21 Mar The Short and Long-Term Effects of Alcohol on the Brain
Enjoying an occasional glass of wine or a cocktail every now and then is certainly not going to have any long-term negative effects on your body, so let’s just get that out of the way. But for those of us who knock down excessive amounts of booze on the regular, we could be doing our bodies–and minds–some serious harm.
If you’re consuming more than two or three drinks per day and, more importantly, if you keep trying to quit drinking with no success, then it might be a good idea to start looking at your behavior. Saving up drinking days for the weekends and then getting drunk until you pass out on Saturday night, or waking in bed with a stranger on Sunday morning, is also something worth taking a look at. We’re not here to tell you whether or not you have a drinking problem–that’s for you to decide. But if the sauce is taking over your life, affecting your work, your relationships, or even just making you feel like crap over and over again, then maybe it’s time to do some soul-searching.
Let’s talk about about alcohol and how, when abused, it’s affecting your health and your brain:
Short-term effects of alcohol abuse:
- Breathing trouble: yes, alcohol affects your respiratory system and could leave you short of breath. Try walking up a couple flights of stairs drunk. You’ll probably be winded. And if you get chased by an angry dog in a dark alley? Forget about it.
- Unconsciousness: Drunk people pass out sometimes. It’s not pretty, and that hot guy or girl you gave your number to before your face hit the table? We hate to break it to you, but they probably won’t call.
- Diarrhea and vomiting: Take note of the above. So long, hot guy or girl.
- Waking up in the bed of a stranger: This, in fact, could have both short-term and long-term consequences (diseases, serial killers, anyone?), but most of the time, this just leads to shame and regret which is no fun.
- Hangovers: Sure, a few slices of cold pizza, a Coke, and a couple of painkillers will help ease your hangover pains and woes, but why? Really. Why?
Now let’s look at the long-term effects of alcohol abuse. And yes, these are, indeed, meant to scare you. Side note: we’re primarily talking to those of you who think you may have a legitimate drinking problem, but everyone should take note because these consequences are very real:
- Decreased perception and coordination: While this, in and of itself, isn’t going to have any long-term consequences, doing things like operating a car or motorcycle could lead to a night in the slammer, the loss of your license, and a load of hefty fines. Even worse, you could wind up hurting yourself or someone else, and death is not entirely out of the question here either.
- Mouth and throat cancer: Consuming risky levels of alcohol is identified as the second leading cause of many cancers after smoking. Mouth and throat cancer are the most common among heavy drinkers.
- Permanent brain damage: Technically speaking, alcohol itself doesn’t really cause any long-term brain damage, but it can when limits are pushed. Also worth noting is that brain damage is often indirectly caused as a result of poor health and liver failure (caused by alcohol).
- Liver damage and cirrhosis of the liver: Our livers help us process the alcohol we consume. Excessive drinking can result in liver tissue slowly being damaged and replaced by scar tissue. Once the liver can no longer heal itself, serious problems can occur.
- Stomach ulcers, intestinal ulcers, and destroyed organs: Large quantities of alcohol can really mess with the stomach’s lining and can cause areas of bleeding, resulting in permanent damage.
- Nerve damage: Vitamins B12, B6, vitamin e, niacin, folate, and thiamine are all necessary for your nerves to function properly. Excessive drinking can alter these levels, and can eventually affect the spread of something called alcoholic neuropathy. This can lead to muscle spasms and cramps, muscle atrophy, numbness and tingling, and a whole bunch of other things that you probably don’t want to deal with.
- Male sperm production decrease and infertility in women: Excessive alcohol lowers testosterone levels, sperm quality, and sperm quantity. It can also lead to infertility in women.
- Increased blood pressure, causing heart disease, heart attacks, or strokes: Drinking alcohol regularly can raise your blood pressure, and it can also lead to disease of the heart muscle called cardiomyopathy.
Have we managed to get your attention? Learning about the effects of alcohol on our bodies and our brains can be very confronting for some, particularly those who drink in excess. The good news about all of this is that many of these symptoms or complications can be reversed over time, but not while we’re continuing to get drunk. It’s easy to overlook the dangers of too much alcohol consumption because it is a legal substance in most countries. Unfortunately, its legality just makes the stuff that much easier to abuse, and for those of us who are prone to addiction, it can be a real killer.
Serenity Awaits at Kembali Recovery Center:
If you think you might have a problem with alcohol, or if there’s a loved one in your life who simply can’t put down the booze, Kembali is here to help. We also treat drug and other process addictions. Contact us today to learn more about our 28-day treatment program. We’re located right in the heart of beautiful Bali, Indonesia, and our next intake is right around the corner.