For many, it starts out as a drink with friends after a long day at work. For many others, drinking started as young as middle school. The result often remains the same, though. People begin to rely a little too much on alcohol to help them feel better after a long day or during stressful times. Before they know it, they’re joining more than 15 million other Americans who have trouble drinking in moderation and suffer from one form of alcoholism or another.
Alcohol destroys a person when used irresponsibly. It can cause you to lose your job, your family, and even your home or car. Many alcoholics start out high-functioning and devolve into homelessness or other serious situations. Beyond that, alcohol can wreck your body from the inside out. Here are just a few examples of how.
Psoriasis Caused by Alcohol
If you already have psoriasis, you may notice that your symptoms are more prevalent after a night of drinking. Alcohol induced psoriasis is caused because drinking weakens the immune system which prevents you from having psoriasis breakouts. There are several factors that go into how severe the breakout is, including how much alcohol you drank, the type of alcohol that it was, and whether you were already feeling a little unwell before drinking.
The liver is responsible for metabolizing the alcohol that you consume, so it is particularly at risk of becoming damaged by overconsumption. The liver turns alcohol into a toxic carcinogenic known as acetaldehyde. Chronic heavy drinking can cause too much of this carcinogen to build up in the system and therefore lead to liver disease. In the early days of overconsumption, you may develop alcoholic fatty liver, which is reversible when caught early, but only if you are willing to stop drinking. Those who continue drinking will eventually develop liver inflammation and may even develop alcoholic hepatitis which leads to scar tissue on the liver. Finally, if you spend years or longer drinking in excess, you’ll develop cirrhosis of the liver, which causes it to stop performing the functions necessary for you to live.
Often, people who drink in excess develop heart problems. Even drinking too much on one condition can cause long-term heart problems, depending on how severely you over-consume. Arrhythmia, which is an irregular heartbeat, is particularly common. High blood pressure and stroke are as well. Finally, some people develop cardiomyopathy, which is when the heart muscle begins to stretch and droop.
Drinking too much can lead to inflammation of the pancreas that is often painful enough to require an ER trip and even admittance to the hospital. If you binge drink in one night, you may develop a case of acute pancreatitis. However, if you drink too much regularly, the problem could become chronic. The inflammation typically occurs when the proenzymes are prematurely activated to turn into pancreatic enzymes. This causes chronic exposure to acetaldehyde. It is believed that about 70% of pancreatitis cases affect people who regularly drink large amounts of alcohol at one time.
The National Cancer Institute has noted that alcohol can increase a person’s risk of developing several types of cancer. Consuming alcohol is even listed as a known human carcinogen in the Report on Carcinogens released by the US Department of Health and Human Services in collaboration with the National Toxicology Program. The more regularly you drink, the more likely to are to develop liver, colon, breast, rectum, or oral cavity cancer. Just under 20,000 cancer deaths per year are alcohol-related. Other types of cancer you may develop include heath and neck cancer, esophageal cancer, and more.
Luckily, there is help available. Drinking does not need to consume your life. If you’ve only now noticed you have a problem and haven’t developed any physical ailments yet, it’s time to quit drinking. Alcoholics Anonymous meetings or other types of support groups are available both in-person and online. They are completely confidential and can help you to get back on the right path.
If you’ve already noticed pain when you drink or that you have other symptoms related to the ailments above, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor. He or she can ensure that you are healthy and provide you with resources on getting sober.