The long-term physical and mental effects of alcohol abuse
The Legal Killer
Alcohol is the most readily available drug to society, and as such has long been used and abused. If it were to be invented today the likelihood is that it would be banned and criminalized. According to Professor David Nutt, an English neuropsychopharmacologist specializing in the research of drugs that affect the brain and conditions such as addiction, ‘alcohol is more harmful than heroin or crack when the overall dangers to the individual and society are considered’.
Alcohol has been used as a social lubricant for millennia, but that’s not to say that it does not come with any detrimental effects. To abuse alcohol or any substance, means to reach a point at which all control is lost over the amount consumed. Even if the abuse begins to affect a person’s life in negative ways, denial will often enable a user to continue, blindsiding them to the chronic situation in which they now find themselves. In many cases, the physical effects are ignored until it is too late.
Physical effects – the harsh reality
Common long-term effects of alcohol abuse on the body include liver disease, nerve damage, erectile dysfunction, permanent brain damage, Vitamin B deficiency, ulcers, gastritis (inflammation of the stomach walls), malnutrition, cancer of the throat and mouth, high blood pressure, stroke, pancreatitis, breast cancer, cardiovascular disease and respiratory infections.
It is abundantly clear that alcohol can cause major problems physically if abused long-term. Large quantities over an extended period of time will inevitably take their toll. And once the damage is done, a full recovery, in most cases, may never be possible.
Consequences to mental health
In addition to the physical problems caused by alcohol abuse, long-term users may suffer from mental or psychological issues caused by the effects of alcohol on the mind. These can range from blackouts and memory lapses (whilst intoxicated) to feelings of depression and worthlessness.
It is widely known, that despite alcohols reputation for being the bringer of joy and the recognized ‘social lubricant’ of choice, that it is in fact a depressant. Depressants are a class of drug that inhibits the function of the central nervous system. According to Drinkaware, ‘regular drinking lowers your levels of serotonin – the brain chemical that helps to regulate your moods’. This can cause a vicious cycle in which someone may drink in the mistaken belief that it will medicate the depression caused by the abuse of alcohol itself.
Calculating the risks to one’s own health and well-being is problematic when in the throws of chronic addiction. It is often those who are closest to you that will first notice the devastating and detrimental effects that addiction is causing to the user’s life.
Our alcohol addiction treatment programme
The Wave Clinic provides treatment programmes that cater to every individual who seeks help in gaining and maintaining sobriety. As a leader in behavioural health, alcohol and drug addiction treatment for adults, as well as adolescents, trained professionals provide tailor-made 6-10 week plans for recovery.
Age specific programmes ensure that treatment is bespoke to the emotional needs of the individual. During the recovery process a range of steps are applied. Medical support is given to assist in withdrawal symptoms, while support is provided by means of an alcohol-free environment that is both structured and therapeutic. In addition, daily timetables are constructed in order to further assist each person in planning their day without the involvement of alcohol.
Intensive care whilst in the programme, as well as ongoing treatment following its duration are imperative factors in creating a life of sobriety. Family support is always encouraged along the journey where The Wave Clinic’s aftercare treatments are available for short- or long-term periods.