The Effects of Alcohol on the Body

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Immedidate Effects of Alcohol

When you drink alcohol, it has more effects on the body that you might initially realize. From the second that you consume the first sip, alcohol starts affecting your body. While having that occasional glass of wine with dinner isn’t cause for concern, a cumulative effect of regularly consuming different kinds of alcoholic beverages can take its toll on your body.

While you can safely consume a glass a day, the cumulative effects of frequent drinking can be serious.

As soon as you start drinking, you will notice the pleasurable effects of alcohol. Because these feelings are undeniable, you will forget many of the unpleasant or negative effects. Drinking will make you feel sociable, confident, happy, and relaxed. But, it can also make you have warped thinking, impaired memory, poor judgment, slowed reflexes, impaired motor functions, and suffer many more problems and limitations.

From that first sip, 33% of the alcohol you consume is absorbed into the bloodstream. After it is in your bloodstream, it is diffused into almost every tissue in your body because of the high permeability of cell membranes. When you consume more alcohol than your body is capable of handling, your blood alcohol content (BAC) will increase.

When your BAC increases, the effect varies depending on the presence of medications or drugs, general health, weight, gender, and age.

Long-Term Effects of Alcohol

Inflammatory damage – An organ that helps break down harmful substances and remove them from your body, the liver is essential to your health. Long-term alcohol consumption interferes with the removal process.

Frequent, long-term use of alcohol also increases the likelihood of liver disease and chronic inflammation of the liver. Scarring of the liver caused by inflammation is known as cirrhosis. When scar tissue forms, the liver is damaged and eventually destroyed. When the liver becomes damaged over time, it becomes much more difficult to get toxic substances removed from your body.

Endocrine glands and digestive system – Drinking too much will cause digestive enzymes, produced by the pancreas, to activate abnormally. When there are too many of these enzymes, or when they build up, an inflammation called pancreatitis can result. Pancreatitis has serious complications and can become a chronic condition.

Sugar levels – Your pancreas works to regulate your body’s use of insulin in response to sugar. When your liver and pancreas aren’t working as they should, you might suffer from low blood sugar. When your pancreas has been damaged, your body might not produce enough insulin to properly utilize the sugar, which can cause too much sugar to be in the bloodstream.

Central nervous system – One of the first indicators of having drunk too much is slurred speech. Too much alcohol will also affect the communications between your body and brain causing coordination issues. You might lose balance. Never drink and drive. As you drink more, the alcohol might damage your central nervous system, even more, causing tingling sensations and numbness in your hands and feet. Your ability to create long-term memories decreases and your ability to think rationally is affected. Your frontal lobe – responsible for emotional control, judgment, and short-term memory – can be damaged over time.

Depression – Alcohol has been tied to depression. It can lead to anxiety, violent behavior, withdrawal from society, and other mental health issues. When one suffers these symptoms from drinking, there are many risks – domestic violence, motor vehicle accidents, unprotected sex, injury, and suicide. These risks are very real and damaging, so don’t let alcohol take control of your life.

Dependency – Those who drink heavily might form an emotional and physical alcohol dependency, which can be life-threatening and extremely difficult. To break the bonds with alcohol addiction, and medical detoxification might be necessary. Alcohol withdrawal can lead to many symptoms. Here are a few common symptoms many individuals suffer:

  • Heavy sweating
  • Nervousness
  • Anxiety
  • Tremors
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • High blood pressure
  • Delirium
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures

Seek Medical Treatment

Because the damages caused by frequently drinking alcohol on a long-term basis can be serious, it is imperative to seek medical treatment right away. If a dependency has developed, medical supervision is necessary to limit the symptoms and to reduce the risk of further damage to the body. Also, the sooner you stop drinking, the more likely you are to suffer limited symptoms and have a successful recovery. Alcohol addiction cannot be conquered alone, and there are treatment facilities that address the different needs of those struggling with addiction. Don’t put off seeking the help that you need to successfully overcome alcohol abuse and addiction.

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