Alcohol addiction is common in the United States. About one in eight American adults meets the criteria for alcohol use disorder. The effects of long-term alcohol abuse can be significant and impact every aspect of a person’s life. Often, alcohol addiction leads to devastating physical, social, and mental consequences. Most people need help to achieve and maintain long-term sobriety. Alcohol addiction treatment programs are designed to care for the whole person as they manage the physical symptoms of alcohol withdrawal and learn to live without alcohol. The decision to seek substance abuse treatment can be a life-saving one.
If you or a woman you love requires supportive addiction treatment, please reach out to the staff at Women’s Recovery. We work to empower women to live healthy, full lives without using substances. Please call 833.754.0554 or fill out our online form.
Warning Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Addiction
Addiction can happen to anyone at any point in their life. Knowing what to look for is essential to being able to recognize when someone needs help. It can be harder to identify alcohol abuse due to alcohol’s legality, popularity, and prevalence in our society, but some warning signs and symptoms include:
- Being unable to control drinking
- Strong need or urge to drink
- Continuing to drink even when it causes problems at home, school, or work
- Continuing to drink even when it is especially dangerous to do so, such as while driving or with certain medical conditions
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when unable to drink
- Frequent or extreme mood swings
- Slurred speech
- Drinking in secret
- Isolating from family and friends
- New or worsening mental health disorders
- Chronic nausea or vomiting
- Issues with coordination and balance
- Shaking or tremor
- Legal or financial problems related to the drinking
Alcohol addiction can have a lot of devastating effects on a person’s body, brain, and mental health. The physical, mental, and social consequences of alcohol abuse can destroy a person’s life; it is vital to reach out for help and support to quit drinking.
Physical Effects of Alcohol Addiction
Alcohol abuse can be incredibly damaging to the body. In the short term, heavy drinking causes immediate physical symptoms that include vomiting, dulled senses, passing out, and coma. People who drink heavily are at risk of overdose and death. Over time, the physical effects of alcohol abuse can be severe. They include:
- Difficulty learning or concentrating
- Decrease in gray and white matter in the brain
- Throat, stomach, liver, and colon cancer
- Liver damage
Cutting back or completely stopping your use of alcohol can be difficult and sometimes dangerous. Seeking substance abuse treatment is essential to safely withdraw from alcohol and avoid the long-term physical effects of heavy alcohol use.
Mental Effects of Alcohol Addiction
Immediately, drinking alcohol produces feelings of relaxation and well-being. Heavy alcohol use can result in symptoms such as:
- Poor judgment
- Lowered inhibitions
- Mood changes
- Difficulty learning and concentrating
Over time, alcohol addiction can change the structure of your brain. Heavy alcohol use has been linked to a decrease in actual brain size because it reduces gray and white matter. Research also suggests a link between mental illness and alcohol addiction and shows that people with alcohol addiction are at a higher risk for depression and anxiety. It is essential to get alcohol addiction treatment as soon as possible to avoid the short and long-term psychological effects of heavy drinking.
Social Effects of Alcohol Addiction
In the short term, drinking alcohol can impair your judgment and make it more likely you will engage in potentially dangerous behaviors. This can include risky sexual behavior, driving under the influence, and criminal behavior. Over time, alcohol addiction can impact your social and financial well-being. Alcohol abuse makes it difficult to function in all areas of life, including work, school, and within your family and community. Many people who struggle with addiction lose their jobs or drop out of school due to absences or poor performance.
Addiction can cause tension or the breakup of important relationships. Friends and family members may struggle to know what to do about someone’s drinking and may become distant or burnt out. Alcohol addiction makes having healthy, meaningful relationships almost impossible. It is important to get substance abuse treatment to avoid the social consequences of alcohol addiction.
Women’s Recovery Provides Effective Alcohol Addiction Treatment
If you or a woman you love need a supportive rehab program or other mental health and addiction services, the staff at Women’s Recovery wants to help. You do not have to manage your alcohol addiction alone. We offer a range of comprehensive therapeutic programs, including:
- Alcohol addiction treatment
- Women’s sober living program
- PTSD treatment
- Neurofeedback therapy
- Behavior modification therap