Long-Term Effects of Alcohol Abuse

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The long-term effects of alcohol abuse can be life-altering, and even fatal. Alcohol is a substance that can affect all aspects of a person’s life, from physical and mental health to family relationships, friendships, and even careers. Those who struggle with alcohol often find it hard to see a way out of the cycle they have found themselves in. Knowing what the risks and effects of alcohol abuse are can help an individual decide to put it behind them, and live a healthier, happier life. 

Defining Alcohol Abuse

Those who find themselves struggling with alcohol don’t set out on a path to where they are. Often, drinking starts as a fun time with friends or a way to unwind after a long and stressful day at work. However, without warning, this can become a problem. Many people who struggle are unaware of the long-term effects of alcohol abuse. Alcohol abuse is a pattern of drinking leading to negative results. This can result in impacts to health, mental health, romantic and family relationships, jobs, and even problems with law enforcement as a result of drinking. Identifying and addressing drinking when it becomes a problem can help prevent irreparable impacts and damage to an individual’s life.

Long-Term Effects of Alcohol Abuse on the Body

The effects of alcohol on the body can be severe. Long-term effects of alcohol abuse can include dramatic weight loss or weight gain, weakened immune system, changes in sleep patterns, and liver disease. Liver disease can be fatal. It occurs due to the liver being unable to process the amount of alcohol introduced, and swelling occurring. As it continues to swell and the swelling goes down, scarring can occur. This can result in cirrhosis or permanent scarring. Getting medical care is crucial to preventing further damage.

Long-Term Effects of Alcohol Abuse on the Brain

The long-term effects of alcohol abuse also affect the brain. Alcohol abuse can change the chemical structure and functionality of the brain, resulting in memory loss, impaired cognition, and brain shrinkage. Other long-term effects of alcohol abuse on the brain include neurological conditions that contribute to seizure disorders, neuropathy, and dementia. Alcohol abuse disrupts the neurotransmitter pathways in the brain, resulting in mood changes and affecting decision-making.  

How Alcohol Abuse Affects Mental and Emotional Health

Due to the nature of alcohol abuse on the brain, mental and emotional health can be affected. The long-term effects of alcohol abuse on mental and emotional health can include the development of mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety. For those who have been diagnosed with the conditions, alcohol abuse can have a profound effect on the progression of these conditions. Alcohol is a depressant, so those who struggle with depression as a mental health condition often feel a worsening sense of self-worth and increased sadness as a result of consuming alcohol. 

Other Long-Term Effects of Alcohol Abuse

Physically and emotionally, alcohol abuse can take a huge toll on a person. However, the long-term effects of alcohol abuse extend beyond these aspects of a person’s life. Alcohol abuse can lead to the loss of jobs and chronic unemployment. This can result in financial hardship for the individual and their family. Drinking can also lead to engaging in risky behaviors like drinking and driving, which can result in arrest or injury. Relationships rarely go unscathed in the lives of individuals who struggle with alcohol abuse. The long-term effects of alcohol abuse can include the breakdown of the family unit, spouses having conflict or splitting up, and children suffering as a result. Friendships as well as other relationships can also be affected by drinking. Those who struggle with alcohol can get better, it all starts with removing the substance and beginning the healing process.


The first step to recovering from alcohol abuse and addiction is detoxification, or detox for short. Detox is the process in which the body rids itself of the substance. Detox is a necessary step, as without undergoing this process, the withdrawal symptoms when alcohol is not introduced can be intense, leading to drinking again. Professional detox settings allow the individual to go through this process while being medically monitored, and addressing withdrawal symptoms as they arise. This can make the process more comfortable, and in turn the process more successful. Recovery is possible, and it all starts with detox.

Overcoming Alcohol Abuse and Addiction

Alcohol abuse is something that affects thousands of people every day. Alcohol abuse is often a contributing factor in addiction to alcohol, and it can happen without warning. Those struggling with alcohol should know there is help available. If you or a loved one are struggling with alcohol, let us help you. At The Healing Center, we provide care for individuals who are looking to overcome alcohol abuse and addiction. Our team of professionals can help as you begin a journey of recovery. Call us today!