Alcohol has profound effects on the body and the brain that go beyond just the liver. Excessing drinking produces both short-term and long-term consequences that can impact your health, your relationships and your career. Understanding the effects of alcohol in the body and the potential consequences of overindulging may help you make better decisions about your drinking habits.
Alcohol impact on judgement
Even if you aren’t a heavy drinker, each and every drink increases the risk of engaging in inappropriate behavior that has the potential to cause accidents or injuries to you and the people around you. Alcohol works as a depressant and affects our judgement so that we are more likely to participate in anti-social behavior that can cause conflicts and escalate to violence. While judgement is the first thing to be numbed by alcohol, the substance quickly moves on to your brain center and senses, including smell, sight, taste and hearing. Eventually, all your systems become slow to respond, which can lead to dangerous situations.
Ultimately, alcohol is potentially destructive because it has a significant effect on the complex brain structures that regulate all aspects of your body and brain. Within the first couple drinks, alcohol goes to work blocking the chemical signals that allow neurons to effectively communicate. This is what leads to slurred speech, poor memory, slowed reflexes and other common symptoms of intoxication.
Alcohol impact on overall health
Engaging in heavy drinking over long periods of time will also take a toll on your body and overall health. Drinking increases your risk for certain cancers, including: liver, breast, mouth and esophagus. It will also weaken your immune system so that you are more susceptible to illnesses. You may find that you are suffering from the flu and colds more than those around you.
What is considered heavy drinking?
If you are wondering whether your drinking habits are classified as heavy or high risk consider this: men who drink more than 4 drinks during a sitting or 14 drinks per week are labeled heavy drinkers. For women, the numbers are 3 drinks during a sitting or a total of 7 per week. Reducing the amount you drink per week can improve your health and other aspects of your life.
While alcohol is a prevalent part of our culture, drinking does come with well-documented risks. Not only does alcohol affect your brain, it also puts your body under stress. Heavy drinking can have long-term health consequences and make it difficult to function at work and maintain healthy relationships. That is why it is important to make conscious decisions about your drinking habits.
What is the issue with alcohol?
Alcohol is a depressant that actually slows down brain function, which can then affect reaction times, coordination, concentration and problem solving skills. In the short-term, this can affect your ability to function at work, cause conflict within your relationships and increase chances of engaging in other risky behavior.
What is the first thing to be affected when drinking alcohol?
Alcohol affects your brain and your ability to quickly make safe decisions. Because it is a depressant, it directly affects your judgment, which is why drunk driving is such a common and dangerous occurrence.
How does alcohol affect the brain?
Alcohol blocks signals between neurons. For heavy drinkers, this can lead to memory loss and brain shrinkage. Over time, this can cause drinkers to have trouble processing information, exercising verbal learning and fluency, solving problems and controlling impulses.
What happens when you drink alcohol everyday?
Daily drinking can slow your metabolism, encourage bacteria growth in your gut, cause heart damage, lead to pancreatitis, increase your risk for some cancers and weaken your immune system.
What is considered heavy drinking?
For men, more than 4 drinks during a day of a total of 14 per week is classified as heavy drinking. For women, 3 during a day of 7 per week is considered heavy drinking.