Effects of Alcohol Abuse

Trust our alcohol recovery center in Greenfield, IN to help you break free from alcohol addiction

Drinking alcohol has become so commonplace and ingrained in our culture that it’s easy to overlook the devastating damage it can cause. Prolonged alcohol drinking can impact nearly every aspect of your health.

Understanding the effects is one of the first steps to choosing to live a sober life, free of the dangers and risks associated with drinking. At Hickory House Recovery in Greenfield, Indiana, we are your partners in recovery. We help you achieve your treatment goals and objectives, whatever they might be.

The simple fact you are reading this shows you are concerned about how alcohol may be affecting your health, your body, and your life. We commend you on taking the first step toward recovery and we will walk hand-in-hand with you to alcohol recovery. If you need help, call now 1-800-604-2117

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What are the short-term effects of alcohol abuse?

One or two drinks can negatively affect you. Some of the short-term effects of alcohol intake include:

  • Impaired balance
  • Impaired coordination
  • Decreased impulse control
  • Problems remembering or concentrating
  • Impaired fine and gross motor skills
  • Impaired decision-making

These problems are some of the reasons why there are DUI laws. You cannot safely operate a motor vehicle when you are impaired by alcohol. Drinking alcohol also makes it more likely that you will engage in risk-taking behaviors, such as speeding while behind the wheel or engaging in other risky activities, endangering yourself of others.

Drinking too much – even on a single occasion – can weaken your immune system, making it difficult to ward off infections. This impact can occur within 24 hours of drinking too much. Getting drunk also increases the likelihood that you will be injured.

Alcohol poisoning – Alcohol poisoning can occur when you drink more alcohol at a time than your body can handle. This is a life-threatening emergency that involves symptoms such as:

  • Seizures
  • Unconsciousness
  • Vomiting
  • Slow breathing rate of fewer than eight breaths a minute
  • Irregular breathing with gaps of ten seconds between each breath
  • Blue or pale skin
  • Low body temperature
  • Confusion

If you are experiencing these symptoms, seek immediate medical attention.

What are the long-term effects of alcohol abuse and addiction?

The effects of long-term alcohol use can be significant, leading to serious or chronic health problems and even death. Even binge drinking can cause health problems over time. Alcohol abuse has bleak outcomes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, too much alcohol can increase your risk of more than 200 different diseases. When you choose sobriety, you may be able to alter the effects of alcohol abuse on your health. Common effects of alcohol abuse and addiction include:

Behavior and memory changes – Alcohol can impair the brain’s ability to create memories. It can cause temporary memory lapses and cause complete blackouts. You might forget what happened while drinking. Compounding this issue is the fact that alcohol impairs decision-making abilities and lowers inhibitions. This can cause you to engage in risky behaviors that you otherwise would not participate in if you were sober. You may make decisions that are damaging to your well-being but are unable to remember them.

Alcohol can also significantly impact your mood. Drinkers may respond to alcohol differently, with some people feeling elated and happy while others feel angry. Alcohol is a depressant, so feelings of sadness or lethargy are common.

Digestive Issues – Alcohol is an irritant and known carcinogen. It can damage the lining of your stomach, resulting in discomfort like nausea, vomiting, and pain. It also increases the production of stomach acid, which can lead to acid reflux, heartburn, and chronic inflammation. People with drinking problems often experience ulcers, stomach cancer, and other major digestive issues.

Organ damage – Alcohol abuse can also wreak havoc on your organs. Organ damage can occur from prolonged alcohol abuse, as well as binge drinking, which the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines as a pattern of drinking alcohol that brings your blood alcohol concentration to 0.08 percent or higher. This often occurs within a short period of time from when you started drinking and may happen if you only occasionally do it, such as one or two weekends a month. For men, this usually involves having five or more drinks or four or more drinks for women in about two hours.

Some of the organs you may damage by drinking too much include the following:

Brain: Too much alcohol can shut down parts of the brain essential to keep you alive. It also interferes with the brain’s ability to communicate, which can disrupt mood and behavior. Alcohol can make it more difficult to think clearly. It can also make it more likely to suffer from a neurological problem, such as a stroke.

Heart: Alcohol can also affect the heart. Cardiac problems related to alcohol abuse include:

  • Cardiac arrhythmias, irregular heartbeats
  • Cardiomyopathy, stretching and drooping heart muscle
  • Ischemic heart disease
  • High blood pressure

Pancreas: Too much alcohol intake can cause acute or chronic pancreatitis. Alcohol makes the pancreas produce toxic substances that lead to these conditions. Pancreatitis is a dangerous inflammation that causes swelling and pain, making it difficult for the body to create enzymes and hormones for proper digestion. This condition can lead to other gastrointestinal problems, including gut leakiness and microbial dysbiosis.

