ADDICTION TREATMENT CENTER

Long-Term Health Problems Related to Binge Drinking

By:
theohanahawaii
April 3, 2022

There are several long-term effects that are caused by addiction and substance use disorder (SUD). Addiction wreaks havoc on one's mental health, emotional well-being, and personal relationships. In fact, most people's lives drastically change because of the choices they make because of addiction. Some people may lose their jobs, homes, or even their children because of the inability to function without drug or alcohol use. Addiction also has a very detrimental effect on our bodies. 

Notably, there are several long-term health effects people experience as a result of excessive alcohol use or binge drinking. Alcoholism is one of the most common addictions experienced by individuals across the world and, if untreated, can lead to consequential illnesses, health problems, and even death. To avoid experiencing these detrimental effects from binge drinking, consider starting your addiction recovery adventure with The Ohana Addiction Treatment Center today.

Understanding Binge Drinking Further

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines binge drinking as "the most common, costly, and deadly patterns of alcohol use in the United States." Most individuals who binge drink are not suffering from a severe alcohol use disorder (AUD). However, it can easily get out of hand. Those who binge drink are at an increased risk of developing an AUD. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism's (NIAAA) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-F) examines and identifies specific symptoms to diagnose AUD. These symptoms help professionals assess if someone is suffering from AUD and how severely they are suffering.

Some of the symptoms that indicate a struggle with AUD include any of the following circumstances occurring in the past year: 

  • Spending excessive time drinking, recovering from the effects of excessive drinking, or thinking about the desire or need to drink 

  • Finding that your drinking is preventing you from taking care of your family or effectively doing your job or schoolwork

  • Experiencing issues with the relationships in your life but continuing to drink anyways

  • Loss of interest in hobbies or activities that used to be of interest to you

  • Continued drinking even if it worsens the symptoms of other co-occurring mental illnesses like depression and anxiety, or physical health issues

  • Increase in the need to drink more to experience the desired effects or that when the alcohol wears off, you begin to experience various withdrawal symptoms

These are just a few indicators of AUD in individuals. If untreated, these symptoms can lead to a lifetime of suffering or even death.

The Serious Long-Term Effects of Binge Drinking

The health effects individuals experience from excessive alcohol consumption vary and can be dependent on how much alcohol is consumed, underlying health issues someone already has, or a family history of specific health problems. Some of the long-term effects individuals may experience from binge-drinking include:

  • Cancer in the liver, mouth, throat, esophagus, colon, and even breast 

  • Liver diseases, specifically inflammation and cirrhosis

  • The difficulty for intestines to absorb necessary nutrients to remain healthy

  • Suppressed immune system and problems in the brain and nervous system, all of which can lead to stroke or a chronic illness like dementia

  • The inability of the bones and muscles to absorb calcium, which can lead to osteoporosis or other bone-related health problems

Other long-term health issues that can occur as a direct result of binge drinking include: 

  • Chronic illnesses like high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, or liver disease

  • Dangerous or life-threatening situations such as vehicular accidents 

  • Exacerbation of pre-existing mental health disorders such as PTSD or depression

  • Severe alcohol poisoning

  • Situations of violence or criminal activity

  • Memory loss or the development of learning disorders

Help Is Available

AUD can take an immense and even fatal toll on your physical health, but it can also cause your mental and emotional health to deteriorate rapidly. It's important to be educated on the ways that binge drinking and untreated AUD can affect your mental health and physical well-being, especially regarding long-term effects. Knowing some of the signs and symptoms may motivate you to seek treatment. If you are in severe need of professional treatment for AUD, reach out to a facility immediately. 

The 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health claims that 14.1 million adults suffered from AUD. Ohana's goal is to offer treatment that is luxurious, evidence-based, and individualized to each client. Help for SUDs, including alcohol addiction, is available. Come to The Ohana in Hawaii to learn how to attain recovery and maintain it long-term.

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