Have you ever seen a drunk family member at a family gathering and thought, how embarrassing? Personally, I think it would be hard to be in their shoes or the shoes of their spouse/significant other. Alcohol addiction can definitely have severe effects on so many levels, and it oftentimes leaves the addict feeling helpless. Interestingly enough, there seems to be a lot of similarities between all kinds of addicts whether they suffer from an addiction to sex, shopping, prescription medicines, or even smartphones and social media.The consequences and impact of those suffering from an addiction are not pretty at all.
I’m not trying to sound overly dramatic here, but as the formerly drunk cousin with an alcohol addiction, I believe that it’s something you should consider, and it’s a lot closer to home than you probably think. It can creep up into an outright addiction without you expecting it.
So, if any of the above is making you question your level of alcohol, drug use or time you spend on social media, maybe you should also question just how all this can affect your health.
1. Your Brain
Fact: Substance abuse damages the brain. Yes, real brain damage. If those two words aren’t enough to get you to completely reconsider your drug or alcohol use, and how you are currently living your life, I don’t know what will.The brain circuits that are affected by long-term use include those that control your:
- Pleasure / Rew
- Learning and Memory
The simple fact that your brain is not functioning as it should, can lead to real health problems in other areas of your body. Drinking that glass of wine isn’t looking like a good idea now, is it?
2. Mental Health Disorders
Addiction can also affect how you deal with others, especially the ones closest to you. Arguments, annoyance due to your close ones wanting to help, and violent behaviors are just a few of the consequential and underlying mental disorders that you can develop like:
- Sleep Disorders
- Uncontrollable Aggression
- Possible Psychosis
3. Other Illnesses
I doubt you would like to wake up at a stranger’s home after a long night of partying, not remembering what happened, or how you got there like I did. While this situation is very common among teenagers and younger adults, the impact is monumental and you could start to suffer from:
- Memory Impairment, such as Blackouts
- Actual Brain Shrinkage
- Hepatic Encephalopathy (caused by cirrhosis of the liver)
- Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome
4. Your Immune System
Continuous substance abuse, of either drugs or alcohol, will eventually weaken your immune system. This will increase your body’s vulnerability to infections leading to harmful series of diseases if your alcohol intake is not watched. It could also increase the symptoms of someone who is suffering from a detrimental illness such as breast cancer which is the most common form of cancer among women. Alcohol releases toxic chemicals that damage our DNA allowing for cancer to form. Alcohol increases the levels of a hormone called oestrogen which is linked to the development of breast cancer.
5. Your Fertility
Most women know that they are not supposed to drink while pregnant as it can have major consequences to how their body functions and elevate the likelihood of carrying the alcohol directly to the fetus. Not only is the expecting mother risking her health, but she is also risking the health and life of her baby. Women are also exposing themselves to the chance of becoming infertile if they don’t watch their drinking habits. So just to be safe, doctors recommend women to not drink alcohol at all while trying to get pregnant.
6. Your Liver
Everyone knows that alcoholics are at serious risk of cirrhosis of the liver, another potentially fatal condition in itself. However, all substance abusers are risking serious damage to their liver especially women. For the most part, women are usually smaller than men and this fact alone can have major effects on their bodies. Women tend to have higher body alcohol levels than men due to an increased percentage of body fat which equals a higher concentration of alcohol in the body.
7. Your Body
Long-term substance abuse can also create what is described as global body health problems. For example:
- Nutrition problems, due to changes in appetite
- Erratic body temperature, leading to numerous additional health problems
- Epilepsy, seizures, and cancer risk increased
Without a doubt, drug abuse and/or alcohol abuse seriously impacts your state of health, and can, if left alone, prove fatal in the end.
Are there any health conditions not mentioned above that you may have been affected by due to your use of alcohol? Is there something else that you would like to contribute to this discussion? If so, please leave a comment below.