Risks associated with alcohol addiction–2: Liver malfunctioning

Scientists have always warned against drinking alcohol owing to its adverse effects. The fact that alcohol makes people dependent and can result in effects other than lending a simple high has still not deterred many people to abuse the addictive substance. According to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 86.4 percent of Americans aged 18 years and above, informed that they had consumed alcohol at some point in their lives.

The effects of alcohol may cause various physiological and psychological disorders. Studies have indicated how consuming alcohol in excess can result in alcohol-related liver diseases (ARLDs). Three kinds of liver conditions have been enumerated by researchers including conditions of fatty liver, hepatitis and “scarring” of the liver or cirrhosis.

The risk of being afflicted with these disorders increases with rise in level of alcohol consumption. Drinkers tend to misuse alcohol in two ways:

  • Binge drinking or drinking large quantities of alcohol in one go
  • Drinking more than the recommended limits over a period of time

Only those who indulge in uncontrolled drinking habits over a period develop ARLDs. After some time, such people also get afflicted with scarring and cirrhosis of the liver, the final phase of liver disease. Physicians indicate that the probability of suffering from liver disorders increase with the amount of alcohol consumed and the number of years one has been drinking for. While findings of prior studies indicate women to be more likely to be aggrieved with ARLDs than men, figures by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) pinpoint that in 2015 alone, roughly 23.4 percent of American adults, aged 18 years and over, were involved in heavy drinking.

Signs of liver disorders

Sometimes, there is no manifestation of symptoms of liver problems during the initial years or the signs begin to surface slowly depending upon the extent of damage caused to the liver. Some of the early signs include:

  • Feeling of tiredness and loss of energy.
  • Reduced appetite and loss of weight.
  • Dizziness or pain in the belly.
  • Minute, red blood vessels on the skin resembling spiders.

Worsening of liver functioning may exhibit signs like:

  • Fluid retention in leg tissues causing leg swelling also known as peripheral edema.
  • Abnormal collection of fluid in the body in the abdominal or peritoneal cavity.
  • Transformation of the color of skin, mucous membranes and eyes to yellow resembling jaundice patients.
  • Reddening of the palms of the hands owing to possible dilating of the blood vessels as a result of hormonal imbalance caused by liver disease.
  • Shrinking of testicles and breast swelling in men; in extreme cases men may suffer from impotence.
  • Tendency to be easily bruised thus, resulting in abnormal bleeding.
  • Cognitive problems such as problems in thinking or confused behavior.
  • Pale-colored stools.

Seeking necessary treatment at the right time

The damages caused from alcohol abuse cannot be treated with medication alone. Sudden abstinence from alcohol may not be an effective solution in some cases as it leads to withdrawal symptoms and often a relapse. It requires lifestyle changes including diet alteration, physical exercises and alternate therapies like meditation.

It takes a long time to break free of addictive habits stemming from alcohol use and giving up on drinking can be the hardest thing. If you or your loved one is suffering from alcohol addiction, the Florida Alcohol Addiction Helpline representatives can connect you to the best alcohol treatment centers in Florida that provide personalized care and a soothing environment to help a person recover successfully. Call our 24/7 helpline number 866-220-5381 or chat online with our experts to get details about some of the finest alcohol rehab centers in Florida, which offer comprehensive treatment to help a person achieve sobriety.

Read the other articles of the series, “Risks associated with alcohol addiction:”

  1. Adverse effects on heart