Physical Health Treatment in Alcohol Rehab | PAX Riverbend

What Physical Health Problems Are Addressed in Rehabilitation for Alcoholics?

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Rehabilitation centers handle more than just addiction. Since each case is different, programs need customization to ensure success for the individuals wanting to end their addictive problem and get their life back on track. Sometimes that means handling mental health issues along with alcohol abuse and other times it could mean physical health. Since we rarely think of a treatment program as a medical facility, like a doctor’s office, it can make us question what physical health problems are addressed in rehab for alcoholics?

Alcoholism is a disease. One that causes many types of physical issues in a person who struggles with an alcoholic condition. Like any other disease, it causes other medical problems to come about wreaking havoc with the health of an addicted person. These health issues can range from minor problems to major or more serious health conditions. Rehab centers, sometimes, may have to advise interventions with a person’s health when their condition is serious enough.

Health Problems that Will Need to be Addressed in Rehab for Alcoholics

One major health problem that alcoholism brings out is diabetes. Medical experts state that heavy alcohol consumption can cause a chronic pancreatitis condition. If left untreated, this will lead to a diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes. For severe alcoholic conditions, the staff at a rehab clinic should monitor their blood sugar regularly and administer medications as needed to prevent complications.

Another major health issue to look out for is heart disease. Experts link it to heart disease in a couple of different ways. First, when a person drinks too much alcohol, over a long period, their blood pressure rises. Heart problems occur when they don’t deal with the blood pressure problem properly. Also, alcohol can lead to weight gain. Overweight individuals, whether they drink or not, put more pressure on their hearts because of the extra pounds they carry. The chance of having a heart attack increases for alcoholics, so experts will need to monitor their health closely in rehab.

Short-term health problems that might need addressing in rehab

Alcoholism can cause many health issues. For someone, who consumes even a small amount of alcohol, they can experience balance problems that will last a long time. They may also deal with dizziness, making them feel as if the room is on a constant spin. These will typically stay with the person until the alcohol leaves their system, and they return to a more normal state.

Sometimes, the alcoholic will deal with things like memory loss and dehydration. These occur after they’ve started to sober up. Minor issues, like these, can be dealt with in the treatment center. But, not all rehab programs will address these short-term problems, however. It’s important, for a severe alcoholic, to have experts nearby to monitor their health conditions should one of these minor problems turn into something more severe and life-threatening down the road.

Long-term health conditions that will need to be addressed in rehab

For those who spend a good amount of time drinking, their health can deteriorate to more chronic conditions that they may not be able to reverse. Some long-term effects an alcoholic may experience if they don’t get help for their alcoholism include:

  • Liver damage
  • Brain damage
  • Dementia
  • Seizures

Alcohol wreaks havoc on the brain and the liver. Heavy usage, over a long period, will lead to more serious issues down the road. An alcoholic could end up with cirrhosis of the liver, which can lead to death if the condition is severe. Alcohol can also cause seizure disorders, deficits in learning and decision-making and even memory loss. People won’t be able to bounce back from these serious conditions, very well. They may continue to get worse, but medical professionals will do what they can to keep them going as long as possible. Rehab centers will need to assess a severe alcoholic to determine if other medical interventions are needed to deal with these long-term effects of the alcoholic disease.

Health problems are inevitable with anyone who consumes alcohol. Whether these issues will be minor or major to an alcoholic will depend on how much they’ve consumed over a period, and how aggressive they are to getting help for their problem. Rehab centers can customize a treatment program to eliminate the alcoholic disease as well as treat the medical conditions that result from the consumption of alcohol. For more information, call us at 866-300-6707, we’ll be glad to help you.

Medically Reviewed: September 25, 2019

Dr Ashley

Medical Reviewer

Chief Editor


All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

Dr Ashley Murray obtained her MBBCh Cum Laude in 2016. She currently practices in the public domain in South Africa. She has an interest in medical writing and has a keen interest in evidence-based medicine.

All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.