Alcoholism is a serious disease that affects millions of people around the world. Nobody intends to become an alcoholic, especially when they are young. They just enjoy the short-term effects and how it makes them feel. But it doesn’t take long before you begin to build up a tolerance for alcohol, and then it takes a little more before you get that buzzed feeling. Over time, your body adapts to the alcohol, and soon you’re consuming large amounts and beginning to suffer the mental and physical health problems of this destructive disease. Below are five long-term effects of alcohol consumption that you need to take seriously.

Blackouts and Memory Lapses

One of the scariest side effects of drinking alcohol is blackouts. Alcohol kills brain cells and damages your ability to recall events that take place while you are intoxicated. These are a short-term effect, but the memory problems can also occur on a long-term basis. The more alcohol you consume as time goes by, the more likely you are to suffer these long-term memory problems.

Memory loss is a serious problem for alcoholics, and it can lead to problems in your relationships, your career and in your everyday life.

Liver Disease

Alcoholic fatty liver disease (AFLD) is another long-term problem caused by drinking. This is the first step toward cirrhosis of the liver. Fortunately, AFLD is reversible if you can catch it in the early stages of the disease and can change your behaviors. However, if the alcohol consumption continues, eventually cirrhosis sets in and permanent liver damage results. Liver failure is irreversible and is fatal unless a liver transplant is successfully completed in time.

Brain Damage and Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome

Alcohol also causes brain damage, beginning with the very first sip. Over time, the damage can become very noticeable and can cause Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome. Symptoms of this brain disease include:

  • Confusion
  • Loss of muscle coordination
  • Leg tremors
  • Double vision
  • Erratic eye movements

Heart Problems

Alcoholism can cause heart disease by increasing your risk factors for heart attack and stroke. This can happen both directly and indirectly because the alcohol itself raises your blood pressure, while the excessive calories consumed when drinking causes obesity and “beer belly,” which also contributes to high blood pressure.

Lifestyle Interruptions

Beside the above health problems associated with alcoholism, excessive alcohol consumption can also cause a myriad of other problems in your everyday life. Alcoholism is an addiction, and all addictive behaviors eventually cause problems and interruptions to your life.

Many marriages and friendships are ruined due to excessive alcohol consumption. When you’re drunk, you’re more likely to get into fights and arguments with your spouse. You also tend to spend a lot of money on booze, which can cause financial problems in your family.

Alcoholics also are more likely to call in sick and miss work, causing further damage to their relationships, careers and financial health.

If you’re suffering from alcoholism, you probably need professional help to deal with your addiction. Today’s health professionals understand your addiction better than at any other time in history and are prepared to help you overcome it.

There are also new technologies that can help you get sober, including mobile breathalyzers like the Soberlink device, smartphone apps that help you make lifestyle changes and blogs and forums to provide emotional support and remote counseling.

Alcoholism is a life long disease

Help for overcoming alcohol addiction is more accessible than ever before. But it is hard work, and nobody will do it for you. Your health and your future are in your own hands. So take the initiative. Don’t put it off another day. Get the information, support and tools you need to manage your addiction and regain control of your life.