Often, people think of alcoholism as a condition that eventually wrecks a person’s body. However, people seldom think about the effects that alcoholism has on a person’s mental health. Physical health has historically been more studied and more empirical, but our understanding of mental health has grown exponentially in recent years and the way it is affected by substance abuse is significant. Alcohol, as a depressant, slows down brain function and negatively affects the body’s balance of chemicals, which in turn causes forms of brain damage. It is confirmed that alcoholism destroys mental health and destroys a person’s mood regulation.
When someone is a mild alcoholic or a recent alcoholic, long term effects have not taken a hold of the person’s mental health just yet. When alcohol is consumed heavily, even if only once, it has a profound effect on the mind. When overdone, it kills brain cells, slows down brain function, and throws the brain chemicals that are responsible for mood regulation out of whack. Everyone who drinks, especially those who have a mental disorder, have difficulty regulating their moods.
When someone advances from being an occasional problem drinker to being an alcoholic, they have a more serious condition. When alcoholism is in its early stages, it takes the form of lowered function. People in the person’s life, even loved ones, may not be able to tell that the individual is an alcoholic, expect if they look for the signs that the person is not functioning as well in life. Because the person is putting more time, money and energy into drinking than they should, they are reallocating these things from other more important areas of their life, which begin to suffer.
A severe, long term alcoholic will exhibit signs of total dysfunction and physical health problems. It is unlikely that they will be able to follow through with any vocation, be there for their loved ones or meet any of their responsibilities. They will probably begin to have health problems such as gastritis, anemia and eventually cirrhosis of the liver. They will only be a shell of the mental health that they used to be and will be controlled by erratic emotions. Do not take alcoholism lightly. If you or someone you care about it is struggling with alcoholism, seek alcohol counseling as soon as possible.