Consequences of alcoholism

What physical problems does alcoholism bring?

Without going into such a terrible situation as “Delirium tremens“, alcoholism can cause a variety of diseases or disorders in the body. Among them we can mention the following:

liver with cirrhosis

Liver with cirrhosis because of alcohol. By courtesy of ©

  • Liver damage: The liver is one of the organs most affected by the constant consumption of alcohol, since it is responsible to clean the toxins from the blood. The liver may be affected after many years of drinking and an alcoholic liver disease may appear; its damages can range from inflammation to a much more serious disease called cirrhosis.Liver cells die and are instead replaced by fibrous cells that do not exercise the relevant function, so it does not function well. The mandatory solution is to abandon alcohol and treat the patient, so the healthy cells can continue working normally. Alcohol, along with hepatitis B, are the main problems which cause severe damage to the liver.
  • Pancreas damage: Primary inflammation of the pancreas, in addition to gallbladder problems, and kidney, are produced by alcohol.
  • Hypertension: Alcohol increases blood pressure. A continuous alcohol consumption can lead to problems of hypertension. Many doctors believe that a little alcohol helps improve circulation and prevents heart disease, but alcoholism is detrimental to the body and damages it.
  • Depression: Alcoholics are isolated from the social environment and become more lonely. They often drink alone to avoid reprimands of others. Little by little, they develop a more depressing character. Suicide is quite common among alcoholics.
  • Digestive problems: Alcohol is one of the major irritants of the digestive system. By attacking the gastrointestinal mucosa and that stimulates the production of acids, can cause major disorders such as heartburn, vomiting and bleeding ulcers sometimes.
  • Increase of digestive cancers: The alcohol attacks the gastrointestinal mucosa and it predisposes to a higher risk of cancers in the mouth, esophagus, stomach or colon.
  • Sexual problems: Alcohol is not a good friend of sex. Alcoholism tends to produce erection problems in men who can not maintain adequate sexual relations and promotes the loss of menstruation in women.
  • Damage to the fetus: alcoholic women are at risk of fetal alcohol syndrome, characterized by poor development of the fetus; the newborn shows behavioral and mental capacity problems. This syndrome is one of the causes of mental deficiency.
  • Damage to the nervous system: Alcohol causes irreparable damage to the central and peripheral nervous system, which are manifested as tremors, lack of coordination or memory problems.
  • Problems with food: alcohol abuse reduces the absorption of many vitamins and minerals, so that the body suffers, weakens and has a much easier to get infections or diseases. Thus, it is very common among alcoholics the presence of low levels of iron in the blood (megaloplastic anemia) or increased bone fragility and osteoporosis. They also tend to have low levels of blood sugar.

Psychological and social problems of alcoholism

Drunken man sleeping under a tree

Drawing of a drunk man, sleeping under a tree. By courtesy of ©

Mentally, alcoholics really suffer the consequences of alcohol. Dementia, anxiety and episodes of psychosis may appear, with irrational judgments about reality, obsession with the possibility of delusions and hallucinations.

They tend to become lonely people who do not like others repressing their behavior. They become more and more isolated and enter a phase of permanent depression. Often, the only solution they see is suicide.

They don’t trust people, often because they do not remember what they did, what they said or others did.

Social consequences of alcoholism

In addition to causing many physical and mental damage in the alcoholic, alcoholism is a problem of social type. The alcoholic is a person who does not perform well at work so he or she loses it and becomes part of the large group of the anonymous alcoholic homeless, who are also unemployed.

He or she is especially rejected by others for being annoying and careless about personal grooming and hygiene and showing no consistent and reasonable dialogue. Many alcoholics end up committing crimes and end up in jail. If they are younger, they give up their studies or are evicted from the center.

Alcoholics also have poor relations with their family. They give up the obligations of the house and tend to be aggressive with relatives or family members. In addition to distrusting people, they are usually very jealous with their partner and violent with their own children (to whom they don´t pay any attention). (Many cases of domestic violence deaths which are so common in today’s society, often occur under the influence of alcohol)

  • Alcoholism is a major cause of breakup between partners.

Alcoholism as one of the main factors of traffic accidents

Finally, we should also mention the problem that the alcohol is for traffic. Many road accidents are caused while drivers are intoxicated by alcohol or have too high levels of alcohol in their blood.

This is sadly true during the weekends when many young people have accidents, after having been drinking at the club all night.

  • It is thought that up to 50% of accidents have their cause in alcoholism.

More information on alcoholism.

This article was endorsed by Ikhsan Majid Ghani - Doctor of medicine from Universitas Gadjah Mada
Written by Editorial Botanical-online team in charge of content writing

1 July, 2020

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