Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant that is found in many fabrics of society and used by almost 70% of American adults. Like almost anything in moderation, alcohol can be a good thing. However, alcohol is an addictive substance and almost one in every twelve adults suffers from alcoholism. Too much alcohol can cause a dizzying array of short-term effects, and it has also been linked to over 200 diseases and health issues. If you or a loved one is struggling with an alcohol problem, please consider all of the good that would come out of rehab and a nutritional detox.
Please continue reading to find out about all of the different physical effects from alcohol, how major nutrient deficiencies affect severe alcoholics, as well as a nice overview of the detox process and how nutrition and vitamin therapy can help!
Physical Short and Long-Term Effects of Alcohol
Drinking alcohol has a wide array of both short and long-term physical and mental health effects. Short-term effects include memory loss, hearing loss, balance problems, lowered inhibitions, anxiety, and blurred vision. These can all take place and impact the human body shortly after consuming alcohol. These short-term effects are the reasons behind hangovers in the morning and blackouts from excessive alcohol intake. They’re also the reasons behind drunk driving crashes and deaths. However, when alcohol starts to become a part of your daily and nightly routine, it can start to affect your long-term health.
The list that includes every long-term effect from excessive alcohol use is a long and daunting one. Instead, I’ll just include a couple. Aside from just looking like you drink alcohol every day, long-term complication from prolonged drinking include heart disease, liver disease, cirrhosis of the liver from vitamin A and E deficiencies, nerve damage, pancreatitis, anemia, epilepsy, diabetes, depression, seizures, strokes, and Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome otherwise known as “wet brain.” Lots of these are caused by severe vitamin deficiencies.
Some alcoholics are so severely addicted that most of the nutrients they receive throughout a day are from alcohol. When the body doesn’t acquire the nutrients it needs to survive, it starts to break down other tissues in the body. This impacts the body’s blood glucose level, which can cause hypo/hyperglycemia or even diabetes. Even IF the alcoholic is getting nutrients from food, the alcohol still prevents the complete absorption of nutrients by inhibiting the production of digestive enzymes. And even if the body successfully breaks down these nutrients, alcohol can strongly inhibit the processes the body uses to absorb the nutrients and use them. This causes lots of problems, especially influencing the person once they decide to quit and go through the detox process.
The Alcohol Detox Process Can Be a Long and Painful One
The alcohol detox process takes about seven to ten days, although rehab programs usually last a minimum of 30 to 45 days, with most benefitting from more than 90 days of treatment and therapy. There are stages of detox that appear, such as a period dominated by delirium tremens (the shakes), nervous system hyperactivity, and risk of seizures. The next stage includes anxiety, low energy, and disturbed sleeping patterns. The last stage includes continued mild anxiety and dysphoria. Though alcohol detoxification can be painful and hard on the body and the mind, vitamin therapy can be a wonderful tool.
I mentioned earlier how excessive alcohol intake robs the body of essential nutrients and vitamins and impacts the body in very harmful ways. Wet brain syndrome is a condition that manifests when the body is deprived of vitamin B1 for an extended period of time, hindering nervous system and brain functions. Anemia is caused by iron deficiency. Cirrhosis of the liver is caused by Vitamin E and A deficiencies.
Vitamin therapy helps combat all of these. A self-explanatory process, vitamin therapy involves high doses of essential vitamins to help during the alcohol detox process. It helps ease the alcoholic’s body back into normality and lessens the pain undergone through alcohol detoxification. Vitamins and minerals will also help power the body and brain as it goes through detox.
Of course, you can still get your nutrients in the normal way: that is, by eating a proper and balanced diet. Look for or cook meals that have ingredients filled with nutrition. For example, incorporating plenty of quinoa, kale or hemp into one's dinner can really help. Vitamin therapy would simply expedite the recovery process, but it's still possible to achieve the same effects by changing one's nutritional habits.
As we have seen, alcohol affects the body in numerous short and long-term ways, and it can cause serious damage to the body. Longer-term addicts rely so heavily on alcohol that it becomes their main source of vitamins and nutrients, which makes the detox process even more painful. In order to help combat this, alcoholics should consider doing vitamin therapy when quitting alcohol. It will help with both mental and physical strength, and leave you a happier and healthier person when you come out on the other side.