As far as the body is concerned, alcohol is a poison. Some of the effects of chronic alcohol consumption include damage to the brain (women may be more vulnerable to chronic alcohol consumption), liver, pancreas, duodenum, and central nervous system.
Alcoholism causes metabolic damage to every cell in the body and depresses the immune system. It may take years before the consequences of excessive drinking become evident, but if an alcoholic continues to drink; his or her life span may be shortened by ten to fifteen years or more.
Alcohol is broken down in the liver. The repeated consumption of alcohol inhibits the liver’s production of enzymes, impairing the body’s ability to absorb proteins, fats, and the fat-soluble vitamins (vitamins A, D, E, and K), as well as B-complex vitamins (especially thiamine and folic acid) and other water-soluble vitamins. Many essential nutrients are not retained for use by the body; they are rapidly eliminated through the urine. The toxic effect of alcohol on the liver is very serious.
First, excessive amounts of fat accumulate in the liver, a result of alcohol’s effect on the body’s ability to digest fats properly. Next, the alcoholic may develop hepatitis, a condition in which liver cells become inflamed and may die. The final, usually fatal, stage of alcoholic liver damage is cirrhosis of the liver, a disease characterized by inflammation, hardening, and scarring of the liver this prevents the normal passage of blood through the liver, inhibiting the organ’s ability to filter out toxins and foreign substances.
The liver is one of the most robust organs of the body. It is the only organ that has the ability to regenerate itself after certain types of damage. Up to 25 percent of the liver can be removed, and within a short period of time, it will grow back to its original shape and size. It continually takes abuse, but if cared for properly, it will function more than adequately for decades. Alcohol is one of the toxins that the liver doesn’t handle as well as others. The liver cannot regenerate after being severely damaged by alcohol.
There are many other health consequences of alcoholism as well. Alcoholics often experience damage to their peripheral nervous systems. This damage may show up initially as a loss of sensation in the hands or feet, with an accompanying difficulty in walking. Chronic drinking also causes inflammation of the pancreas. This further hampers the body’s ability to digest fats and other nutrients, and can lead to diabetes.
Alcohol Addiction Treatment Program Steps:
Intervention - this is the initial alcoholism treatment option whereby the drinking problem is recognized and acknowledged by the drinker and perhaps family members or employer as well.
Once the alcohol problem is recognized, alcohol consumption is stopped for those persons that are alcohol dependent.
Detoxification - this phase of an alcohol addiction treatment program usually takes from 4 to 7 days. The more alcohol a person has been drinking each day, the higher the likelihood the person will develop alcohol withdrawal symptoms when they stop drinking.
Rehabilitation - recovery from alcoholism should include support for the problem drinker once the detoxification alcoholism treatment option phase is completed to help maintain alcohol abstinence.
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