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Organ Damage from Alcohol Use and Abuse

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If you drink often, you may be wondering how alcohol affects your organs. There are several different ways in which your organs can be negatively impacted by alcohol. Some adverse effects are immediate, while others may not become apparent for years.Man on couch discussing organ damage from alcohol with health professional

If you would like more information about how alcohol damages your organs, Vertava Health’s alcohol addiction treatment center can help. Contact us at 844.470.0410 to learn more about how we can guide you on your path to recovery.

How Alcohol Damages Your Organs

When a person uses alcohol, it enters the bloodstream, which works as the pathway to each organ–i.e., the brain, heart, and liver. Once an undetermined amount of alcohol has entered a person’s body, they begin to feel drunk. The amount it takes a person to feel the effects of alcohol can vary based on their weight, body fat, and tolerance, but whether you feel the effect or not, it is still affecting your organs.

In addition to the obvious effects that alcohol has on motor skills (such as causing slurred speech and double vision), it can also cause serious damage to the tissues of and the function of important parts of the body, especially when an individual drinks too much–this can occur in an occasional drinker as well.

Here are some of the ways that alcohol damages your organs:

  • Brain – is vital to how a person behaves and thinks. Still, when alcohol is added, it can cause the brain to shrink and impair cognitive abilities, leading to serious mental health conditions such as depression.
  • Heart – is concerned with pumping blood throughout the body, and a person cannot function properly without one. Drinking alcohol can create problems for the heart, like enlarged heart vessels, irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia), blood clots leading to a stroke, and high blood pressure.
  • Liver – is responsible for breaking down fats and creating healthy proteins; it works as the body’s filter and creates the energy needed to live. When alcohol is added to a person’s diet, the liver must break it down; however, when alcohol is abused, it causes strain on and sometimes hardening of the liver (cirrhosis). Other diseases associated with alcohol include, but are not limited to, fibrosis and alcoholic hepatitis.
  • Pancreas – breaks down foods after they leave the stomach. It produces insulin to allow the body to use sugar. An overload of sugar, as contained in certain alcoholic drinks, overloads the pancreas, sometimes leading to inflammation or pancreatitis.

Even though not all of the organs listed are adversely affected by alcohol immediately, there are plenty of reasons to seek help if you are unsure whether you have a problem with alcohol. Each of these organs is vital for life. Therefore, damage done to any of them can result in death.

Short-Term Effects of Alcohol Abuse

A person who struggles with alcohol use doesn’t necessarily have a problem with drug dependence. They will not always get cancer, but often, when they drink, they drink too much, and other short-term problems can arise, which are vomiting, drunk driving, blacking out, uncontrollable urination, coma, and death. Figuring out how to regain control of their life and how to stop drinking can be a major problem. Sometimes the only thing in the way of resolving is the person dealing with the problem.

Frequently Asked Questions About Organ Damage Related to Alcohol

You want to live a healthy life, but sometimes you feel scared and like there is no hope for you or your life. You may be asking yourself a lot of questions right now, but the answers seem so far out of reach.

  • What organ is the most affected by alcohol?
  • How do I know if I have a problem abusing alcohol?
  • Is there a way to treat the long-term effects of alcohol abuse?
  • How long does it take for alcohol to damage the organs?
  • How do I talk to a loved one about their excessive drinking?
  • Is there a treatment for me?

The answers are not as far out as you may think. There are 18 million adults in the United States alone who have problems with alcohol abuse; maybe you are one of them.

Find Treatment for Alcohol Misuse at Vertava Health

If you or a loved one is concerned about how alcohol affects your organs, we are standing by to answer your questions and provide the help you need. Contact Vertava Health at 844.470.0410 today to start on the road to recovery.