Most drugs specifically damage and negatively effects certain parts of your body. Alcohol is the number one mind alter-er that effects every part of your body. Consumption of alcohol over a long period of time can lead to irreparable damage. While an occasional glass of wine with dinner is not much cause for concern, the cumulative effects of drinking wine, beer, or spirits will take its toll. It is immediate to notice the damage it causes to your skin as it widens blood vessels, causing your skin to look red or blotchy. Unhealthy weight gains may occur also as alcohol is high in calories. Weight for weight, the alcohol in a drink have almost as many calories as fat.
To understand alcohol’s impact on your body is by understanding how it affects your central nervous system. Binge drinking can result into blackouts, memory loss and anxiety. Long-term drinking can lead to permanent brain damage, serious mental health problems and alcohol dependence. Young people’s brains are particularly vulnerable because the brain is not fully developed during teenage years. Alcohol can damage parts of the brain affecting behavior and the ability to learn and remember… especially with younger individuals
Slurred speech is one of the first signs that you have had too much to drink. Alcohol reduces communication between your brain and your body which makes coordination more difficult. You may have a hard time balancing and this is what leads to falls while intoxicated.
With slower reaction time to what is going on in your surroundings, you should never drive after drinking. As alcohol causes damage to your central nervous system, you may experience numbness and tingling sensations in your feet and hands.
Drinking also takes its toll on your long term memory. It reduces your ability to think clearly, and you may have an inability to look back and know if you are making rational choices. Over time, frontal lobe damage may occur. This part of the brain is responsible for emotional control, short-term memory, and judgement in addition to other vital roles.
People may think that alcohol helps them cope with difficult situations and emotions, and that it reduces stress or relieves anxiety; but your problems temporarily goes away and you will eventually sober up to the same problems. This fact is what leads to a range of mental health issues including depression, anxiety, risk-taking behavior, personality disorders and schizophrenia. A large percentage of suicides have been linked to excessive drinking; 70% of men who take their own life drink alcohol before doing so and almost one third of suicides among young people take place while the person is intoxicated.
Excessive drinking can disrupt normal sleeping patterns, resulting in insomnia and a lack of restful sleep, which can contribute to stress and anxiety.
Pancreatitis can become a long-term condition causing serious complications as a result of excess drinking. A damaged pancreas may prevent the body from producing enough insulin to utilize sugar. The pancreas is what helps regulate your body’s insulin use and response to glucose. You run the risk of experiencing low blood sugar levels when your pancreas and liver aren’t functioning properly. When your body can no longer manage and balance your blood sugar levels, you will experience greater complications and side effects related to diabetes. It’s important for diabetics to avoid excessive amounts of alcohol.
Drinking takes a heavy toll on your digestive system. It can damage the tissues in your digestive tract and prevent your intestines from digesting food. This will negatively effect your ability to absorb vital nutrients and vitamins that you need. As a result, you may become malnourished. Difficulty absorbing vitamins and minerals from food may also cause anemia. This is a condition in which you have a low red blood cell count. Fatigue is one of the biggest symptoms of anemia.
Besides Pancreatitis, people who drink heavily may develop ulcers or hemorrhoids due to dehydration and constipation. dangerous internal bleeding may also occur. Ulcers can be fatal if not diagnosed and treated early. People who consume excess alcohol are also at higher risk for cancer opposed to people who moderately drink. Frequent drinking can cause a development of cancer in the mouth, throat, esophagus, colon, or liver. People who regularly drink and use tobacco together are at an even higher risk of developing cancer.
Drinking too much alcohol can cause inflammation of the pancreas, which can be very painful – causing vomiting, fever and weight loss – and it can also be fatal. Harmful Substances in the body, such as alcohol is broken down and removed through the liver. Long-term alcohol use also interferes with the ability for the liver to function properly.
Excessive alcohol consumption can permanently scar and damage the liver, resulting in liver cirrhosis and an increased risk of liver cancer. Drinking too much alcohol initially causes fat deposits to develop within the liver. After continued excessive drinking, the liver may become inflamed, causing alcoholic hepatitis, which can result in liver failure and death. Women tend to be at higher risk for developing alcoholic liver disease. This is because women’s bodies are more likely to absorb more alcohol, therefore needing longer periods of time to process it. Women that drink excess alcohol also tend to show liver damage more quickly than men.
Alcohol can affect your heart and lungs. chronic drinkers of alcohol are at higher risk for heart-related issues than people who do not drink. Women who drink are more likely to develop heart disease opposed to men who drink. Circulatory system complications include:
- high blood pressure: Heavy drinking can increase your risk of developing high blood pressure – a leading cause of chronic kidney disease.
- irregular heartbeat: Binge drinking and drinking heavily over longer periods can cause the heart to beat irregularly (arrhythmia) and has been linked to cases of sudden death
- Stroke: It also weakens heart muscles, which can affect the lungs, liver, brain and other body systems, and also cause heart failure
You may initially think that drinking alcohol can lower your inhibitions and help you have more fun in bed. You may have fun at that moment, but it does not outweigh the long term negative effects. Binge drinking makes you lose your inhibitions and affects your judgement. Besides lowering your libido over time, you become less likely to use a condom. Therefore you become more susceptible to contracting a sexually transmitted infection such as chlamydia, HIV or hepatitis. An accidental pregnancy may occur with a person you barely know.
Men who drink to excess are also more likely to experience erectile dysfunction. For women, alcohol causes problems with their menstrual cycle which puts them at a greater risk for infertility. Women should limit their drinks if having any at all while pregnant. Women who drink heavily during pregnancy put themselves at higher risk for premature delivery, miscarriage, or stillbirth.
Skeletal and muscle systems
Long-term alcohol use may prevent your body from keeping your bones strong. Alcohol interferes with the body’s ability to absorb calcium. As a result, your bones become weak and thin (osteoporosis). Excess drinking may cause thinner bones and heighten your risk for fractures if you fall. Fractures may heal more slowly as a result of weakened bones.
It is almost at the point of no return when your body becomes dependent on alcohol. Alcohol withdrawal can be difficult and life-threatening. You often need professional help to break an alcohol addiction that has gotten out of control. Many people seek medical detoxification to get sober which is the safest way to allow you to break the physical addiction. Depending on the risk for withdrawal symptoms, detoxification can be managed on either an outpatient or inpatient program. Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal includes:
- high blood pressure
- irregular heartbeat
- heavy sweating
Seizures, hallucinations, and delirium may also occur in severe cases of withdrawal. It is inportant to get treatment and attending A/A meetings could help battle alcohol addiction. If you or a family member are suffering from alcohol addiction it is better to act sooner than later.