The Effects of Alcohol

We do not receive any commission or fee that is dependent upon which treatment provider a visitor ultimately selects. It causes cardiomyopathy, which is the stretching and drooping of heart muscle. It causes myocarditis, which is inflammation of the heart muscle, and it also causes arrhythmia, which is irregular heartbeat. The information on this site should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care or advice. Contact a health care provider if you have questions about your health. If you have questions about whether it is safe for you to drink, talk with your health care provider.

How does alcohol affect a person’s body?

Alcohol interferes with the brain's communication pathways, and can affect the way the brain looks and works. These disruptions can change mood and behavior, and make it harder to think clearly and move with coordination.

WKS can be treated with abstinence from alcohol and proper nutrition, but it may take years to fully recover. Alcohol affects the central nervous system, causing many short-term effects like slurred speech, blurred vision, weakened muscles, decreased reaction time and impaired memory. When alcohol is consumed excessively, it can cause cell damage in the effects of alcohol on the body central nervous system, creating a condition known as neuropathy. Neuropathy causes alternating feelings of weakness, burning, pain and numbness in the feet and hands. Regardless, the presence of alcohol in the blood at all will have effects on the body. The recommended maximum intake of alcohol is 2 drinks per day for men and 1 drink per day for women.


The size of your body, whether or not you have eaten recently, and the rate at which you drink all affect how your body processes alcohol. Alcohol consumption contributes to 3 million deaths each year globally as well as to the disabilities and poor health of millions of people. Overall, harmful use of alcohol is responsible for 5.1% of the global burden of disease. The following lists describe the common depending on the BAC. However, tolerance varies considerably between individuals, as does individual response to a given dosage; the effects of alcohol differ widely between people.

effects of alcohol on the body

For example, “people who have hypertension probably should not drink or definitely drink at very, very low levels,” Dr. Piano said. You might be wondering about some of the more physiological and long-term effects of alcohol. It takes about an hour for your liver to metabolize one unit of alcohol. The reason we become inebriated is that a pint of beer or a large glass of wine contains approximately three units of alcohol — more than the liver can process. Young men and women in this age group are also at risk of drinking-related injury, property damage, date rape, and unsafe sex while under the influence of alcohol. Each year, more than 4 million teens in the United States have trouble at school, with their parents, and sometimes with the law because of the effects of drinking alcohol.

Alcohol withdrawal

Calcium is necessary from strong, dense bones and when alcohol is consumed it acts as a diuretic and flushes calcium from the bones making them weaker and more susceptible to fracture. Excessive alcohol use is a common cause of pancreatitis, or inflammation of the pancreas, and it is major risk factor for pancreatic cancer. Heavy drinking also impairs the pancreas’ ability to produce insulin, which can lead to diabetes. If and when the stomach lining becomes torn, it can lead to anemia. Stomach pain after drinking alcohol could also be a sign of chronic cholecystitis, a condition of the gallbladder. The amount of damage alcohol causes to the brain is incomprehensible.

However, there may be legal, financial, or relational consequences for drinking heavily. Wine—specifically red wine—contains high levels of antioxidants. In low to moderate alcohol consumption, antioxidants may provide some cardiovascular benefits.

Alcohol education

Alcohol as an immunosuppressant increases the risk of communicable diseases, including tuberculosis and HIV. Cell membranes are highly permeable to alcohol, so once alcohol is in the bloodstream, it can diffuse into nearly every cell in the body. An additional long-term effect alcohol has on the body is damage t0 the pancreas, another important organ that aids in digestion. When functioning normally, the pancreas releases digestive enzymes to help break down food and exocrine hormones to help regulate blood sugar levels. However, chronic alcohol consumption will impair those functions often leading to pancreatitis.

effects of alcohol on the body

For example, even light drinkers (those who have no more than one drink a day) have a tiny, but real, increased risk of some cancers, such as esophageal cancer. In addition, many older people take prescribed and over-the-counter (OTC) medications that may interact with alcohol. The slower reaction times and problems with seeing and hearing put older people who are intoxicated at higher risk for falls and traffic accidents.

How Does Alcohol Affect the Body?

Or it might damage the nerves and tiny hairs in your inner ear that help you hear. However it happens, drinking means you need a sound to be louder so you can hear it. Drinking heavily for a long time has been linked to hearing loss.

Its impact is the most obvious the morning after a night of heavy drinking. Because alcohol is a depressant, which means it can disrupt the levels of happiness chemicals in our brain, such as serotonin and dopamine. Although you may have felt a “high” during a night out drinking, the next day you may feel depressed or anxious.

Every person is different; therefore, the effects of alcohol vary from person to person. While some people may be able to limit their drinking, others have a difficult time controlling their alcohol consumption. One night of binge drinking can jumble the electrical signals that keep your heart’s rhythm steady. If you do it for years, you can make those heart rhythm changes permanent and cause what’s called arrhythmia. Over time, it causes heart muscles to droop and stretch, like an old rubber band. Your heart can’t pump blood as well, and that impacts every part of your body.

  • Also, your body’s unique composition like genetics, metabolism, and much more can affect how your body reacts to alcohol.
  • From the moment you take your first sip of beer, wine, whiskey, or other alcoholic beverage, it starts to have an impact on your body.
  • Ninety percent of people who have four drinks a day show signs of alcoholic fatty liver.
  • Long-term heavy drinkers are much more likely to get illnesses like pneumonia and tuberculosis.
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