Although drinks like beer, wine, and liquor are legal and readily available at nearly every grocery store, convenience store, and restaurant in the United States, alcohol use disorder -more commonly referred to as alcoholism- is one of the worst conditions that anyone can afflict someone as far as any addiction is concerned.
Dangers of Alcohol Addiction
Though getting “buzzed”, “tipsy”, or “drunk” is often the goal of those who drink alcohol, people put themselves at risk when using this substance. Most notably, that drunkenness, which was the drinker’s goal in the first place, can itself be a direct cause of injury or death.
Most people already know that drinking and driving is dangerous for both the driver and anyone else in a nearby vehicle on the road. However, a car crash is only one of the ways you can get hurt while drinking. Inebriation from alcohol impairs your balance and reaction speed, which has led to serious injuries from otherwise mundane situations.
Still, alcohol use and addiction has many more short- and long-term effects that put people at risk of emotional and physical turmoil, as well as leading to all kinds of problems in the alcoholic’s social and work life.
Short Term Effects
Along with slowing down brain function, the short-term side effects from drinking too much include additional risks that go beyond just injuring yourself. From “having one too many” to heavy binge drinking can cause varying degrees of the following symptoms:
- Drops in body temperature
- Difficulty sleeping
- Irrational aggression, sadness, or both
- Slurred speech
- Nausea and throwing up
- Passing out
- Losing control of bladder or bowel
When taken with additional substances, the short-term effects of alcohol abuse can be potentially much worse. This is true even for some prescription medications, so make sure to read your prescription information closely to check for interaction warnings with alcohol.
Long Term Effects
Over time, the constant consumption of alcohol starts to cause additional problems. Some of these long-term effects include:
- Alcohol tolerance
- Dependence and alcoholism
- Liver damage
- Weakened immune system
- Sexual performance degradation
Like most substances, long-term abuse of alcohol can also lead to and aggravate behavioral problems and mental illness. Because of this, people with mental health conditions should avoid alcohol consumption, especially binge drinking and overconsumption in general.
Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms
Along with the effects that alcoholism can lead to, quitting alcohol “cold turkey” can cause a variety of problems as well for those who have alcohol use disorder and have developed a physiological dependence.
First Day Withdrawal
When quitting drinking, the following alcohol withdrawal symptoms may arise for alcoholics during the first day of sobriety:
- Inability to concentrate
- Abdominal pain
- Difficulty sleeping
Alcohol Withdrawal During a Detox Period
After the initial withdrawal period (the first day or so) has ended, the withdrawal effects during the second and third day may intensify and lead to new problems, including:
- High blood pressure
- Suicidal thoughts
Due to dangerous alcohol withdrawal symptoms, alcoholism should be treated by the professionals at a private rehab center.
Rehab for Alcoholics
At an alcohol rehab center, alcoholics will receive the attention and care they need to make sure the risks of withdrawal are well managed. With the first few days of quitting alcohol being especially difficult to contend with, the staff at a rehab center that treats alcoholism will make sure the patient stays on track and that he or she doesn’t relapse just to appease withdrawal symptoms.
After the initial detox period has ended and the worst of the withdrawal symptoms are over, patients start going through classes, addiction therapy, and group discussions to discover the cause and aggravation of the alcoholism in the first place. Patients will also learn how to avoid and manage those triggers as well as receive the tools and information needed to stay sober once returning to regular life after rehab.