It only takes one drink for alcohol to adversely affect your body. Your blood stream absorbs the alcohol and distributes it throughout the body. Your height, age, weight, and gender determine how quickly the alcohol processes. When more drinks are consumed than the body can handle, you are more likely to become drunk. While a night of drinking can leave you dehydrated and hungover, the effects of long-term drinking are more extensive and damaging.
Alcohol harms you both physically and emotionally. While your relationships and family may suffer on the outside, inside you, your major organs take a beating. The main organs – heart, brain, liver, kidneys, and pancreas – experience adverse damage during excessive drinking.
As the main blood-pumping source, the heart endures irregularities in blood flow. This results in the heart’s muscles weakening, which can lead to many serious side effects. Common complications include cardiomyopathy, arrhythmia, heart attack, stroke, and heart failure.
Alcohol interferes with the neurotransmitters in the brain, which can delay the transference of information and commands. Prolonged ethanol (found in alcohol) exposure can damage various areas of the brain. In addition, when neurotransmitters fail to do their job, it affects your behavior and mood. Known as “wet brain,” this condition can cause depression, dementia, hallucinations, memory loss, and more.
The liver is one of the hardest working organs in the body. It absorbs nutrients from foods you ingest, digests the food, controls infections, and rids the body of toxins. Many alcoholics suffer from cirrhosis of the liver, where scar tissues replace live tissue and decreases liver function.
Like a chain reaction, damage to the liver can affect the kidneys. Excessive alcohol consumption can interfere with kidney function. They cannot properly regulate the flow of body fluids or distribute potassium, sodium, and chloride ions. Because alcohol can cause high blood pressure, it can lead to kidney failures.
The pancreas creates digestive fluids and insulin to regulate food break down and sugar levels. Large amounts of alcohol confuse the pancreas, causing it to release additional enzymes internally, rather than in the small intestines. This leads to inflammation in the pancreas, also known as pancreatitis.
Alcohol addiction can wear down your body and cause serious harm. This Alcohol Awareness Month, we want you to take the challenge to invest in your health and well-being. If you or a loved one suffers from alcohol dependency, contact our New Jersey alcohol detox center.