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Physical Effect of Alcohol Abuse

Physical Effect of Alcohol Abuse

Alcoholism is a very serious and life-threatening disease. In many cases, alcohol abuse starts slowly and then it escalates to the point where the individual has completely lost control of the problem. There are several serious health issues related to alcoholism. Because many of these conditions are life-threatening, it is important that the individual gets into a rehab program as quickly as possible.


Heavy drinking and depression go hand-in-hand. There are some people who are already depressed and they use alcohol to self-medicate. This won’t help the depression, it will only make it worse. There have also been several studies that have shown that alcoholism can cause depression. In one of the study, alcoholics with no past history of depression started showing signs of depression only after they started drinking. If left untreated, depression can result in suicide.


Anemia occurs when a person has a limited number red blood cells in their blood to carry oxygen. It can cause shortness of breath, lightheartedness, and extreme fatigue. If a person is a heavy drinker, they can become anemic.


If a person is a very heavy drinker, they can experience seizures. This is especially true if they go too long without having a drink. This is why it is dangerous for an alcoholic to quit drinking cold turkey. The only way for an alcoholic to safely beat their addiction is to seek professional help so that they can safely detox under a doctor’s care.


Alchohol abuse can put a person at great risk for a variety of types of cancer including cancer of the mouth, throat, voice box, esophagus, liver, breast, and colon. If the individual is also a smoker, the risk becomes even higher.

Cardiovascular Disease

Heavy drinking, especially binge drinking, can put a person at great risk of developing a heart attack or stroke. When a person drinks heavily, it can cause the platelets in the blood to clump together creating blood clots. This is extremely dangerous. According to a study published by Harvard Medical, if a person is an alcoholic or a binge drinker, their risk of dying after a heart attack doubles.

Another heart condition caused by alcoholism is a condition called cardiomyopathy. This is a condition where the heart muscle weakens, causing it to eventually fail and the heart will stop.
Finally, heavy drinking can cause atrial fibrillation. This is a condition where the upper chamber of the heart twitches rather than constricts. This can cause blood clots to develop, resulting in a stroke.

Cirrhosis of the Liver

One of the most well-known medical issues related to alcoholism is cirrhosis of the liver. Alcohol is toxic to the cells in the liver. Over time, the liver can become so scarred by the toxins in the alcohol that the liver won’t be able to function. If a person suffers from severe cirrhosis they would need a liver transplant. If a donor is not available, this condition is fatal.


As people get older, their brains begin to shrink. This is a normal part of aging. On average, the brain will shrink about 1.9 percent every 10 years. If a person is an alcoholic, their brain will shrink must faster. The shrinkage caused by alcoholism affects key parts of the brain which can result in memory loss and dementia.


Gout is caused when uric acid crystals form in the joints and it is very painful. Gout is often hereditary, however, dietary issues and alcoholism have also been linked to gout. If a person already has gout, heavy drinking can aggravate the condition.

High Blood Pressure

Alcoholism is directly linked to high blood pressure. This is especially true if the individual is a binge drinker. Over time, the person’s high blood pressure can become chronic. This can result in heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease.

Infectious Disease

Heavy drinking can suppress the immune system, making a person more susceptible to infections such as tuberculosis and pneumonia. Also, many alcoholics engage in risky sexual behavior which can result in HIV/AIDS and various other sexually transmitted infections.

Alcohol abuse can have a negative effect on a person’s physical health, their mental health, and their relationships with the people that they love. Because many of the medical conditions caused by alcoholism are life-threatening, it is important that the individual gets into a rehab treatment facility as quickly as possible.

There are many people who believe that they can quit drinking cold turkey. In most cases, these people are in denial. Also, as mentioned above, if a person is a very heavy drinker, trying to quit drinking without the guidance of a medical professional can be deadly. The only safe way for a person to quit drinking is to enter a treatment program. When they have successfully detoxed, they would need to enter a rehabilitation facility if they are going to remain sober. There are plenty of other issues that need to be addressed in order for an alcoholic to get the necessary treatment that they need to avoid a relapse.