There are many different effects of alcohol, both short and long term. The amount consumed is an important factor, since alcohol consumption can have negative consequences over time.
Effects of alcohol vary by type, amount ingested, and frequency of intake. Some effects of alcohol are also felt by people who do not regularly consume the substance.
The most common effects of alcohol are liver damage and liver failure, which can lead to death if left untreated. Chronic heavy drinking impairs the function of the pancreas, which produces insulin and other hormones used by the body to regulate blood sugar.
Alcohol ingestion causes hypoglycemia in the individual, causing low blood sugar. Pancreatitis is another effect of alcohol, whereby the pancreas develops inflammation.
Effects of alcohol on the cardiovascular system can include problems such as high blood pressure, heart attack or stroke, and heart disease.
The heart is dependent on the liver for the production of necessary chemicals, such as nitric oxide, which dilates the arteries. Over time, too much alcohol intake can impair the liver’s ability to produce nitric oxide.
The circulatory system can be affected by excessive consumption, as well, resulting in chest pain, dizziness, fainting, swelling in the legs, and increased risk of developing coronary artery disease.
Effects of alcohol on the central nervous system can result in loss of consciousness, seizures, and depression.
Effects of alcohol on the brain are less well-known, but there is evidence that bacilliform lesions, which are small, bitter white areas in the brain stem, are commonly found in people who have had extensive bacillary drinking experience.
Brain hemorrhages, also called cerebral aneurysms, are common after heavy drinking.
These occur when blood enters the brain either from a blood clot in the area, or from a leak from the nose.
Alcohol depresses the central nervous system; excess alcohol ingestion increases the risk of developing a stroke by raising the blood alcohol concentration.
Motor skills and cognitive abilities are also impacted by alcohol. Both acute and chronic intoxication can lead to decreased dexterity due to decreased co-ordination.
When intoxicated, people do not respond to sensory stimuli in the same way as when they are sober. For example, seeing and hearing something that normally would confuse a person becomes extremely difficult.
Effects of alcohol on fertility can be reduced or eliminated with treatment. Women who drink regularly have a greater risk of suffering from infertility or low birth weight.
Heavy drinking also puts women at greater risk of suffering from polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).
Polycystic ovarian syndrome is a condition in which a woman has ovarian enlargement, and it has been associated with an increased risk of miscarriage.
There is also a definite relationship between drinking and the likelihood of developing dementia. Studies suggest that women who drink excessively are at a higher risk of developing dementia.
Drinking in excess increases the body’s processing of glucose, which has an impact on both brain function and brain cell health.
Although the direct effects of alcohol on the liver and heart are relatively mild, they can have very serious consequences.
Excessive alcohol intake leads to high cholesterol levels, increased blood pressure, heart rate, and blood vessels that carry blood.
A study that was carried out on male subjects showed that excessive drinkers had a significantly larger right ventricular, and coronary heart rate than non-drinkers.
This is a clear indication that alcohol can increase the risks of cardiac disease.
The effects of drinking heavily on the brain begin well before you reach your final drinks. The major effect of alcohol on the brain is through its effect on the neurotransmitters within the brain.
Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that pass messages between brain cells and synapses.
Drinking often causes the release of more neurotransmitters than the body is able to handle, which in turn result in a noticeable disruption of brain function.
Neurotransmitters are affected by alcohol because they need a steady supply of chemicals like dopamine and acetylcholine in order for them to work properly.
Another common cause of mental illness and dementia is substance abuse and addiction. People who consume large amounts of alcohol have been shown to suffer from an addiction to alcohol.
Those who drink heavily enough to be considered addicted have demonstrated a higher risk of developing substance abuse or alcoholism at some point in their lives.
Over time, heavy drinking can lead to serious complications and diseases such as dementia.
The effects of alcohol use disorder on the mind and the body can take some time to become evident. Symptoms of substance use disorders may not be apparent until it has gotten much worse.
In the case of alcoholism, this can lead to cirrhosis, high blood pressure, heart disease, and cancer. However, short-term effects of alcohol use disorder can include irritability, anxiety, insomnia, mood swings, and sexual dysfunction.