The abuse of alcohol leads to adverse physical effects, but the psychological effects of alcohol abuse can be just as devastating. The physical effects are typically noticeable and predictable, but psychological effects are subtle. The mind is more complicated to treat than the body, and the effects of alcohol on the brain are problematic in treatment. While alcohol addiction can be treated and users can reach sobriety, the journey may be difficult.
Alcohol Abuse and the Brain
Organ damage is often the physical outcome of alcohol abuse, but alcohol directly and severely affects the brain. The psychological effects of alcohol abuse can be long-lasting, especially if the abuse starts at a young age. Those who begin to abuse alcohol at a young age have a high probability of continuing to abuse it throughout adulthood. Long-term abuse increases tolerance and dependence on alcohol.
Those who depend upon alcohol as a coping mechanism to escape their problems typically increase their drinking habits with time. This downward spiral of negative coping habits can lead to mental illness, primarily clinical depression. The effects of heavy drinking on mental health can vary depending on many individual factors. Also, those abusing alcohol with a family history of alcohol abuse are at the most significant risk.
Short-Term Psychological Effects of Alcohol Abuse
The psychological effects of alcohol abuse present in two forms, short-term and long-term effects. In the beginning time frame of abuse, alcohol disrupts the brain’s chemistry. Short-term effects of alcohol abuse can occur quickly after only a few drinks. However, once sobriety is regained, effects subside. Cognitive function is disrupted while intoxication is present.
Short-term psychological effects of alcohol abuse can appear in any of the following signs and symptoms:
- Disruptions of concentration and focus
- Loss of stress and tensions inducing relaxation
- Loss of impulse control and lowered inhibitions can lead to aggression
- Cognitive decline with the inability to use common sense and make decisions
- Short-term memory loss
- Heightened emotional effects, moodiness
- Loss of coordination, vision, and reflex control
The short-term psychological effects of alcohol abuse can often impair judgments, leading to the poor decision to drink and drive. The loss of inhibitions may lead to risky behaviors one would typically refrain from. The problem with alcohol abuse is that these adverse reactions can occur after only a few drinks. Short-term effects can be deadly.
Long-Term Psychological Effects of Alcohol Abuse
The long-term psychological effects of alcohol abuse can worsen an existing mental illness, such as depression, or develop a new mental health disorder. The devastating brain deficits can be life-changing from alcohol abuse on a long-term basis. Unlike short-term consequences, the long-term psychological effects can be permanent. Some effects can cause severe conditions that result in a lifetime of constant care.
Some long-term psychological effects include:
- Alcohol addiction, severe dependence
- Escalated risk of mental illness, including anxiety and depressive disorders
- Interrupted sleep rhythms
- Blackouts and severe memory lapses
- Learning and memory difficulties, initiation of dementia
- Higher risk of self-harm behaviors and thoughts of suicide
- Psychosis, delusions, and hallucinations
These effects can permanently affect brain function. Unfortunately, long-term alcohol abuse can lead to continued psychological disruptions and memory loss. Aggravated by continual use, the tolerance levels continue to rise until no satisfactory reward level exists. Beyond the psychological devastation. In other words, the physical components of adverse effects cannot be ignored.
Factors Connected to the Psychological Effects of Alcohol Abuse
Certain risk factors can determine a propensity to escalation in the psychological effects of alcohol abuse. Moreover, the risk factors can determine the intensity levels or risk of an individual’s mental status after short and long-term abuse. The following factors would determine the number of psychological effects alcohol could have on a person. No matter how many factors are involved, long-term use resulting in alcohol addiction is the most devastating.
- Present age and age when an individual began drinking
- Educational level
- Family history of alcoholism
- Health status
- The amount of alcohol consumed and how often drinking occurs
Treatment for Alcohol Abuse
The psychological effects of alcohol abuse and dangerous withdrawal symptoms lead to choosing a medically supervised detox program. Medically supervised detox in a professional facility is the best option, with the option of using medication to lessen symptoms. Detoxing from alcohol is a complex and physically draining process. However, the psychological effects of the brain not receiving alcohol make it even more challenging.
Immediately after the detox process, an individualized treatment program needs to be initiated immediately. After all, thinking processes are challenging, so learning new healthy and positive coping mechanisms is vital to success. Also, through individual and group therapy, the patient can learn how to cope with emotions, feelings, and past issues that may cause pain. Treatment of these problems can be initiated, and a new level of health can be reached through diet and exercise.
Find Help for Alcoholism in Tennessee
The psychological effects of alcohol abuse can be devastating, so if you are looking for help in treatment in the Volunteer State, Tennessee Valley Recovery is here for you. After all, we have a proven track record with these challenging effects and can offer medically assisted detox, MAT, and immediate therapy. Also, we can answer all your questions and concerns. Contact our intake professionals for information on beginning assessment and evaluation.Tennessee Valley Recovery