Alcohol addiction is a serious disease that can have a long-term effect on every aspect of an individual’s life. Alcohol use has resulted in poor judgment, decreased coordination and an increased risk of being in a serious accident. Unfortunately, these are only a few of the effects of serious alcohol addiction. Over time, this type of addiction can cause serious consequences. Here are four major consequences of alcohol addiction that no one can afford to ignore.
Relationship and family problems
Many different types of substance abuse have been linked to family and relationship problems that are difficult for everyone involved to handle. That’s largely because the loved ones of someone who struggles with alcohol addiction become frustrated with the behavior but also tend to feel like they need to cover for or make excuses for a loved one. This is particularly true in marriages, where the sober individual will often go to great lengths to hide their partner’s behavior from others.
Long-term alcohol addiction can lead to arguments about money and household responsibilities. Family members or partners may feel the individual who abuses alcohol doesn’t do enough to contribute to the household or care for children. Unfortunately, alcohol addiction is also linked to an increased rate of domestic violence. This can lead to the destruction of relationships and may have serious legal consequences including calls to the police, court charges and even jail time.
Changes in brain function
Anyone who has ever had a few too many drinks is aware that alcohol can cause slurred speech, problems with coordination and even blackouts. Those are some of the short-term effects of alcohol abuse, but long-term alcohol addiction can have even more serious consequences for the brain. Alcohol actually changes the way the brain works.
Alcohol kills brain cells and can damage neural pathways that carry information from the brain to the rest of the body. Over time, this can translate into problems such as permanent memory loss and the inability to think clearly. Researchers have also discovered that long-term alcohol addiction can actually cause individuals to lose their sense of impulse control, which contributes to the cycle of continued substance abuse.
Problems at work or inability to hold a job
Alcohol addiction has been linked to a wide array of problems at work including loss of productivity, sleeping on the job, absenteeism and arguments with coworkers. If these issues continue for a long period of time, individuals are likely to be called in to talk to managers and may be removed from work assignments that they enjoy. If left unaddressed, many of these problems lead to job loss and ensuing financial difficulties.
A decline in health and wellbeing
Long-term alcohol addiction is connected to many health problems including cardiovascular disease, cirrhosis, hepatitis, lung disease, cancer and stroke. Diabetics who struggle with alcohol addiction can suffer from serious complications and may even have to be hospitalized if they are unable to stop drinking. Because alcohol abuse impairs judgment, it has also been connected to an increased risk for contracting HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.
Alcohol addiction doesn’t discriminate. Even the friendliest, smartest and most well-liked people can fall prey to serious side effects when they are unable to stop using alcohol. Early intervention and support from friends and family are key to helping individuals who struggle with alcoholism to overcome their problems and avoid the serious, long-term consequences of alcohol abuse.