The Effects of Alcohol Addiction on the Body and Brain

About 14.4 million Americans have had an alcohol use disorder (AUD) in the past year, according to a 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). 

And it leaves you to wonder how many of those people understand the true impact of alcohol addiction on the body and brain. 

Alcohol addiction has a major impact on the addicted person, and it can not only destroy relationships, but it can also destroy a person’s physical health. And both can happen in the short term and long term.

Short-Term Effects of Alcohol

Even when someone isn’t completely an alcoholic, they can experience short-term effects of alcohol use on the mind and body. In order to understand this fully, know that the liver metabolizes about one alcoholic beverage per hour. But there are a lot of factors that go into how alcohol is actually metabolized in real life. Your age, weight, liver function, and gender all play a role in how quickly your blood alcohol content increases.

In the short term, you may experience the effects of alcohol use, such as:

  • Skin flushing
  • Passing out
  • Vomiting
  • Lowered inhibitions
  • Risk-taking behaviors
  • Loss of coordination
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Dulled senses
  • Mood swings
  • Raised blood pressure

Long-Term Effects Of Alcohol

When you drink too much over a more extended period of time, you may encounter chronic physical and mental health issues. The long-term effects of drinking alcohol include:

  • Liver damage
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Multiple types of cancer
  • Memory loss
  • Reduced attention span
  • Learning difficulties
  • Hepatitis
  • Liver fibrosis
  • Fatty liver
  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Cardiomyopathy

Binge Drinking

Whether your drinking is a long-term or short-term problem, binge drinking is harmful. Binge drinking is a pattern of drinking that leads to a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 g/dL or above. That’s about 4 drinks for women and five for adult men within a short timeframe of a couple of hours. 

The major problem with binge drinking is that it can quickly lead to alcohol poisoning. Below are the symptoms of alcohol poisoning to watch for:

  • Confusion
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Blue-tinted skin
  • Irregular breathing
  • Low body temperature
  • Seizures
  • Pale skin
  • Unconsiousness

If anyone you’re hanging out with experiences any of the above symptoms after drinking, call 911 right away. Alcohol poisoning can lead to permanent brain damage or death if it’s left untreated. 

And if you’ve had an episode of binge drinking, it’s important to detox and begin taking care of your body to mitigate the effects of alcohol on the body. Eat a clean diet, abstain from alcohol, and find the best probiotics to restore your gut flora

Psychological Effects of Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant. As such, it can have varying impacts on different people. Some people may get excited and hyped up while others begin to feel sad and depressed. 

Typically, when someone feels excited after drinking alcohol, it’s because the alcohol is suppressing the person’s inhibition. 

But while the inhibitions are being suppressed, alcohol is also impacting the person’s breathing, speech, memory, thought, balance, and movement. They may be experiencing mood changes, impaired judgment, memory problems, reduced reaction times, and in extreme cases, loss of consciousness.

When someone drinks alcohol over time, it can also lead to alcohol-induced conditions, such as depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, sleep disorder, and psychotic disorder. When these disorders are caused by alcohol, they are usually temporary.

But when alcoholism becomes chronic, it is linked to several mental illnesses, including major depressive disorder, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, and others. In many cases, it can be difficult to determine which came first in the person’s mental health history, the alcohol use disorder, or the mental health issue.

If you know someone who is struggling with alcoholism or seems to have a problem with drinking, direct them to alcohol treatment centers in California to help set them on the right path before they experience any short or long-term effects of alcoholism.