Physical symptoms of Alcoholism

Long term alcohol abuse (alcoholism) is associated with several physical symptoms and psychiatric symptoms (long term alcohol abuse is one of the major contributors or risk factor of psychiatric disorders such as depression, increased suicidal tendencies, and mood swings etc.). Chronic drinking of alcohol typically increase tolerance and produce increase physical dependence on alcohol. Tolerance and increase physical dependence on alcohol have great impact on drinking and also in stopping drinking alcohol.

Alcoholism has following physical symptoms:

Chronic alcohol abuse leads to several physical symptoms such as cirrhosis of liver (the major cause of morbidity and mortality due to alcoholism), sexual dysfunction, epilepsy, nutritional deficiencies, heart disease, cancers, dementia (known as alcoholic dementia), neuropathy (long term alcohol abuse leads to damage of central nervous system as well as peripheral nervous system), epilepsy, pancreatitis etc. Alcohol abusers also have higher risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, cancer, malabsorption, alcoholic liver disease and other liver diseases. Sometimes (although very rarely) alcoholic ketoacidosis may develop after binge drinking, which need prompt treatment.

Women develop complications of alcohol abuse as well as physical dependence on alcohol more rapidly than men. Women also get intoxicated (develop physical dependence) with lesser quantity of alcohol than men. Alcoholic women have higher risk of breast cancer. The percentage of mortality and morbidity due to alcoholism is higher among women.

Long term alcoholism leads to disturbances in the reproductive system and may lead to infertility in men as well as women. In men chronic alcohol abuse may result in reduction is sperm cont as well as reduction in viable sperm cont which are important factors in infertility. In women alcohol abuse may lead to problems in reproductive function and infertility due to anovlation (ovum maturation or ovulation does not take place), early menopause, reduce ovarian mass, irregular menstruation etc. all of which lead to infertility.

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