Liver: You’ve probably heard that alcohol can mess up your liver. In fact, many people with drinking problems require a liver transplant to undo the harm alcohol has caused to their livers. Liver problems associated with alcohol abuse include:

  • Fatty liver
  • Alcohol hepatitis
  • Fibrosis
  • Cirrhosis

Lungs: Alcohol abuse can also affect the lungs, increasing the likelihood of acute respiratory distress syndrome, pneumonia, and cancer.

Cancer Risk – Medical experts have found a “strong scientific consensus” between alcohol use and several types of cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute. These experts have found that the more alcohol someone drinks, especially over time, the higher their risk of developing certain cancers. The risk is also increased for binge drinking. The National Cancer Institute reports that about 3.5% of cancer deaths in the United States are alcohol-related.

Some of the cancers associated with alcohol use include:

  • Esophageal cancer, including esophageal squamous cell carcinoma
  • Liver cancer
  • Head and neck cancer, including pharynx, larynx, and oral cavity cancers
  • Breast cancer
  • Colorectal cancer

Immune system deficiencies – One reason why cancers are more likely to develop in people with alcohol problems is because alcohol can weaken the immune system. This makes it easier for diseases to form in the body. You may develop various conditions due to a weakened immune system, including tuberculosis, pneumonia, or infections. Left untreated, these conditions can be serious and result in fatal consequences.

Social Problems – Alcohol can affect your mood and how you interact with others. Many people with drinking problems also have problems with loved ones, who may be concerned about the drinking and how it is affecting you.

You may get in fights or have arguments with loved ones, pushing them away and further isolating yourself. According to a Gallup research study, one in three people say that alcohol has been a problem in their family. You may have problems with your romantic relationships, friendships, and relationships with other loved ones. Additional stress and conflict can lead to mental health issues, along with physical ones.

Additionally, it may be difficult for you to get a job or keep a job with an alcohol problem. This can create further financial strain on your life, potentially leading you to drink more and continuing a dangerous cycle. 

Breaking free from alcohol abuse and addiction

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Alcohol can negatively impact your life in so many ways and lead to long-term health problems that lower your life expectancy and decrease your quality of life. It is nearly impossible to give up drinking alone. Your body is likely addicted to alcohol, and it will take considerable work and dedication to reverse this effect.

Breaking free from alcohol abuse and addiction starts here, with the compassionate guidance of the skilled team at Hickory House Recovery. We are here to help you with your alcohol recovery journey.

We provide both in-patient and outpatient services to accommodate the type of program that best suits your needs. When you come to Hickory House Recovery in Greenfield, IN., you will work closely with a licensed therapist who supports you every step of the way on your path to recovery. We provide assistance with co-occurring substance addiction or mental health illness, so you will receive the holistic services you need to make meaningful changes in your life. You can receive detox and residential treatment simultaneously to help with withdrawals, building skills, and medical-assisted treatment. Complementary therapies like meditation, art, music, and yoga provide the whole-body healing you need.

Your ongoing therapeutic work can help you identify and respond to triggers. By building solid life skills, you can begin a sober life and avoid the negative effects of alcohol abuse on your health. Hickory House Recovery is led by our clinical director, Scott Wilson, who has more than 40 years of experience in alcohol abuse treatment, adult substance use and co-occurring mental health treatment and comes highly recommended by alumni, colleagues and referral partners.

Mr. Wilson is your greatest advocate and ensures everyone at Hickory House Recovery is carefully vetted to provide a safe, caring environment for our patients. From your caseworker to our friendly Chef Haley, you can rest assured you will be working with the best when you choose Hickory House for your recovery journey.

Trusted alcohol recovery center in Greenfield, Indiana can help if you are feeling the effects of alcohol use

The word “house” is in our name for a reason. We strive to provide a home-like environment. We want you to feel like you’re at home, not a sterile hospital environment like other recovery centers. We equip each room like a hotel room with a mounted TV and mini-fridge. You will also enjoy a private patio to relax and enjoy a moment alone.

We treat you like family and know you by name and provide a comfortable treatment option that is close to family and friends so you can focus on recovery.

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We are excited that you are reading this information and learning about the negative effects of alcohol abuse on your health and well-being. At Hickory House Recovery in Greenfield, IN., our goal is your recovery, so you can be the best you can be.

Learn more about how alcohol may be affecting your life and how Hickory House Recovery can help you create the meaningful change you want to see by contacting us today at 1-800-604-2117 or online. All calls are confidential and we can answer your questions, verify your insurance coverage, and schedule a free, no-obligation tour of our highly-recommended Indiana alcohol treatment center.

Don’t wait until your health is in jeopardy, contact us today.

Licenses, Accreditations & Memberships


Hickory House Recovery has earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® for Behavioral Health Care Accreditation by demonstrating continuous compliance with its performance standards. The Gold Seal of Approval® is a symbol of quality that reflects an organization’s commitment to providing safe and effective care and is one of the highest levels of achievement a treatment center can receive.