Recovery Matters

Alcohol and the Body: This ‘Aint Pretty

Alcohol and the B0dy: This ‘Aint Pretty

When picturing an alcoholic I’m sure you imagine an older man or woman, with a blood red nose and dirty clothes. Yes, this is the face of alcoholism, a tired and sunken elder who can barely speak. Physical deterioration is true of alcoholism but it is important to remember that the beggar on the side of the road with the distorted nose and torn clothes could have the exact same addiction as the gorgeous housewife dropping her kids off at school. They may come from different walks of life, they may have different drinks of choice but one thing binds them – alcoholism and the dangerous effect this mind altering substance has on their lives. Just like addiction does not discriminate – neither do the effects.

The effects of alcohol on the body

The consumption of alcohol takes a serious toll on your health. Almost all organs are effected by your beverage of choice. The brain, heart, liver, pancreas… the list goes on. If you are struggling with alcoholism or you are hesitant to seek alcohol treatment, take a look at what you are actually doing to your body:

The Brain

Alcohol interferes with your brains communication pathways – effecting the way your brain works and looks. Change of mood and behaviour come into play as does contorted thinking and confused coordination. Alcohol abuse over time effects the brain tremendously.

We have all heard the term ‘wet brain.’ Quite derogatory and used to describe the thinking, communicating and motor skills of an alcoholic. Thing is, this isn’t made up. “Wet brain” (the actual term for this is: Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome) from alcoholism is a shocking reality. This is a type of dementia that people are faced with in late stage alcoholism. This renders a person’s thinking incoherent, effects motor skills and leaves a person unable to take care of themselves. Considering seeking help yet?

The Heart

The heart, yeah – that vital organ… it is grossly effected by alcohol abuse. Alcohol abuse causes extreme cardiovascular problems including:

• Cardiomyopathy
• Arrhythmias
• Stroke
• High Blood Pressure

The Liver

The organ commonly associated with alcohol abuse. How many Facebook statuses have you seen on a Sunday morning with the user proclaiming “I need a new liver because of last night!” Yes, this is a joke amongst the youth looking for fun, thing is, liver disease is a deadly problem amongst alcoholics. Heavy consumption of alcohol leads to a vast array of liver problems and inflammations.
These include:

• Steatosis (AKA – fatty liver)
• Alcoholic Hepatitus
• Fibrosis
• Cirrhosis

The Pancreas

Ah, youths! Always thinking of the liver and never remembering the pancreas. Alcohol causes the pancreas to produce a very toxic substance that leads to pancreatitis. This is a precarious inflammation and swelling of the blood vessels in the pancreas – preventing proper digestion.

The C word: No, I’m talking cancer

Drinking heavy amounts of alcohol over a long period of time increases your risk of developing cancer. Certain cancers that have been linked to alcoholism include:

• Mouth
• Liver
• Throat
• Breast

So, before you sink into your seat and give up – assuming that your life is over and a series of alcohol related diseases are in your foreseeable future – remember that recovery leads to the recovery of organs. You have a chance to fix this. Your life is worth living – not merely existing until death.

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