Alcoholism related Complications and their Treatment

Research Based
Medically reviewed by - Dr. MESSANGA Dimitri, MD Written by - Dr. Shaheen Shah


What is alcoholism?

Alcoholism is the overconsumption of alcohol to the point that it impairs human health. Alcoholic persons become habituated to alcohol despite knowing of its harmful effects, and they suffer from psychological distress when trying to avoid consuming it. There are certain factors to consider when a person is suffering from alcoholism. They are as follows-

Within one year of time frame,

  • A person should be consuming significantly higher levels of alcohol than previously done.
  • Alcoholic cannot avoid alcohol consumption despite his desire to do so.
  • He has a strong desire to consume more and more every other day.
  • Alcoholic person is taking a very long time to recover from the alcohol effects.
  • He is unable to perform his day-to-day activities as well as his responsibilities towards his family and relatives.
  • He continues to consume alcohol even after knowing it’s after effects (viz; family problems, emotional distress) of consumption.
  • He is compromising his social and family time because of alcohol consumption.
  • Alcoholic drinks even in life-threatening conditions, such as driving or riding other vehicles.

He is facing alcohol withdrawal signs like anxiety, depression, and tremors when trying to stop consumption . 1What is Alcoholism? | Researched based study from

Alcoholism is the overconsumption of alcohol to the point that it impairs human health


Symptoms of alcoholism

Alcohol consumption may have one or more of the following symptoms. They are as follows-

  • He may have prolonged feelings of dizziness, drowsiness, mood swings, and anxiety.
  • He may frequently lose consciousness during drinking periods.
  • Unable to walk and talk properly and having motor nerve coordination problems.
  • He is experiencing thinking problems and memory failure(Signs & Symptoms of Alcoholism 2Symptoms of alcoholism | Researched based study from


Types of alcoholism

Research has found that there can be many categories of drinkers, but finally, at some point, they all suffer from alcohol habituation or alcoholism. Alcoholism can be of the following types-

Community drinking

  • Community drinking is the initial stage when non-drinkers may indulge in drinking under the societal influence.
  • This stage starts slowly in social gatherings and parties and may continue for long hours.

Emotional drinking

  • Emotional drinking has usually done to relieve stress and pain and to control emotions.
  • During this time, a person may drink heavily or slowly for long durations.

Continuous drinking

  • Continuous drinking is the last stage when a person experiences withdrawal symptoms when trying to quit.
  • Moreover, during this time, a person continues to over-drink for the entire day skipping all meals.

Chronic drinking

  • It is also known as chronic alcoholism or dependent drinking and is the last drinking stage.
  • A person becomes addicted and starts experiencing withdrawal symptoms within hours if he doesn’t take alcohol.
  • These chronic drinkers sell their personal belongings to buy alcohol 3Symptoms of alcoholism| Researched based study from


Complications of alcoholism

Complications of alcoholism may be for a transient period or prolonged period.

Transient period alcoholism complications

Chronic drinkers often experience transient complications that are for a short duration and may have instant results. Some of them are as follows-


  • Excessive alcohol consumption creates dehydration in the whole body, and the blood vessels connecting the eyes get swelled, making it look tired, inflamed, and red. Moreover, alcohol also expands the blood vessels in the eye’s sclera portion (i.e., white of the eye).

Jumbled speech

  • Alcohol consumption slows the brain’s reflexes and creates motor coordination problems.
  • Over-drinking restrains the glutamate production responsible for reviving energy for doing bodily activities. This results in disorganized speech and a slowing down of movements in drinkers.


  • Alcohol suppresses the serotonin hormone production responsible for creating a happy mood to feel good.
  • Alcohol increases palpitation and decreases the blood glucose level.
  • Alcohol makes drinkers experience nervousness and anxiety and often feel confused.

Eye problem

  • Alcohol consumption slows eye reflexes (i.e., constriction and dilatation of the eye’s pupil). As a result, drinkers’ vision becomes blurry, making it difficult to adjust to very bright and dark light.

Increased weight

  • Alcohol suppresses our body’s fat burning and acts as an appetizer, making one take excess food that might be unhealthy. Thus alcohol contributes to weight gain.

Nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain

  • Alcohol increases the acid secretion of our stomach and delays digestion making one get the feeling of nausea and vomiting.
  • Excess acid secretion irritates the stomach lining and sometimes causes abdominal pain.

Excessive perspiration

  • Alcohol consumption increases the cardiac rate and increases the blood pressure of our body.
  • Alcohol raises the body temperature and causes excessive sweating.


  • Excess alcohol intake affects the brain through various mechanisms changing its electrical activity and leading to convulsions and seizures.
  • Moreover, decreased blood pressure and dehydration are the triggering factors for attacks.


  • Alcohol suppresses the central nervous system, increases heart rate, causes breathing difficulty, and induces snoring. Thus alcohol interferes with having a good sleep during the night.

Prolonged period alcoholism complications

  • Prolonged period alcoholism complications occur due to excessive drinking. Some of the long-term complications are as follows-

Heart disease

  • Overdrinking the alcohol increases the blood pressure in the heart vessels, causing stroke and cardiac failure.
  • It also damages the heart muscles impacting the cardiac rhythm, which finally leads to stroke.

Liver dysfunction

The liver processes alcohol in small amounts. In heavy drinkers, the liver cannot process the excess alcohol and, as a result, it remains deposited, leading to severe liver complications such as-

Fatty liver (enlarged diseased liver)

  • Alcoholic fatty liver is the excess fat deposition in the liver because of overconsumption of alcohol. Our normal liver can process our food substances and remove the unwanted toxic waste of the body.
  • Inflammation of the liver disrupts normal liver activities leading to severe complications in the patients, such as liver fibrosis (excess collagen protein deposition in the liver), which can finally lead to complete liver damage.

Alcoholic hepatitis (liver cells start to die)

  • Alcoholic hepatitis is liver inflammation in which the liver cells start to die, causing complete liver damage. Such alcoholic hepatitis occurs in chronic drinkers, and the liver cannot perform normal functions like producing bile juice to process digestion or remove harmful products.

Alcoholic cirrhosis (liver tissues get damaged)

  • Alcoholic cirrhosis is the last stage of liver disorder, and the liver gets wholly damaged, forming a type of tissue known as scar tissue in the liver.
  • The scar tissue development in the liver prevents normal liver activities like normal blood flow to the liver.
  • It hampers any processing of food products and toxins required for healthy processing of the body.
  • Eventually, cirrhosis impairs liver activities leading to fatal consequences in patients.

Kidney dysfunction

  • The kidney’s function is to filter blood from harmful substances. In heavy drinkers, alcohol disrupts the body’s hormones, electrolytes, and fluid balance, making it harder for the kidney to purify the blood.
  • Alcohol-related body dehydration further prevents the kidney from performing its normal function and leads to kidney malfunctioning.

Stomach problems

  • Excess drinking causes cause a lot of stomach acid secretion, which may lead to many stomach diseases, such as gastric ulcers, bleeding, and cancer.

Brain problems

  • Alcohol interferes with brain functioning. Alcohol shrinks the primary brain areas, i.e., the cerebellum and cerebral cortex, responsible for various body movements.
  • Alcohol also disrupts the neurotransmitter balance of the brain, causing significant brain problems like thinking, balancing, blurry vision, and speech problems.
  • Alcohol is also responsible for serious brain problems like dementia and Wernicke–Korsakoff syndrome (caused due to thiamine deficiency) 4Complications of alcoholism | Researched based study from


Treatment for alcoholism

Management of Alcoholism.

The approved drugs (by the United States Food and Drug Administration) to treat alcoholism are as follows-


  • Campral (acamprosate calcium) is believed to help in refraining from drinking and helps regain the chemical balances of the brain previously impaired due to alcohol consumption.
  • Revia or vivitrol helps avoid excess drinking by reducing the joyful feelings of alcohol consumption.
  • Antabuse (disulfiram) blocks the alcohol metabolism of the body and causes distressing symptoms like vomiting, skin redness, and nausea 5Treatment of alcoholism| Researched based study from
  • Apart from these medicines mentioned above, alcoholism treatment is of the following four stages. They are as follows-

Alcohol detoxification

  • Detoxification is the most crucial and complex part of alcohol treatment. Within a few hours, the alcohol-quitting person may experience severe symptoms, which may be hard to tackle by ordinary individuals, .so it is always advisable to do the detoxification step under the supervision of a healthcare professional.

