It’s common knowledge that alcohol can be a dangerous substance. Many people are well aware of alcohol’s ability to impair judgement and decision making, as well as reduce social inhibitions. What’s less commonly discussed are the effects of alcohol on the body. In this article we’ll share how alcohol impacts your body’s different systems and the long term effects of chronic and problematic drinking.
How the body processes alcohol
If you’ve ever wondered which system in the body alcohol effects, the answer is all of them. Whether the changes are minimal, harmful or even lethal depends on several factors. The substance itself (such as the quality of the alcohol, the amount and the concentration of the alcohol) can change it’s potency. A person’s genetics and metabolism also impact how it’s processed. Additional factors like a person’s most recent meal, body weight and tolerance to alcohol all play a role in how drastic the effects will be.
Intoxication and addiction
Alcohol impacts people in unique ways and some people present different symptoms of intoxication and addiction. Here are signs that a person is intoxicated.
Slowed thinking and decision making;
Trouble remembering things;
Clumsiness or lack of coordination;
Slowed heart rate;
More risk taking behaviors;
Fading in and out of consciousness.
The symptoms of intoxication can seem harmless, but even a one time heavy use of alcohol can result in alcohol poisoning or fatal accidents.
Below are signs that a full-fledge addiction to alcohol has developed.
Drinking daily or drinking more than once a day;
Needing alcohol to feel normal;
Withdrawal symptoms after going for a period without a drink;
Having problems in relationships, career and daily life due to alcohol;
Missing important commitments to drink;
Distancing oneself from family and friends to avoid judgement regarding drinking;
Needing to borrow, steal or manipulate people to get enough money to purchase alcohol;
Dealing with legal issues due to drinking;
Failing to retain employment due to excessive drinking.
Generally, a single or occasional drink can little to no negative impact. More frequent use can cause some damage. Daily use, a substance use disorder or full-fledged addiction can have dramatic long-term ramifications.
The long term effects of alcohol on the body
Alcohol impacts the body in such a severe way because when a person consumes a drink, the alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream through small blood vessels in the walls of the stomach and small intestine. Slowly, the liver eliminates the alcohol from the blood through a process called metabolizing. This process coverts the alcohol to an nontoxic substance.Although your body naturally dissipates the toxins in alcohol over the course of time, drinking too much can overwork the liver since the liver can only metabolize a certain amount of alcohol at a time. This leaves the excess circulating throughout your body into every organ, including your brain. This can lead to liver failure and a host of other medical complications.
Alcohol affects on different systems of the body
If you’ve ever wondered “alcohol affects which system of the body?” Here’s what you’ll want to know about different organs.
The liver: liver disease and chronic liver inflammation are potential consequences of heavy drinking. They can be life-threatening issues;
The brain: alcohol travels to the brain only minutes after sipping a drink. Even one night of drinking can result in tingling limbs, slurred speech, poor judgment, unclear memories and even fatal accidents. Over time, the frontal lobe of the brain may be damaged by alcohol as well as your brain’s ability to make and store memories;
The heart: alcohol use disorders often cause cardiac complications like an irregular heart beat, heart disease or heart attack;
The respiratory system:
The immune system: drinking too much over the course of time can weaken your immune system, making it harder for your body to fight off disease and repair itself once it becomes sick;
The pancreas: excessive drinking can cause inflammation of the pancreas, resulting in pancreatitis and abdominal pain;
Blood sugar levels: hypoglycemia or hypoglycemia can occur when the pancreas and liver are damaged due to drinking, possibly leading to diabetes.
The long term effects of alcohol on the body are serious and could be life threatening. If you’re worried that a drinking habit has caused negative consequences for your mental health and your physical wellbeing, the best time to reach out for help is today.
Getting connected to treatment
The sooner you reach out for professional care, the better your chances are for a full recovery. While some medical complications may linger, prolonging an addiction will only make them worse. Your symptoms will diminish when you get serious about quitting today.
At Freedom Detox, you can find the support you need to get clean and stay sober for good. Located in Charlotte, North Carolina, you’ll find the care you need when you detox from drugs or alcohol. Compassionate staff will keep you focused and comfortable during the challenging days of early recovery. Call today to get the help you have been looking for.
The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as medical advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, a doctor-patient relationship.