Alcohol Effects on Kidneys
It’s no mystery that consuming more alcohol than you should have a negative impact on your overall health, but how? Yes, there are drunk driving and blackouts, but there are other ways alcohol can hurt a person’s body. Alcohol can cause great damage to a person’s kidneys.
Chances are if someone has a drink or two every now and again, it won’t have a detrimental impact on their overall health, but prolonged alcohol abuse can put a damper on a person’s kidneys. When someone is on the brink of damaging their kidneys for good, it’s best to look for a good treatment program and an Addiction Intervention. We’ve got you covered.
What Do Kidneys Do?
It’s common not to know how the kidneys function or why they even exist in the first place. For starters, they serve a variety of imperative functions. Kidneys keep out harmful substances and toxins from the body and blood. It sort of acts as a filter, if you will. Not only that, but kidneys also help maintain a healthy amount of water in the body. This is important because if these functions were to fail, the body would suffer as a direct result.
In a general sense, alcohol has a great impact on the kidneys. In a more specific sense, alcohol impacts the kidney’s role in filtering out harmful substances and toxins. For example, alcohol can deplete the kidney’s filtering abilities which would cause them to have to work harder, resulting in more toxins building up in a person’s blood.
In addition to all of this, there’s also the aspect of maintaining healthy water levels. Alcohol dehydrates an individual; because of this alcohol can have an impact on their kidney’s ability to maintain a healthy level of water (dehydration also has an impact on other organs and cells within the body).
Alcohol And Kidney Disease
There are many causes that could be associated with kidney disease. Whether it’s chronic alcohol abuse, family history, or anything else, kidney disease is no joke. There are a great number of factors that could influence kidney disease, but alcohol is one that significantly increases the likelihood of this happening.
The more an individual consumes alcohol consistently, the more their kidneys can be pushed to the brink of damage and disease. When this happens, someone may experience the following:
- Bone weakness
- Susceptibility to illness
- Swelling of the legs, feet, and arms
- Sexual dysfunction
- Central nervous system damage
There are many alcohol-specific factors that contribute to kidney damage and disease; one of these includes binge drinking. Binge drinking is when someone consumes a vast amount of alcohol in a short period of time, which floods their system with alcohol and increases the body’s blood alcohol content. The kidneys can suffer as a result, which can lead to lasting damage.
Other Effects of Alcohol Use
When someone abuses alcohol often, they put themselves at risk for high blood pressure. Some studies have shown that when someone has more than two drinks in a day, they can develop high blood pressure, which is one of the major causes of kidney disease.
Alcohol abuse can also cause liver disease. When someone suffers from liver disease, the kidneys have to work even harder to help the body maintain optimal health. The kidneys need to be able to maintain a healthy level of blood flow and filter out the blood, and liver disease could have a detrimental impact in that regard. There are a countless number of individuals throughout the United States who suffer from substance use disorder and kidney damage as a result of liver disease.
What is Alcoholism?
Alcoholism is when someone has an undeniable desire to consume alcohol. This is without a doubt a most dangerous form of substance use disorder. Those who suffer from alcoholism can’t help but wonder when they’ll get their next drink, and this is the root of the behavior that makes it so difficult to stop. This thought process makes it more and more difficult to resist the temptation to abuse alcohol. Because of this, the individual becomes more and more seduced and this pattern of behavior winds up leading to alcoholism.
When someone uses alcohol, the pleasure center of their brain is activated. Because of this, their judgment, feelings of pleasure, and desires become a disorder. Down the road, these desires become immensely difficult to relieve. This causes individuals to set alcohol abuse as their top priority.
Those who abuse alcohol (as well as other substances) have a habit of placing their desires above all else. This has been known to have a detrimental impact on the relationships and family dynamics of millions. This particular arena is known as neglect. There are a few signs to know whether or not someone is neglecting their family, and one of the more obvious ones is the area of finance.
When someone is drinking every night and abusing alcohol, their finances can take a hit over time. Alcohol is easily accessible, but it’s also expensive. The more a person drinks, the more money they’re spending on alcohol, which can become extremely stressful for those who are in a tight financial situation. It’s because of this and many other factors that alcoholism is so dangerous. Addiction has the potential to tear families apart and kill relationships. This is why it’s so important to recognize the signs and symptoms of alcoholism.
How Do I Know if I Suffer from Alcoholism?
While alcohol abuse is no mystery for some, it is difficult to spot for others. Suspicions are one thing, but cold hard facts are something entirely different. Those who are wondering as to whether or not their loved one is suffering from alcoholism can assure themselves by brushing up on the signs and symptoms of alcoholism.
Recognizing whether or not there is a problem is a necessity, and sometimes it can be hard to discern as to why someone is drinking so much. Some symptoms of alcoholism include the following:
- Lack of interest in activities
- Not knowing how to say no to alcohol
- Constantly under the influence
- Constant lying
- Mood swings
When someone calls a spade a spade, it means the problem is real, and calling alcoholism what it is can be terrifying for some individuals. Some people can become so afraid that their fear manifests itself in denial. In these circumstances, it’s incredibly important that a person’s sense of reality is kept in check. However, not only is this imperative for those who have a loved one suffering from addiction, but it is equally as important, if not more, for those who are suffering themselves.
Contributing Factors of Alcoholism
It’s not easy to find healthy coping mechanisms for all that life has to throw at you. It’s oftentimes more difficult to cope in healthy ways than unhealthy. Sometimes the external factors pushing someone towards alcoholism are just too great. Some factors of alcoholism include the following:
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Peer pressure
- Marital issues
- Bipolar Disorder
- Death of a loved one
For most people, alcoholism doesn’t come out of nowhere. There’s a false notion out there that those who suffer from alcoholism do so just because they felt like having a drink. As mentioned above, there are plenty of examples of circumstances in which a person might be vulnerable to developing an alcohol use disorder.
Treatment for Alcohol Use Disorder
For those who suffer from alcoholism and want to prevent kidney disease and damage, the best course of action to take would be to seek reliable treatment options for their substance use disorder. There are plenty of options available for those who are suffering from an addiction, some of which include the following:
- Inpatient/Residential Treatment
- Outpatient treatment
For those who suffer from a severe case of alcoholism, inpatient residential treatment is the best option. Lasting anywhere from 28 days to six months, inpatient residential treatment allows an individual to get the help they need for their addiction while remaining in the comfort of a treatment facility. This program allows weekly (as well as daily) access to professional therapists and psychiatrists and 24/7 access to professional medical personnel.
Lasting anywhere from 3 months to over a year, outpatient treatment allows an individual to reside in the comfort of their own home while attending treatment for their substance use disorder throughout the week. Outpatient care allows anywhere between 10-12 hours of weekly access to professional therapists and psychiatrists. This sort of addiction treatment is best for those who either suffer from a milder case of addiction, or those who are trying to find a good point of transition from the treatment facility to the outside world.
Find The Help You Need at Addiction Intervention
There are a plethora of resources available to educate oneself on the correlation between alcohol and the kidneys. Some of them you can find by speaking to a member of our staff. At Addiction Intervention, our goal is to meet each patient where they’re at individually so that we can take the best course of action for their recovery journey. If you or a loved one are interested in finding out more, contact us today.