Rehabilitation programs

  • Rehabilitation programs are the most essential and well-designed program for those willing to quit alcohol. Generally, these programs treat most severe alcoholic patients.
  • The patient stays in a rehabilitation center for a defined period depending on the severity of the alcoholism.
  • The programs are for one month, two, or three months depending on the patient’s need.
  • Health caregivers are available round the clock, and they will give patients the required knowledge about the dos and don’ts after the rehabilitation program. These include knowledge regarding how to avoid alcohol cravings, the importance of restraint maintenance programs, and how to tackle oneself of severe health deterioration.
  • Rehabilitation centers also provide yoga and meditation sessions to help their patients escape the trauma of alcoholism. Meditation helps the patients get enough relaxation and mental peace of mind.
  • Many research studies have positively perceived yoga and meditation as powerful anti-alcoholism therapy.
  • Rehabilitation centers also provide art and music classes for their patients. Therapists giving knowledge of music and art help patients relieve from the two powerful evils of alcoholism, viz, stress and anxiety.


  • After completing the rehabilitation stage, the patient should make an adequate effort to return to everyday life without alcohol.
  • One needs to give enough time to revive life, as before; keeping in touch with the support services like Alcoholics anonymous can help a person to get things better in a smoother way and make the necessary life changes for a healthier tomorrow.

Alcohol Counseling

  • Counseling is one of the essential parts of alcoholism treatment.
  • Counseling patients help them open their minds regarding alcohol misuse and its harmful impacts on their friends and families.
  • Counseling allows patients to share their good and bad times and their probable triggers for alcohol.
  • The health care givers will work on the issue relating to alcohol-triggering factors and try to sort it out with reasonable solutions.
  • The health professionals will also try to identify the societal factors (viz; family, friends, work environment) triggering the drinking habit. Such counseling will undoubtedly help the patient get the outline of how he can keep his body pure without alcohol.


Myths related to alcoholism

Just like any other health problem, alcoholism also has many myths and stories which need to stop believing.

  • Alcohol creates a problem only when it starts in the early stages. fact is alcohol always causes health issues if not taken in moderation.
  • Coffee helps to overcome the ill effect of alcohol ,fact is coffee may help you in staying alert but will not help in cognitive functions.
  • Switching between alcoholic beverages from beer to whisky to wine helps in controlling the amount of alcohol amount in the blood, always remember alcohol is always dangerous, whatever form you are taking.
  • Eating food before alcohol is good to avoid the ill effect of alcohol. fact is no food is going to help if you are taking an uncontrolled amount of alcohol.
  • Reactions to alcohol are the same for everyone, alcohol effects are different for everyone depending on the age and state of the person.
  • One drink is not going to affect your decisions, alcohol is always hindered the cognitive action of a person whether taking in a small amount.
  • Some other myths with no proper piece of evidence are,
    drugs intoxication is more than alcohol, a shower with cold water can nullify the alcohol effects if any person drinks too much and is about to pass, then a good sleep helps him to get sober, all the dark liquor are healthy options, throwing up after drinking can help you get sober.


The Bottom line

There are many government-approved centers to treat alcoholism. For example, in the United States, the SAMHSA (substance abuse and mental health administration) is the service center to provide information relating to alcoholism and also probable guidance for alcohol treatment. With this, many states are also coming up with these alcohol-treating facilities to give patients needing help at an affordable price 6Takeaway | Researched based study from

Alcoholism has become a common problem in every household, nook, and corner of the country. Every individual should have adequate knowledge of alcohol misuse. Proper advertising in television and communication media and road shows in rural areas should be encouraged to make aware of the probable consequences of alcoholism. Adequate awareness will make each individual’s life better and worth living.

Disclaimer: The user acknowledges that this article's information is being offered for informational purposes only. Every attempt has been made to guarantee that the article is informational and correct. If they have any doubts or questions about their health, we firmly advise our readers to visit a doctor or other healthcare professional.

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