Alcohol is widely available nowadays, and drinking alcohol is considered an acceptable pastime activity. Most people know the short-term effects of drinking alcohol like a hangover, lowered inhibitions, loss of coordination, and hallucinations.
Alcohol, however, has other more severe side effects that can change a person’s life forever. The well-known long side effects are liver damage, loss in appetite, and weight loss. There are many more long-term side effects of alcohol abuse that are unknown. Here are six alcohol side effects you may not know.
Long-term Side Effects of Alcohol
- Dependence on alcohol
Most people don’t realize they have alcohol dependence until it destroys their lives. Everyone knows that you can be addicted to alcohol, but very few know that addiction starts in small stages. You become addicted when you can’t skip a weekend without going on a drinking spree.
The beginning of alcohol dependency starts with going out every weekend and then partying starts on Friday, then Thursday, and soon you are drinking every day of the week. The moment you can’t enjoy your weekend without more than two glasses of wine is when you step on the path to becoming a full-blown addict. The rest is a matter of time.
- A Weak Immune System
Alcohol abuse over a long period weakens your natural immune system and opens you up to opportunity diseases like tuberculosis or pneumonia. A weak immune system can’t fight everyday germs or viruses, and you may find yourself getting sick more often. Frequent drinking increases your odds of developing some cancers, including liver, colon, and throat cancer.
- Increased Impulsivity and Restlessness
Alcohol abuse makes it harder to control your emotions, moods, and impulses to do things you wouldn’t do. It is common for heavy drinkers to get into trouble for taking things too far because they can’t control their impulses. A problem with impulse control impairs decision-making, and alcoholics often find themselves in tricky situations because they can’t control themselves.
- Nerve Damage and Poor Balance
Damage to the central nervous system is another side effect of alcohol abuse, and it can lead to poor coordination and affect balance. An example of alcohol’s impact on the nervous system is slurred speech. Over time, nerve damage can lead to loss of memories, the ability to control emotions, or the ability to make sound decisions.
- Digestive System Damage
Drinking can cause damage to the digestive tract over time which reduces the body’s ability to absorb nutrients and vitamins. Alcohol abuse effects on the digestive tract are not evident immediately, but the long-term effects can damage someone’s health severely. Severe damage to the digestive tract can cause bloating, diarrhea, and ulcers.
- Heart Disease and Damage
Heavy drinking stresses the circulatory system, leading to several heart-related diseases. Alcohol abuse can cause heart failure, heart attacks, irregular heartbeat, and heart disease. Over time, an alcoholic’s heart will have difficulty pumping blood through the body, which leads to other health complications.
Take Care of Yourself
Long-term side effects of alcohol abuse can be severe and sometimes lead to untimely death. Moreover, most health complications from alcohol abuse are expensive to treat, and some are incurable. The best decision that an alcoholic can make is to check into rehab and quit drinking for good.