Alcohol addiction and binge drinking are often seen together but aren’t linked solely to each other. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, drinking too much alcohol can be found in individuals who don’t exhibit other signs of alcohol addiction yet are still more likely to develop lifelong medical conditions compared to their non-drinking peers. Studies also indicate that individuals who consume alcohol have a higher probability of developing mental health problems.
Long-term effects of alcohol substance abuse stem from the damage it does to the internal organs. Brain damage and heart and liver disease are some of the largest concerns when it comes to the negative effects of alcohol.
Starting With the Heart
Keeping the body regulated, the heart is one of humans’ strongest organs. Even with this strength, it’s no match for the effects of heavy drinking. Drinking alcoholic beverages has an instant impact on the brain, but heart damage takes time to develop into cardiovascular disease. When it does start, body parts lose access to nutrients and oxygen supplies, causing other organs to weaken.
Excessive alcohol use puts you at a higher risk of heart disease and infection, as it suppresses the immune system and opens the door for bacteria to prosper. High blood pressure, irregular heartbeat and even heart attacks are all common alcohol-related diseases. There’s no denying that drinking alcohol affects the body negatively from the very first drink.
Next, the Brain’s Communication Pathways
The state of being drunk is actually your brain being depressed by alcohol. When under the influence, the central nervous system struggles to retain its processing and decision-making power, with behavioral changes quickly becoming present. Memory loss and blacking out are telltale alcoholism signs of binge drinking and even alcohol addiction if they’re a frequent occurrence.
Excessive alcohol use will even weaken the connections within the central nervous system, making normal brain function more and more difficult to achieve even in a sober state. Long-term brain damage isn’t uncommon in those who’ve abused alcohol for many years.
Other Organs Damaged by Alcohol Use Disorder
Fatty liver due to alcohol addiction is the most well-known indication of alcohol’s effects on our body. What many don’t know is that a form of hepatitis, alcoholic hepatitis, can be contracted with heavy alcohol consumption. Unlike irreversible brain damage, liver cancer and fibrosis can be treated with medication and proper treatment programs.
The last primary organ at the mercy of excessive drinking is the pancreas. Responsible for regulating digestion, the pancreas is crucial to maintaining healthy blood sugar levels, and damage can lead to diabetes. Pancreatic cancer also lurks around the corner, spreading rapidly after a bout of pancreatitis.