Drink Responsibly: 5 Serious Health Reasons to Stop Abusing Alcohol

Consuming alcohol can be fun and relaxing when done in moderation, but excessive or frequent drinking habits can increase your risk for serious health problems. Some doctors say moderate drinking offers certain health benefits, but only if you’re in good physical health and follow proper drinking guidelines. If you suffer from alcohol abuse, knowing more about related health risks could influence you to seek help, and get your drinking problem under control.

Drink Responsibly: 5 Serious Health Reasons to Stop Abusing Alcohol

Here are five serious health conditions you can develop as a result of alcohol substance abuse:

1. Malnutrition
Regular, excess alcohol intake can prevent your body from absorbing important vitamins, minerals and other nutrients - increasing your risk for malnutrition. The caloric intake from drinking, especially drinks like beer, cider, or wine, can also displace proper eating habits, making people feel full from drinking, resulting in skipped meals.

In other cases, drinking and being intoxicated can also influence you to make unhealthy food choices. For example, you might consume fried foods while spending time at the bar, or visit fast-food restaurants out of convenience after a night of heavy drinking.

2. Cognitive Decline
Moderate to heavy drinking on a frequent, long-term basis can lead to brain damage and cognitive decline. Those who suffer from alcohol abuse are often at higher risk for dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and brain defects such as Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome. Over time, cognitive decline can weaken your immune system, and lead to other problems such as incontinence and respiratory failure.

3. Pancreatitis
Drinking regularly increases your risk for pancreatitis, which is inflammation of the pancreas. Pancreatitis can cause severe abdominal pain, and may not display symptoms for up to several years. This serious health problem can lead to other complications associated with having a poorly functioning pancreas, such as type II diabetes, pancreatic cysts, and pancreatic cancer.

4. Cirrhosis of the Liver
Alcohol abuse can cause inflammation and scarring on your liver - leading to a condition known as cirrhosis of the liver. When left untreated, cirrhosis of the liver can cause frequent vomiting, abdominal pain, and weight loss. Heavy and long-term drinkers who suffer from cirrhosis of the liver may require a liver transplant to lower the risk for liver failure and death.

5. Cancer
Heavy and frequent alcohol intake can prevent your cells from healing and repairing themselves as needed increasing the risk for abnormal cell growth. Abnormal cell growth can lead to many types of cancer, including liver cancer, colon cancer, and breast cancer. When combined with other unhealthy habits such as smoking or drug use, alcohol can accelerate and increase cancer risk.

Quitting drinking or drastically decreasing your alcohol intake can go a long way toward improving your overall health, and lowering your risk for serious health complications associated with alcohol abuse. 

If you are unable to decrease your alcohol intake, even after experiencing physical or psychological side effects, you may suffer from a substance use disorder. Seek help from your doctor or a treatment facility for further information.

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