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Chronic alcohol abuse may lead to severe, permanent, or deadly side effects. Millions of families are impacted by alcohol addiction each year. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), in 2022, “29.5 million people ages 12 and older (10.5% in this age group) had [alcohol use disorder] (AUD) in the past year.” Early intervention and treatment are the best ways to reduce the risk of health issues caused by chronic alcohol misuse and abuse. West Coast Recovery Centers offers multiple levels of care and medication-assisted treatment (MAT) to help clients safely recover from AUD. 

How Does Chronic Alcohol Abuse Affect the Body?

Chronic alcohol abuse and untreated AUD have a cumulative negative impact on a person’s health. If left untreated, the effects may lead to severe illness, injury, or death. Alcohol is toxic to humans, and the body may lose its ability to effectively remove those toxins after chronic exposure. As stated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

Over time, excessive alcohol use can lead to the development of chronic diseases and other serious problems including:

  • High blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, liver disease, and digestive problems.
  • Cancer of the breast, mouth, throat, esophagus, voice box, liver, colon, and rectum.
  • Weakening of the immune system, increasing the chances of getting sick.
  • Learning and memory problems, including dementia and poor school performance.
  • Mental health problems, including depression and anxiety.

Many people are unaware of the recommended daily alcohol limits or the dangers of regularly exceeding them. Healthcare professionals recommend two or less alcoholic drinks per day for men and one or less for women. Chronically overdrinking reduces the body’s ability to function. Dependency and addiction are some of the most common side effects of chronic alcohol abuse.

The Brain and Chronic Alcohol Abuse

Chronic alcohol abuse has an adverse effect on various regions of the brain, increasing the risk of a person experiencing cognitive issues, including dementia. Excessive alcohol abuse changes the physical structure of the brain by decreasing gray and white brain cell matter. Some people refer to this as brain “shrinkage.” In addition, alcohol abuse significantly affects the hippocampus and limbic system, impacting areas of the brain responsible for creating and storing memories. Individuals with AUD often experience memory problems and other cognitive issues. Brain plasticity may help some people recover cognitive abilities impacted by chronic alcohol abuse. However, some changes may be permanent. 

Managing Permanent Injury or Illness During Recovery

Some effects of chronic alcohol misuse lead to permanent injury or illness. Treatment programs at West Coast Recovery Centers accommodate the needs of individuals with disabilities or other health issues. Managing permanent illness or injury during recovery often requires additional treatment services. The care team may refer clients for treatment if they need more comprehensive medical support during rehabilitation.

West Coast Recovery Centers accommodates permanent injury or illness by doing the following: 

  • Conducting a thorough intake assessment to ensure the care team fully understands the client’s needs 
  • Creating personalized care plans designed to address active, underlying, and co-occurring health issues 
  • Offering multiple treatment programs and therapeutic modalities to help clients manage their condition during treatment and long-term recovery 

Individuals with AUD may require medication-assisted treatment to help them safely achieve sobriety. Clients requiring medications to manage chronic health issues or disabilities caused by alcohol abuse collaborate with clinicians to determine the best path forward for their health and recovery. Often, treatment for AUD and co-occurring conditions requires integrative care.

How Does West Coast Recovery Centers Treat Aud?

Every person experiencing AUD deserves to be treated with respect and dignity. Clinicians work closely with clients and families to determine the best way to address AUD and any health issues caused by their condition. Treatment generally consists of multiple therapeutic approaches combined with prescription medication to provide a fully tailored rehabilitation experience. 

West Coast Recovery Centers treats alcohol abuse and AUD using the following: 

  • Psychotherapy
  • Peer support 
  • Group therapy
  • Family therapy 
  • Alternative holistic therapies
  • Medication-assisted treatment
  • Aftercare planning
  • Alumni services 

Every person has a different recovery experience. The care team works with clients where they are today and provides them with the tools, support, and resources they need to heal from the effects of alcohol. 

Alumni Support and Other Services

Continuing care services, including alumni support, ensure clients continue to make progress in their recovery after completing treatment. West Coast Recovery Centers understands the importance of using continuing care to ensure clients with co-occurring health issues maintain sobriety. According to Alcohol Research Current Reviews, “Continuing care is widely believed to be an important component of effective treatment for substance use disorder, particularly for those individuals with greater problem severity.” 

Alumni and support services smooth the transition from structured treatment to aftercare. Clients and their loved ones can continue to rely on the dedicated clinicians at West Coast Recovery Centers to provide advice, referrals, and additional support. 

Chronic alcohol abuse reduces the body’s ability to rid itself of toxins and repair damage caused by infection or disease. The long-term physical and mental health side effects of AUD include illness, injury, or death. People may experience physical changes to their brain structure, impacting cognition and overall health. In addition to reducing brain function, chronic alcohol abuse may also damage the liver, kidneys, and other organs. Multiple body systems may be irreparably affected if AUD remains untreated for a prolonged period. West Coast Recovery Centers provides evidence-based and holistic treatment approaches to help clients heal from the effects of AUD. To learn more about our programs and services, call us today at (760) 492-6509.

West Coast Recovery Centers ( 370135CP), Valid through July 31, 2025
Jackson House Visalia (540056AP), Valid through May 15, 2025
DHCS Licensing and Certification Division