When people think about the short-term effects of alcohol consumption, they usually do not think of them as being very serious. However, as too many of us know, it’s a very fine line between feeling a little tipsy and being obnoxiously – and even dangerously – drunk.
The impairment that occurs after we drink alcohol happens because alcohol the brain’s communication pathways are affected and unable to process information normally. This is the reason for the slurred speech, bad judgment, decreased inhibition and many of the other behaviors associated with intoxication.
The Effects of Alcohol:
● After just one drink, the body begins to respond to the alcohol. The very first stage is the most enjoyable for the drinker as well as those around him or her. Inhibitions are lowered just slightly, and usually the person’s overall mood is lightened. However, it is a fast decline through the next several stages of intoxication, and the more you drink the less able you’ll be to accurately gauge which one you’re at.
● The rate at which alcohol metabolizes varies from person to person, which is why intoxication levels are determined using blood alcohol percentage readings. As alcohol levels in the bloodstream rise, dizziness and nausea set in, often followed by vomiting. Beyond this level of intoxication, the stakes get even higher. We are now in binge drinking territory and this is when people have complete blackouts. Take it too far, and the result can be coma or even death from alcohol poisoning.
We all know there are other consequences of drinking that are by-products of the way our brains are affected. We might embarrass ourselves, or cross a line and lose a job or a friendship. There are also the more serious repercussions that everyone knows about, but seldom mention. From getting in trouble with the law to causing injury or death to yourself or someone else, the possible side effects of drinking too much extend beyond the damage it does to your body.
Long Term Effects of Alcohol on the Body
Adversely affected by long-term alcohol use are most of the body’s organs. Continuing to consume large amounts of liquor over several years is literally like a slow poisoning. The organs are not able to process the substance quickly enough and they inevitably begin to fail. The long-term effects of alcohol are a bit more insidious because they can take years to manifest. By the time symptoms begin to surface, it is often too late to save the organ.
● When you drink excessively or habitually, your heart can become damaged. The muscles become weaker and the heart is not able to perform its duties efficiently, which can lead to serious problems like high blood pressure and even strokes.
● Something many drinkers don’t realize is that over time, regular alcohol use can weaken the immune system. Chronic drinkers are much more likely to fall prey to an illness or infection for this reason.
● Because the liver is put under so much stress trying to process alcohol, regular consumption can lead to permanent liver damage. Many alcoholics develop cirrhosis of the liver, meaning the organ itself becomes scarred. This can be fatal if not treated early.
● The pancreas does not fare well, either, when it comes to excessive drinking. This is one of the reasons many drinkers have chronic indigestion. Repeated exposure to alcohol often leads to pancreatitis. This means that the organ becomes severely inflamed and unable to function properly. Pancreatitis can kill if left untreated.
● Additionally, studies have drawn parallels between drinking and certain types of cancer. The fact is that people who drink a lot have much higher rates of breast, liver, throat, and esophageal cancer than those who do not.
The effects of alcohol on the body do not fade away with the morning hangover. When ignored, they will slowly become serious – and sometimes deadly – health problems.
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