Alcohol is legal in the United States and is a socially acceptable way to pass the time. It is common for people to consume alcohol on a regular basis, using it as a way to have fun with their friends or simply to make themselves feel good. However, alcohol has the potential to become addictive and lead to an unhealthy pattern of excessive drinking.
It is actually extremely common for people to abuse alcohol and become addicted, due to the psychoactive nature of alcohol, and the way that it makes people feel. It is believed that around 14 million Americans have an alcohol consumption problem, causing a lot of people to die every single year.
What Is Alcoholism?
Alcoholism is the dependence on alcohol to get you through the day. Psychological dependence is a huge problem, as your brain is constantly telling you that you need more alcohol, you need to feel a certain way and only alcohol will bring about these results. To be diagnosed with alcoholism or alcohol dependency, two or more of the following criteria must be achieved:
- Consumption of alcohol in situations where it is dangerous such as when driving
- Experiencing cravings for alcohol
- Persistent drinking despite the negative impacts of doing so
- Alcohol withdrawal if you attempt to stop drinking
- Spending a large amount of time thinking about or trying to obtain alcohol
- Spending a significant amount of money on alcohol
- Having a high tolerance and needing more to feel the impact
- Drinking more than you mean to on a regular occasion
There are more criteria but these are just some of them. If any of these jump out to you as something that happens to you or someone that you know, the best thing that you can do is seek out alcohol treatment as soon as possible.
Long-Term Mental Health
Long-term use of alcohol can be massively destructive to your mental health. It is a common form of self-medication seeing as it is readily available and legal to use, but that does not make it the solution that you should take. If you already have mental illness such as depression or anxiety for example, in some people drinking can even make this worse, even if it’s only moderate. You will also find that the other factors and negative impacts such as the lack of money, social isolation, and so much more will play havoc with your mental health.
Long Term Brain
You don’t have to drink heavily or be addicted to alter your brain with alcohol. However, the more you drink, the more likely that this is to happen. The brain is delicate, and it needs precise balance in chemicals to be able to function the way that it should. The use of alcohol severely changes the chemicals in the brain, and this can have catastrophic impacts. It’s for this reason that you will experience things like slurred speech, impulsive behavior, memory lapses, and others.
Even once the alcohol has left your system, if the brain has been damaged and unbalanced, then it may continue to activate neurotransmitters that say you need something when you don’t. This can cause withdrawal symptoms that are uncomfortable and unpleasant.
There are many effects that long-term alcohol usage can have on the brain, so it’s worth doing your research into this. If you are a heavy drinker, you need to know the risks that you are taking each time you drink.
Long Term Liver
The liver is a vital organ, and can also be negatively impacted by chronic alcohol use. The liver is there to break down and get rid of harmful substances in our blood, while also doing other important things to help our bodies stay healthy. Your liver can only process a certain amount of alcohol at any given time, meaning that whatever is left will then circulate through your blood.
Alcohol misuse can also cause a number of liver diseases, including liver cancer.
Alcohol Addiction Treatment
At Grand Falls, we are a drug and alcohol rehab that can provide the alcohol addiction treatment that you, or someone you love needs. We offer detoxification services, residential services, and an outpatient service for those who would see better results from this. It’s time to take action if you or someone you know is dependent on alcohol, to avoid all of the things that we have talked about above, becoming a reality.
We assist our patients in moving towards a life of sobriety with our alcohol treatment and we are dedicated to providing our support to those who need it, so get in touch with us today and we can sort out all of the details.