Alcohol abuse can lead to an array of troubling and life threatening symptoms that can severely affect your life. Medline Plus states that around 17.6 million people live with alcoholism in the U.S. Abusing alcohol can be a difficult habit to break because the strong craving for more alcohol can also lead to troubling symptoms that directly affect your health. One of these is weight loss. In severe cases of alcoholism, weight loss is a prominent effect of the disease.
One of the most profound effects of weight loss is the evident appearance. Alcoholism is a disease, explains the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Because of this the toll it takes on the body can be extreme. It does this by creating additional problems in addition to the direct effects of the disease. Because weight loss in itself can severely affect your body’s ability to function properly and heal itself, the disease can easily take over and make a life threatening move on the impact of the disease.
One of the main causes of weight loss with alcohol abuse is the impact the alcohol has directly on the body. Eioba explains that alcohol in the stomach can trick the stomach into feeling that it is full, therefore less food and nutrients are consumed. When more than one alcoholic beverage is consumed daily on a regular basis, an increase in stomach acid can also occur. This may result in dyspepsia that may include isolated or chronic vomiting or upset stomach, notes the Mayo Clinic. Alcohol also targets the liver—one of the body’s main digestive and waste processing organs. If the liver becomes inflamed, enlarged or fails to secrete toxins freely, it can begin to shut down and stop working. Weight loss, jaundice and overall malaise are common signs of liver disease.
If your body is severely affected by your alcohol abuse, it will be harder for you to hide your disease. Many alcoholics can go a long time with other people not knowing about their addiction to alcohol. As your alcoholism progresses, so does your need to have more alcohol to satisfy the intense craving your body needs. This means you may not take good care of yourself. Not bathing, avoiding social contact and not eating healthy foods are common signs of severe alcohol abuse. This can make weight loss evident to others and yourself as your body gets weaker and tries to shut down.
In order to treat your weight loss problem, you will need to seek medical attention immediately. Alcoholism withdrawal is comparable with drug withdrawal and some of the side effects of getting the alcohol out of your system can be life threatening. If your body weight is low or you are emaciated because of your alcohol abuse, special medical care will be required because of the level of weakness and the affect it may have on your vital organs, explains the American Academy of Family Physicians. Inpatient alcohol treatment includes around the clock medical observation and detoxification. This will assure the body does not go into liver failure or cardiac arrest because of the absence of alcohol.
A medical professional who specializes in alcohol addiction will also be able to help you with your weight loss. He will show you how to once again make healthy food choices so you can regain your strength and be healthy again. He may also suggest attending regular AA meetings so you can continue to stay sober and lead a substance free lifestyle. In many cases, once the alcoholism is treated, you are able to return to eating on a regular basis.