The Short and Long-Term Effects of Abusing Alcohol: Red Flags to Look For

Alcohol is a widely used substance that is misused and abused by many who consume it. Alcohol abuse does not simply affect the individual who is abusing it; it also negatively affects family members, close friends, loved ones, and colleagues of the abuser. The unfortunate thing is that many individuals who abuse alcohol do not truly understand the effect of their problem drinking on everyone around them.

Alcoholism is a chronic and relapsing disease that can be managed and treated with the proper therapy but is a disease that cannot be cured. Oftentimes, addiction is something that has to be diligently managed for the rest of one’s life.

Signs That Your Alcohol Use Needs to be Addressed

Are you or a loved one struggling with an alcohol problem? Perhaps you suspect that there may be an alcohol issue present but are not 100 percent sure how diagnosable it is. There are several telltale signs that are indicative of the need for help. Some of the signs that alcohol is taking a negative toll on your life are:

  1. Losing track of your responsibilities because you are prioritizing alcohol
  2. Experiencing financial struggles and spending more money than usual on alcohol
  3. Changes in your relationship resulting in a breakup or divorce
  4. Beginning to drink alone and becoming an isolated drinker
  5. Neglecting your physical health and looking ‘unkept’

Some other signs that you or someone you know is on the path toward destruction are

  • Getting tremens or ‘the shakes’ when you are not drinking
  • Waking up with withdrawal symptoms
  • Repeatedly getting alcohol poisoning
  • Taking risks such as driving under the influence

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, there are several factors that play a key role in whether you are susceptible to the disease of addiction. Some of these are a family history of addiction, your age, the status of your health, and genetics.

Alcohol Abuse has Long-Term Effects

Many alcoholics think that they can simply quit if they put their mind to it and muster up enough willpower to do so. This, however, is not the way that alcohol addiction works. The long-term abuse of alcohol has many detrimental and long-lasting effects on your health, both mind and body.

A life of alcohol abuse changes the chemical balance in the brain, altering its structure, therefore, not allowing the individual to have the capacity to make logical decisions. There are also a host of physical damages that come with alcohol abuse such as various types of cancers, liver disease, and heart complications. Alcoholism also has the ability to cause long-lasting mental illnesses such as depression, dementia, memory loss, anxiety, and more. Mental illness will not allow individuals to make sound life decisions, therefore, can affect all aspects of one’s life from their career and being faced with unemployment to relationships and friendships.

Short-term effects of alcohol abuse are just as dangerous as the long-term effects. Depending on the quantity of alcohol that you consume in one sitting, the immediate effects of alcohol consumption will vary. Some short-term effects of alcohol are:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Decreased perception
  • Lack of coordination
  • Memory lapses (can be due to ‘blackouts’)
  • Slurred speech
  • Vomiting
  • Distorted vision
  • A headache

A huge problem with those who drink large quantities of alcohol in a short amount of time, also known as binge drinking, is that these individuals are more likely to partake in actions and lifestyle choices that can be life-threatening. This could be anything from driving under the influence to drunkenly doing something irresponsible.

Getting Better Today

You have the power to overcome your alcohol abuse, just like so many others have. There are treatment programs available that will help you work toward a full recovery.

If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

About the Author

is a proud alumni member of WhiteSands Treatment. After living a life of chaos, destruction and constant let downs, Mark was able to make a complete turnaround that sparked a new way of life. He is serious about his recovery along with helping others. At WhiteSands Treatment, we offer support to you in your homes or when you are out living in your daily lives.