As you can imagine, an extremely high level of alcohol consumption can wreak havoc on one’s health, both mentally and physically:
Cirrhosis of the liver
The liver plays an incredibly important role within the body; removing toxins and waste products, regulating blood levels, supporting immunity, assisting in the metabolism of protein and carbohydrates, producing bile and even storing important vitamins and minerals for future use. In fact, 500 different functions have been linked to the liver. As alcohol is a toxin, the liver works to break down and remove the alcohol through bile or blood, which is then sent to the intestines before leaving the body as urine via the kidneys. An alcoholic jeopardizes the hard working functions of the liver and cirrhosis of the liver is the most serious and also the most common disease that comes as a result of long-term alcoholism. Cirrhosis can be recognized as the gradual overtaking of healthy liver cells by scar tissue, which is irreversible damage. This scar tissue doesn’t happen over weeks or months, rather it develops slowly over years of heavy drinking. Cirrhosis remains as the 8th leading cause of death in the United States, and ranks 13th in global figures. A heavy drinker may move through different phases of liver damage including fatty liver or hepatitis, before reaching the more serious diagnosis of cirrhosis of the liver, which around 10 to 15% of alcoholics will develop.
Comparatively, almost 100% of heavy drinkers show signs of fatty liver. Continuing to drink alcohol following the late-stage diagnosis of cirrhosis, leaves a 35% survival rate, as the liver eventually shuts down through malfunction.Currently, scientists do not understand the reasons why alcohol causes cirrhosis of the liver, however it is well understood that alcohol is certainty a substance that heavily damages this vital organ, causing chaos throughout the body.
Recommended Read: 5 Popular Foods to Detox Your Liver
Alcohol hijacks the brain
One of the most painful emotions to experience when you are close to an alcoholic. Regardless of the destruction they are causing to their life and body, they simply won’t stop drinking. They might lose their job, their marriage and their children, but still prioritize their favorite drop of alcohol above anything else. Alcohol temporarily drowns negative emotions by flooding the reward section of the brain with feel-good dopamine. As an addictive drug, it has been found to release up to 10 times the amount of dopamine than natural rewards do, such as through stimulating food or sex.
Because the brain is so overwhelmed by alcohol, long-term drinking depletes the body’s natural dopamine supplies, with alcoholics no longer feeling as much pleasure through drinking. Again, this is why they feel they need to drink more, to experience those past desirable effects of alcohol. However, it seems you can only push the body so far.