Alcohols Effects On Your Brain and Body
Alcoholism was first recognized as a disease in 1956 by the American Medical Association. Alcohol is the most commonly used addictive substance in the United States. 17.6 million people, or one in every 12 adults, suffer from alcohol abuse or dependence along with several million more who engage in risky, binge drinking patterns that could lead to alcohol problems according to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence.
This article is meant to explain and inform people on what exactly alcohol does to us on a physiological level.
Negative Side Effects Of Prolonged Alcohol Abuse
A lot of people love drinking, but this is a very dangerous pastime when we are not able to maintain moderation like so many of us have not been able to. This is especially dangerous to a young brain that is still developing because of how damaging alcohol abuse is to the brain and other vital organs.
What are the Short and Long Term Effects of Alcohol?
There are dozens of negative side effects to alcohol abuse, in the short and long run. These effects can be extremely damaging to every aspect of an addict’s life.
Some of the short term signs and side effects of alcohol abuse include:
- Lower inhibitions
- Decreased reaction time
- Slowed brain activity
- Poor vision
- Slurred, disoriented speech
- Alcohol poisoning
- Difficulty breathing
Here are some health risks and other long term effects associated with repetitive over consumption of alcohol:
- Intense physical and mental cravings for alcohol
- Withdrawal symptoms when not drinking including nausea, vomiting, shaking, sweating, seizures and death
- Lapses in memory (complete black outs)
- Cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver
- Physical and mental deterioration
- Legal issues
- Marital problems
- Decreased performance at work and/or job loss
How does alcohol affect the digestive system? Alcohol’s effect on the digestive system creates unpleasant symptoms for consumers. Irritating the entire system, resulting in vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain and internal bleeding. These effects can be seen after one time use, long term abuse and during withdrawal during detox.
How Does Alcohol Affect The Brain?
Alcohol that is not broken down in the liver runs through the rest of our body through our blood stream. This includes passing through our brain’s cerebral cortex, medulla, hypothalamus, hippocampus, cerebellum, and frontal lobe. Alcohol can affect parts of the brain that command our movement, speech, judgement, inhibition, and memory. This is why we see drunk people having difficulty walking, slurring their speech, acting impulsively and having memory lapses. We have probably been in that state many times ourselves, and seeing this can be a harsh reminder of how we used to be. After prolonged use of alcohol negative side effects such as depression and anxiety disorders may develop.
What are the Long Term Effects of Alcohol on the Body?
Alcohol is rapidly absorbed into the blood, stomach and small intestine immediately after a drink is ingested. The effects are felt within 5 to 10 minutes after drinking. Blood alcohol content usually peaks between 30-90 minutes after being consumed and is carried throughout every organ in the body. Many people question, “What does a beer do to the body?” Or, “What effect will hard liquor have on me?” The answer is dependent on the amount of alcohol consumption and the time period that the alcohol is consumed. The more consistently a person drinks alcohol in excess, the worse the negative effects on his or her body will be.
Here are some of the ways alcohol will affect your body after prolonged use:
- Immune system – an immune system weakened by alcohol consumption cannot properly fight off germs, viruses and illnesses
- Muscles and bones become weakened
- Erectile dysfunction and infertility are common side effects of overconsumption
- Stroke, heart attack and cardiomyopathy (poisoning of the heart’s muscle cells) are common amongst heavy drinkers
Here to Help
If you or a loved one is struggling with alcoholism, please contact us for help; we have been there. We have found through many different experiences a way of life that is much more gratifying, and pleasurable as time goes on. At Pathfinders Recovery Center we are here to share this message of redemption and recovery with the world. At the end of my own alcoholism I had wanted to stop for about two years but could not do it on my own. We are a community of men and women that walk through this sober life together and we never have to be alone again.