Alcohol Addiction
Woman with eyes closed and her hand on her face looking distressed while considering how alcohol affects your body
By BrightView
Published: February 28, 2023
Updated: February 21, 2024

While widespread and legal for adults over 21, alcohol may present hazards and has the potential to become addictive. Beer, wine, and liquor can have devastating physical consequences when consumed frequently or excessively. Fortunately, knowing how alcohol affects your body can lead to a better understanding of its impacts and encourage you to reach out for treatment.

If you struggle with the adverse effects of alcohol on your body, contact BrightView today. We have centers in Ohio, Kentucky, Virginia, North Carolina, Massachusetts, Maryland, and Arizona and never turn patients away. Simply call 888.501.9865, or send us an online message to start your recovery journey in our alcohol rehab program.

What Are the Effects of Alcohol on Your Body?

In addition to slowing cognition and reducing the capacity for sound decision-making, alcohol has many damaging physical effects. In the short term, it can cause:

  • Poor motor control, leading to falls and other accidents
  • Slurred or incoherent speech
  • Reduced functioning in the prefrontal cortex, resulting in risky or harmful behaviors
  • Alcohol poisoning due to the highly toxic nature of this substance to vital body systems
  • Complications for pregnant women, including stillbirth, miscarriage, or fetal alcohol spectrum disorder

In the longer term, alcohol causes severe and sometimes irreparable physical damage. A few of the critical long-term health risks associated with heavy drinking include:

  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Heart and liver disease
  • Stroke
  • Problems with digestion
  • Various cancers, especially of the mouth, throat, esophagus, breasts, liver, colon, and rectum
  • Compromised immune function, raising the risk of getting sick or developing severe disease
  • Lasting brain changes, leading to dementia or difficulty learning new information and retaining memories
  • Alcohol use disorder, occurring when an individual develops a tolerance to alcohol that causes them to drink more to get the same effects
  • Painful withdrawal upon quitting or reducing alcohol intake; symptoms may include vomiting, headaches, and tremors

If you experience any of these physical symptoms of how alcohol affects your body, enrolling in an alcohol rehab program may prevent potentially life-threatening complications and help you achieve long-term wellness.

How Can an Alcohol Rehab Program Help?

In treatment for alcohol use disorder, patients benefit from a multi-dimensional recovery approach. Medication assisted treatment (MAT) may be part of the protocol, depending on the severity of the situation. For example, a medical provider may prescribe medication to alleviate withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings.

Individual therapy also plays a vital role in treatment. In cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical-behavioral therapy (DBT), patients identify their triggers to drink and develop healthier coping mechanisms for stress. Therapists can also diagnose co-occurring disorders, including mental health issues such as PTSD or depression that underlie an alcohol use disorder. Known as dual diagnosis, treating both conditions may better meet patients’ needs.

Finally, group therapy comprises an essential part of the recovery journey. By engaging with a supportive community of peers, individuals have a platform for mutual skill-building, accepting accountability, and receiving shame-free support. Additionally, 12-step programs have an excellent track record for helping people in recovery repair relationships and regain hope. Family therapy involving patients’ loved ones can strengthen their support system and significantly reduce relapse rates.

Get Help for Alcohol Use Disorder by Contacting BrightView

If you have concerns about how alcohol affects your body and struggle with drinking, seek help from BrightView. Recovery is possible with evidence-based, compassionate support in our alcohol rehab program. We accept all insurance and have over 50 locations in eight states, making treatment accessible to those who need it. We field questions 24/7, so reach us at 888.501.9865 or online today to get on the path to recovery and wellness.