Physical Effects of Alcoholism

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Alcoholism is defined as the inability to control drinking due to both a physical and emotional dependency on alcohol. It is also called Alcohol Use Disorder. Unfortunately, this chronic disease is common. An estimated 15 million adults in America struggle with the disorder. 

The disease takes a toll on a person’s body both mentally and physically. Here, we’ll take a closer look at the physical effects of Alcoholism on the body.

Internal Physical Effects of Alcoholism

Not surprisingly, Alcoholism harms the body. Let’s start from the top down. The brain has many different communication paths, and alcohol can affect those. This can present by a change in mood, or impairing clear thinking and coordination. The heart is also impacted. Drinking over a long period or too much at once can lead to Cardiomyopathy, Arrhythmias, Stroke, and high blood pressure.

Perhaps the most talked about, the liver is compromised with Alcoholism. It can lead to a fatty liver (Steatosis), Alcoholic hepatitis, Fibrosis, or Cirrhosis. The Pancreas is in danger of developing pancreatitis when too much Alcohol is consumed. 

Even more sobering is that recent studies by the National Cancer Institute show that there is a strong correlation between Alcoholism and several types of cancer. These cancers include head and neck cancer, breast cancer, colorectal cancer, and liver cancer. 

External Physical Effects of Alcoholism

Although the effects of alcohol are more severe on the internal organs, outward effects are also prevalent. These can include:

  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Broken capillaries on the nose and face
  • Dry skin, hair loss, and brittle nails (often due to the dehydrating effects of alcohol)
  • The frequent smell of alcohol on the breath
  • Poor hygiene
  • Tremors or loss of balance
  • Weight loss/loss of appetite
  • Yellow eyes or skin (usually due to liver damage)

Treatment for Alcoholism

If you or a loved one is struggling with alcoholism, hope is not lost, and help is available. If you have questions or are ready to start your recovery journey, we’re here to help. Contact our skilled addiction and mental health professionals at Emerge Healing Center to learn more about our treatment and program options.

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