Alcohol and Health: Understanding the Interrelated Symptoms and Effects of Alcoholism

Sara Irshad

Alcoholism is a severe problem that affects many people worldwide. I talked with Heather, a fellow reader struggling with alcohol use. Heather shared her story with me, and she is contemplating moving toward sobriety due to worsening her health issues.

Heather is not alone in her struggles with alcoholism. Alcoholics often deny their addiction, and it is difficult to admit they have a problem.

Alcohol is a fantastic pain reliever, and it can suppress bad feelings, which is why many people drink heavily. However, alcohol can severely affect our bodies, including physical and mental health issues.

Addiction hijacks the nervous system, making it challenging to reduce drinking due to withdrawal symptoms. Also, the brain and nervous system become so accustomed to the neurotoxic effects of alcohol that they don't know how to function without it.

Heather is experiencing physical symptoms such as itchy skin that bruises and breaks easily, cognitive fog, memory issues, poor balance, distended abdomen, diarrhea, numbness in the hands and feet, and feeling cold quickly.

Heather has PTSD and takes several mental health medications to manage her symptoms. Combining mental health medications with alcohol decreases their effectiveness and increases damage to specific organs. Alcohol damages our bodies, and the damage accumulates over time, leading to physical and mental health issues.

Many people are afraid to talk about their struggles with alcoholism. Heather's story could be similar to many others out there. Heather's symptoms can provide vital clues about our bodies holding up under alcohol abuse. To simplify, I have grouped her symptoms into five categories of symptoms as they are interrelated.

Skin Issues

Heather's skin is itchy and prone to breakage and bruising. This symptom has several reasons, given her history of drinking and medications. Alcohol causes an inflammatory reaction in our gut and nervous system, leading to skin issues.

Vitamin deficiencies that affect the skin and coagulation abilities can be caused by heavy drinking. Anemia is common in alcoholism due to iron deficiency and inflammation, leading to itchy skin and easy bruising. Early development of the alcoholic liver disease can also cause skin issues, which can seriously damage the liver.

Cognitive and Emotional Issues

Alcoholism can also cause cognitive and emotional issues. Heather has mental fog and memory issues. Alcohol can cause brain damage, leading to a decline in cognitive abilities. Heavy drinking can lead to anxiety and depression, leading to emotional problems.

Gastrointestinal Issues

Heather suffers from gastrointestinal problems, such as diarrhea and a swollen belly. Excessive drinking can induce gut inflammation, which can contribute to stomach issues. Persistent liver inflammation can result in bloating and gastrointestinal problems.

Nervous System Issues

Numbness in the hands and feet is a symptom of nervous system issues. Alcohol damages the nervous system, leading to numbness in the hands and feet.

Liver Issues

Heather has high liver enzymes, the first sign of liver damage. Heavy drinking can cause alcoholic liver disease, leading to liver inflammation and damage.

In conclusion, alcoholism has severe consequences on our bodies. Understanding the symptoms of alcoholism can provide vital clues about how our bodies are holding up under alcohol abuse.

Alcohol can cause skin, cognitive, emotional, gastrointestinal, nervous, and liver issues. Heather's story reminds us of how important it is to address alcoholism and its effects on our bodies. It's never too late to seek help and start the journey toward sobriety.

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