Health Risks for Alcoholic Relapse

By Gillian May: For Complete Post, Click Here…

What are the physical health risks of drinking again after a period of sobriety?

As a former nurse and recovering alcoholic, I want to improve education around alcohol and its health risks. For the most part, the general public isn’t as aware of the physical health risks that are particular to relapse; as such, they may not be able to understand some of the dangers. To be clear, this article is not meant to be punitive. Instead, what I hope to accomplish is to provide vital information that most people may not know about alcoholic relapse.

Alcohol is one of the most dangerous drugs, so efforts to reduce harm are critical. Relapse is prevalent with any substance addiction; however, each substance type poses different risks. If you or someone you know has had an alcoholic relapse, keep the following two issues in mind to help reduce potential risks.

Alcohol tolerance changes with relapse.

Chronic use of alcohol will change the way your nervous system works. To cope with alcohol, the nervous system needs to rebalance itself to reduce damage to the brain and neurons. By doing so, a person will have increasing levels of tolerance for alcohol during use. This means that a person will need to use increasing amounts of alcohol to get the same effect.

However, when a person has quit drinking, this tolerance will reset depending on how long the person has been sober. This means that the person now has a lower tolerance for alcohol than they had before getting sober.

A lowered tolerance for alcohol means that a person can be at risk for overdose or alcohol poisoning. This is especially true for people who have struggled with serious alcohol abuse. In the past, they may have been able to drink very high amounts of alcohol without feeling particularly “drunk.” Again, this is because tolerance increases with chronic alcohol abuse over time. Once a person goes through a period of sobriety and then relapses, they may think they can drink the same amount of alcohol they once consumed during peak addiction. However, this is not the case.

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