or an addiction specialist first – serious alcohol withdrawal symptoms can result in death. Help is at hand, however, because Port of Call’s specialist advisers can offer a range of treatment options and guide you to the right help at the right time.

Make us your first Port of Call. If you, or a loved one, are dealing with addiction we can help you to access the right drug rehab or alcohol treatment centre. Take the first step today by speaking to one of our advisers for free on 08000029010.

About the author: Alex Molyneux

Alex is our admissions team leader. Over the last 5 years he has spoken with more than 10,000 people via our helpline and has organised over 1,000 detox and rehabilitation placements.

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