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How Does Your Body Process Alcohol?

alcohol abuse, alcohol processing

We all understand what happens when you engage in alcohol abuse, you start to get intoxicated, your inhibitions are lowered, and you may even black out if you drink too much. What happens in your body when alcohol is consumed though? Your liver is responsible for alcohol processing, and when large amounts of the substance are consumed in a short period of time then a condition called Steatosis is caused. In some individuals just one binge drinking episode can cause this liver condition. Steatosis is reversible, but if alcohol abuse continues over a longer period then this can result in permanent liver damage that can not be reversed. When this happens liver function decreases, and any alcohol that is consumed can not be processed as effectively or as quickly.

Chronic alcohol abuse can cause difficulty with alcohol processing, but many people addicted to alcohol continue to drink even after they reach this stage. Eventually liver fibrosis will occur, and this can quickly advance into cirrhosis of the liver which can be life threatening. Jaundice is also common when the body has problems with alcohol processing and liver function. Since the liver also removes other waste products when permanent liver damage has occurred the individual may start to develop a yellowish tint or color as the liver can not properly remove waste products in the body that are accumulating. If you or someone you know has an issue with alcohol abuse, or just drinks too much on occasion, then a physician should be consulted to determine if substance abuse is present that requires treatment.