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Find out more about the long-term effects of alcohol on your body and how it can impact your work and home life.
When we drink alcohol, it makes us feel chatty, confident and relaxed. This is due to the increased production of the feel-good chemical, dopamine, in the brain. These rewarding effects of alcohol are what makes us want to drink more. For most people, moderate drinking isn’t a problem – the recommended limit is around 6 pints of beer or 10 small glasses of wine per week. However, binge drinking or heavy alcohol use over many years can lead to serious health problems.
Long-term effects of alcohol range from high blood pressure to several types of cancer. Regularly drinking to excess can also impact work and home life. If you often drink over the guideline amounts, it’s worth reassessing your relationship with alcohol. At Delamere, we offer a range of residential rehab programmes that support people through alcohol addiction. We hope that sharing more about the damaging effects of alcohol, both physically and mentally, will help you or someone you love to get the help you need.
If you need help with alcohol addiction, contact our team today and learn more about the different programmes we offer here at Delamere.
Alcohol is a toxic substance that contributes to 3 million deaths each year worldwide and millions more disabilities and health conditions (1). Short-term effects of drinking heavily, such as a headache or nausea, might not feel like much of a concern, but the health effects of each drink can build up over months and years. As well as causing damage to your physical and mental health, alcohol abuse can take its toll on your family, relationships and ability to work or study.
Alcohol effects on the body
One of the most noticeable physical effects of alcohol is weight gain. High in calories and low in nutrients, alcoholic drinks stop your body from burning fat and make you crave unhealthy food. Poor diet is one of the top ten modifiable risk factors for health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease and stroke.
Chronic heavy drinking also puts a strain on multiple organs in the body. The liver is responsible for breaking down toxins and, if exposed to alcohol over a long period, scarring (known as fibrosis) and fatty tissue can form. Many people rely on the liver’s natural ability to regenerate to accommodate their drinking habits. But the long-term effects of alcohol can push the liver past the point of no return in the form of cirrhosis.
If you consume a large volume of alcohol in one sitting, you may experience nausea and vomiting. This is also a common complaint associated with a hangover. Alcohol can cause your stomach acid to attack the lining of the stomach leading to indigestion, heartburn, ulcers and, in the worst cases, cancer. In fact, alcohol is linked to seven different types of cancer, including breast, bowel, mouth, oesophageal, pharyngeal, laryngeal and liver cancer. It’s estimated that 3-4 of every 100 cancers diagnosed are caused by alcohol (2).
Alcohol effects on the brain
Alcohol addiction is classified as a brain disorder because it causes changes in the structure and function of neural pathways. In a normal, healthy brain the pleasure and reward circuit kicks in when we do something we enjoy, such as eating a nice meal or going for a run. The brain then encourages us to repeat the action. The healthy brain is also wired to warn you of dangers and limit risky behaviour. An addicted brain messes around with these fundamental processes, having a detrimental effect on mood, memory, speech and judgement.
Long-term effects of heavy drinking can destroy certain areas of the brain, especially parts of the frontal lobe. This is responsible for higher level functions, such as planning, organising and achieving goals. Prolonged alcohol use can also cause blackouts which erases parts of the short- and long-term memory. People who have abused alcohol from an early age, will have noticeable changes in brain structure as they enter adulthood, which can result in behavioural disorders or ongoing mental health problems.
Alcohol effects on work and home life
Changes caused by long-term alcohol abuse affect all areas of life. Interpersonal relationships can become strained, leading to marital breakdown and divorce. Physical disabilities and neural damage caused by alcohol can make it difficult for people to work, leading to job loss and unemployment. The resulting financial difficulties can even result in homelessness.
The good news is that some of the long-term effects of alcohol can be prevented or, in some cases, reversed by quitting drinking. The longer you remain abstinent, the greater the health benefits. The National Institute for Health suggests that five to seven years of sobriety is the peak time for reversible changes but that some of the building blocks for this can be achieved in the first year following an alcohol rehabilitation programme.
If you’re worried about your drinking and want to prevent the long-term effects of alcohol, start today. We help people who are suffering with varying degrees of alcohol addiction to refocus their lives and enjoy lasting sobriety. Delamere’s purpose-built retreat is nestled in woodland and is the perfect place to relax, recharge and begin your recovery.
We can guide you through a medically supported alcohol detox in safe and comfortable surroundings. You will be appointed a personal focal therapist who will work with you in one-to-one psychotherapy sessions to unlock the underlying reasons for your addiction.
Through evidence-based holistic therapy and somatic healing practices we will help you develop strategies to cope when you return home. Our programmes follow a unique three-stage approach which is tailored to your individual needs. Every guest leaves us with a 12-month aftercare plan to support them and ensure their continued success.
Settle into your new environment
and remove yourself from
Spend time with our therapists to discover what led you to this behaviour in the first placeDelamere treatment model
Set healthy boundaries,
exciting new goals and prepare for
life after Delamere
We believe that whatever the reason for alcohol addiction – whether to overcome stress or cope with trauma – it has to start somewhere. Rather than adhering to the conventional step-based programmes, we look at underlying factors that drive your behaviour. Only by recognising how you arrived at this point can you begin to positively shape your future.
Stopping the cycle of addiction or burnout safely and comfortably
pain is causing
Instilling tools to help facilitate change and encourage continued growth
Everything we do here is about outcomes. Focusing on getting you back to yourself again in the short term, but then growing beyond that when you leave Delamere. Helping you create the foundations for long-term recovery and growth.
There’s no one-size-fits-all here. We listen, learn and tailor our programmes to meet your personal needs, whatever they may be. Your journey to recovery is yours, so we design our programmes with you in mind.
Nature and creativity often bring out the best in people, especially after a difficult period in their life. We offer equine and art therapy, fire ceremonies, nature walks and more to help you relax, reflect and see the world in a new way.
Martin Preston, Founder & CEO at Delamere
Let us help you find a way to cope and move on with your life.Find a programme
If a friend, family member or work colleague is addicted to alcohol, it’s important they get help.
Our admissions team is on hand 24/7 to help answer any questions about our therapeutic programmes and make sure your loved one gets the support they need.
Call the team today on 0330 111 2015 to discuss the different options available.
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