The Short- and Long-Term Effects of Alcohol On the Body

When you drink alcohol, it’s absorbed into your bloodstream-which mean it affects every part of your body. So if you drink more than two standard servings of alcohol a day, you’re going to see both short-term and long-term effects on both your behavior and your health. Is it worth the risks?


Short-Term Effects

For example, when you’re out with friends and have more than a couple of drinks, your central nervous system will be slowed down when the alcohol affects the balance of neurotransmitters, the chemicals that send messages between nerves. You’ll experience:

-Slurred speech
-Drowsiness
-Vomiting
-Diarrhea
-Upset stomach
-Headaches
-Breathing difficulties
-Distorted vision and hearing
-Impaired judgment
-Decreased perception and coordination
-Unconsciousness
-Anemia (loss of red blood cells)
-Coma
-Blackouts (memory lapses, where the drinker cannot remember events that occurred while under the influence)

You may even black out, or run the risk of a serious accident or injury. All of these factors leave you at risk when you’re drinking, even when you are in a private setting. If you drive after drinking—which of course you know you’re not supposed to do—you’ll be more likely to speed, hit another vehicle, or not wear a seatbelt. And alcohol use has been linked to fire injuries, dangerous falls, drowning and industrial accidents.

Alcohol and Driving

Alcohol is a depressant that affects your vision, coordination, reaction time, multitasking ability, judgment, and decision-making. How can you drive safely if you can’t see, think, and move around well and react quickly? Alcohol affects your ability to identify dangerous situations and make good decisions when you know danger is ahead, and it slows your reaction time even if you do make a good decision. In addition, having alcohol in the body while you’re driving messes up your distance and speed perception, making you see things farther or closer than they really are, or makes you feel like you’re driving the speed limit when you’re really speeding.

Hidden Effects

In addition to the obvious effects caused by alcohol use, it also causes changes inside your body. These may include:

-Inflammation of your stomach lining
-Irregular heartbeat
-High blood pressure
-Shortness of breath
-Lowered immune response
-Respiratory infections

Long-Term Effects

Of course, these hidden effects will worsen if you continue to drink in excess over a long period of time. Short-term effects from drinking usually reverse themselves once the alcohol has been processed by and eliminated from your body. But frequent and ongoing alcohol use can not only worsen these effects worse but make them permanent.

Over time, you’ll process information more slowly and experience difficulty in learning new things and in problem-solving. Then there’s your heart. About 25% of people who drink heavily will develop early onset cardiovascular disease, such as cardiomyopathy, where the heart becomes bigger and loses some of its ability to contract, coronary heart disease, increased blood pressure, cardiac arrhythmia and a higher risk of stroke.

A history of heavy drinking also increases the risk of mouth, throat, esophageal, bowel, breast, and liver cancer, not to mention musculoskeletal damage.

Sources:

The Short- and Long-Term Effects of Alcohol On the Body Reviewed by Anna Li on 8:39:00 AM Rating: 5

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