Medical professionals often tell us that too much alcohol is bad for our bodies, but why is that? How does alcohol affects your liver after abusing your favorite cocktail or case of beer for months or years at a time? And how do you know if you might need alcohol addiction help? Here’s a quick rundown:
Learn More: 10 Signs of Alcoholism
How the liver handles alcohol
The liver is a vital organ and can usually process drinking a small amount of alcohol. However the liver can only handle a certain amount of alcohol at any given time, so if your alcohol consumption is more than the liver can deal with by drinking too quickly, or drinking in excess, the cells in your liver struggle to fully process it.
When alcohol reaches the liver, it produces an enzyme called acetaldehyde that is toxic and can damage liver cells and cause permanent scarring, as well as harm to the brain and stomach lining. Scarring of the liver is called “cirrhosis of the liver”. This impairs the liver’s ability to remove yellow pigment and skin can appear yellow, a condition called Jaundice. Liver damage causes fluid to build in extremities (Edema) and decreases the production of blood-clotting factors. This may cause uncontrolled bleeding. The liver will also accumulate fat which can lead to liver failure, coma and death.
Read More: Making the Decision to Get Sober
Alcohol, the liver, and dehydration
The liver also requires water to perform its function effectively. When alcohol enters the body it acts as a diuretic and dehydrates the body and forces the liver to find water from other sources within itself. The severe dehydration is part of the reason why, after a night of heavy drinking you can wake up nursing a large headache, also considered a “hang over.
Regular and heavy drinking over time can strain or upset the way alcohol is metabolized within the body, which can lead to alcoholic liver disease. Alcohol-related liver disease is caused by excessive consumption of alcohol and is a common disease. For most people, moderate drinking will not lead to ALD.
Learn More: Other Effects of Alcohol on the Body
Looking for Alcohol Addiction Help?
If you or someone close to you may be struggling alcohol addiction or dependence, Rock Recovery Center is here to assist you. We provide our clients with the tools and resources needed to overcome alcohol addiction. Contact us today to learn more.
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