Alcoholism can have an effect on internal organs, regardless of whether or not the alcohol use occurred in a single episode or if it occurred over a many years. The long term effects of chronic alcohol use may include serious debilitating health issues and may be fatal. Chronic and excessive alcohol use can accelerate arthritis and has been associated with dementia, insomnia, depression and anxiety. Additionally, it can lead to organ damage such as kidney disease, liver disease, hepatitis, cirrhosis and digestive problems.

Alcohol Use and the Brain

Excessive alcohol use interferes with normal brain function and how the brain processes information. The effects of alcohol can be seen in behaviors, in mood swings and can have an impact on motor control and impair movement and judgment. An example of this is watching someone try to walk when they are intoxicated…they stumble and fall.

Impact of Alcohol Use on the Heart

Chronic and heavy alcohol users may over time develop high blood pressure, slow circulation, an irregular heartbeat and they may cause damage to the heart muscle. These changes put the alcohol user at risk for heart attack and stroke. Once the heart suffers significant damage, there is no undoing it.


The liver is the part of the body that suffers the most from chronic and excessive alcohol use. Cirrhosis – or a scarring of the liver – is a condition that occurs from alcohol use. The scars are permanent and cannot be healed. Overtime, cirrhosis can be fatal. Liver damage can also lead to the collecting of fluid in the abdomen.

Binge drinking

This occurs more frequently than reported especially on college campuses and has become prevalent among high school students. Alcohol poisoning and asphyxiation are not uncommon when there is rapid and excessive alcohol consumption and can be more lethal than moderate to heavy consumption over many years.

Alcohol Detox

Some individuals require alcohol detox before they can start to work on changing their behavior. IV therapy medical detox is seen as the safest and most effective method for detox available. IV therapy medical detox is administered by a physician and intravenous therapy is important because it allows the medication to be changed to meet the physical withdrawal symptoms which keeps the patient comfortable and allows the patient to complete the detox. Research shows that individuals who are successful in detox are more likely not to return to alcohol use than individuals who were not successful in detox.

Seeking Assistance

If you or a loved one has chronic or excessive alcohol use and in need of assistance, there is help available. St. Jude Retreats offers a cognitive behavioral education program that can help you rebuild your life. Our program teaches guests to use self change and self awareness to reevaluate their decisions and choices and to make choices and decisions that are more productive. Our guests learn to form habits and to develop behaviors that are positive and purposeful. As a result, guests discover that they have an increase in their self esteem and self confidence and that they can have a life that is permanently free from alcohol use.