Attention all alcohol lovers—alcohol is actually the most commonly abused substance according to Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Although you might be thinking that you are in complete control of your alcohol consumption, here are some facts regarding the devastating effects of alcohol that will get you to moderate your consumption. With determination and commitment, recovering from alcohol addiction is certainly possible.
Alcohol abuse has been directly linked to many health problems and causing direct harm to organs in humans’ bodies. The list of adverse effects of alcoholism is absolutely lengthy and would require days upon days to compile them all. Another commonly asked question is whether these adverse effects can be reversed upon quitting alcohol altogether, which we will discuss in detail below.
Brain Damage from Alcohol Reversible?
Continuous use and abuse of alcohol can cause damage to the neurons throughout the human brain and impede the brain mechanism’s proper function. In addition, the usual activity of the neural pathways of the brain will also be altered in most cases. Finally, the most devastating impact is the increased risk of developing neurological diseases and disorders including but not limited to seizures, stroke, brain cancer, and even dementia in the near future.
The good news is that yes—these damages to the brain can be reversed to a certain degree. Former alcoholics who abstain from alcohol for a good several months up to a year may undergo some correction from these changes in their brain area. For the best results, it is advised for former abusers to completely abstain from alcohol for a full year and the effects of abstinence from alcohol will continue to be maintained after five to seven years. It also goes without saying that having zero alcohol consumption also prevents any further damage from being done to your brain and the rest of your body. However, it is important to note that the impairment that took place is not totally remitted.
Depending on how long one has abused alcohol, the amount of alcohol consumed regularly, family history, and genetic factors, the physiological and functional impairment from alcohol abuse may vary. Other factors also include whether other drugs were also consumed together with alcohol and the individual’s lifestyle habits and health conditions.
Another adverse condition that alcohol abusers may get is Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. It is a health condition where the individual encounters issues with walking, uncontrolled and repetitive eye movements, and cognitive problems that include severe confusion and amnesia. With proper diet and nutrition supplementation, this condition can be treated if it is diagnosed early on.
Alcohol has also been shown in certain studies to be linked to several cardiovascular health problems, namely hypertension, high cholesterol levels, and heart attack.
Those with high blood pressure due to alcoholism or other factors can remedy their situation by cutting out alcohol for starters. Seek formal treatment and make lifestyle changes immediately and hypertension can be managed with ease.
High cholesterol levels are linked with chronic consumption and abuse of alcohol. Simply abstaining from alcohol in tandem with diet changes and proper medication can help remedy this health problem.
Alcohol abusers who consume alcohol in large quantities are at risk of suffering from a heart attack. The risk is much higher for those who also consume tobacco products. Although abstaining alcohol for a full year can reduce the risk of heart attack by a significant amount, the damage done to the cardiovascular system may not be fully reversed.
The rule of thumb for managing most and other cardiovascular issues lies in personal management together with abstinence, with the former being more important as the years pass by. Committing to a healthier lifestyle through taking care of your diet and getting enough exercise and rest can do wonders for your recovery.
The liver is the organ that takes the brunt of the damage that comes with the overconsumption of alcohol. Chronic abuse of alcohol can cause it to become overworked and form scar tissue. When the scar tissue develops too much, the liver may stop functioning properly, putting its owner in serious danger.
Abstaining alcohol early on before the liver becomes too damaged is one way to manage the damage done. However, unlike the other health issues as mentioned above, severe liver damage cannot be reversed. The only way to go about severe liver damage is to get a liver transplant, which is a costly and complex surgical procedure.
Alcohol abuse can exacerbate the development of gastritis, an inflammation that occurs in the gastrointestinal tract. If left untreated, abscesses and other more devastating damages may occur due to the excess in stomach acids.
Ulcers are not only uncomfortable, but they can also be life-threatening when allowed to go unchecked for a prolonged period of time. Fortunately, most gastritis and ulcer cases can be reversed through professional help and cutting out alcohol. However, there might be some remaining scar tissue even after recovery, which is truly a small price to pay.
Osteoporosis typically occurs when bones decrease in density and become prone to breaking, with women being more likely to develop it as they mature. Alcohol abuse prevents proper calcium metabolism and absorption from taking place, which can increase the incidence of osteoporosis development.
Similar to most other health issues, abstaining is the answer. It is recommended to pair abstinence with professional treatment before one’s osteoporosis worsens. Once osteoporosis reaches its severe stage, it will be hard to reverse it and managing will be the only course of action left.
Social and mental issues
Alcoholism can lead to various social and mental issues, and even worsen if individuals already suffer from varying degrees of such issues. These issues can bleed into different aspects of their life, such as their career and education, and can even prevent them from properly functioning in their daily obligations.
The damages that come with these issues can be loss reputation and at worse, relationships. While they may sound less severe than other life-threatening issues, they can be debilitating for the one undergoing it. With time and effort, some of these damages may be remedied to a certain degree.
In the worst-case scenario, a culmination of events may push one to consider taking their life and the loss of life cannot be reversed.
We recommend anyone experiencing these issues to seek professional help immediately and quit alcohol as soon as possible.
Alcohol abuse can cause many health issues that may be reversible if early intervention takes place. We seriously encourage anyone who is suffering from alcohol abuse to seek help from medical professionals, which will allow you to be back on the path to sobriety and recovery with the best treatment methods.