April is Alcohol Awareness Month and what better time to talk about how drinking too much – on a single occasion or overtime – can take a serious toll on your head-to-toe health. Alcohol abuse has been linked to a slew of health conditions, including an increased risk of liver, breast, mouth, esophagus and throat cancers. And it can also trigger mental health problems like depression and anxiety.
Here’s a look at a few more ways alcohol affects your body and overall health:
Your immune system: Did you know that chronic drinkers are more likely to develop diseases like pneumonia and tuberculosis? That’s because alcohol weakens your immune system, slowing your body’s ability to ward off infections – and it starts a mere 24 hours after getting drunk.
Your brain: Alcohol impacts how the brain looks and works, which can result in mood and behavior changes (depression, agitation, memory loss) as well as problems with coordination. What’s more, underage drinking – young people’s brains keep developing well into their 20s – can potentially cause learning or cognitive problems and make the brain more prone to alcohol dependence.
Your heart: Whether you binge drink on a single occasion or drink chronically, alcohol overuse can cause several cardiovascular issues, including:
- Cardiomyopathy: stretching and drooping of heart muscle
- Arrhythmias: irregular heart beat
- High blood pressure
Your liver: Heavy alcohol consumption takes a toll on the liver, too, leading to inflammation of the liver as well as the following:
- Steatosis, or fatty liver
- Alcoholic hepatitis
Your pancreas: Drinking large amounts of alcohol can lead to pancreatitis, or inflammation and swelling of the blood vessels in the pancreas. In turn, this can interfere with proper digestion.
Healing From Alcohol Use Disorder
At NorthStar Transitions, we offer clients a full continuum of care, from medical detox to outpatient treatment. To learn more about our alcohol rehab and specialized addiction treatment services in Boulder, CO, call us today: 303-625-6335.