Side Effects of Alcohol Abuse and Dependence
What Are The Side Affects Of Alcohol Abuse? How Dangerous Are These?
Alcohol is a potentially addictive and very dangerous drug. Some people can drink responsibly and in moderation, but others can abuse alcohol or become fully dependent on it. Alcohol addiction is very common and can affect anyone at any age. Not everyone who abuses alcohol becomes alcohol dependent, or what is commonly known as an alcoholic, but alcohol abuse greatly increases the risk of dependence.
If you recognize the signs of alcohol abuse or dependence in yourself or in a friend or loved one, it is critical to get treatment as soon as possible. No one can force another person into treatment, but having caring encouragement and a loyal support system are very important assets. Professional counselors are standing by to help.
Many people do not recognize the symptoms of alcohol abuse or even full-blown alcoholism, but the negative side effects of abuse and dependence are perverse and well-known to health professionals.
Alcohol dependence can affect people in five main ways: Socially, emotionally, financially, mentally, and physically.
Social side effects include the following behaviors:
• Lying to hide drinking,
• Exclusively attending activities where alcohol is served,
• Always drinking more than intended,
• Neglecting responsibilities and breaking promises because of drinking,
• Drinking in dangerous situations, such as when driving or when taking prescription medication, and
• Feeling guilt or shame about drinking.
As the person drinks more and more regularly, emotional side effects begin to occur:
- Isolation from friends and family
- An inability to stop drinking, even as problems caused by drinking are known or continue to increase
- Denial of a drinking problem
- An increased perception that the person needs to drink to relax or feel happy
- An increased focus on alcohol and drinking as the center of one’s life
In many cases, a person becomes alcohol dependent only after many years of alcohol abuse. In other cases, a person can become fully dependent in a relatively short time. Alcoholism does run in the family, either as a genetic cause or a lifestyle or family culture cause. But these social and emotional side effects are usually the first things friends and family notice.
Eventually, as the abuse goes untreated and becomes alcoholism, other long-term financial side effects show up:
- Neglected financial responsibilities, such as paying bills
- Increased spending on alcohol and alcohol-related events and activities
- Legal problems related to drinking, such as DUI
- Decreased productivity at work, resulting in lost wages and even unemployment
- Increased risk of poverty
These social, emotional, and financial side effects often work together and play off one another to make a person’s drinking problems worse, a downward spiral in which the victim feels more and more dependent on drinking, further worsening the side effects. This is one reason prompt treatment is so important.
Physical or Mental Side Effects:
Another important reason to seek immediate help for a drinking problem is to avoid the devastating physical and mental side effects of alcoholism. These side effects get worse over time and can be deadly:
- Increased tolerance to alcohol
- Depression and anxiety
- Memory loss
- Tremors and shaking
- Sexual impotence or loss of sex drive
- Excessive sweating
- Insomnia and fatigue
- Malnutrition due to loss of appetite
- Long-term brain damage
- Liver and gastrointestinal problems
- Higher risk of diabetes, cancer and heart disease
Get Help Now
The side effects of drinking define the problem, not the amount of drinking, the time spent drinking, or the intent of the drinker. One of the worst things about alcohol abuse and dependence is the impact on family and friends. If you know someone suffering from these side effects, or if you are an alcoholic seeking help, call our toll free number immediately, and we will connect you with the right specialist for your needs. Although you can’t force anyone to seek treatment, your call for help will be heard in the right places.