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Long-Term Effects of Alcohol on the Body

Over time, drinking can also damage your frontal lobe, the part of the brain responsible for executive functions, like abstract reasoning, decision making, social behavior, and performance. Binge drinking is defined as four or more drinks within two hours for women and five or more drinks within two hours for men. On the other hand, if you’re a light to moderate drinker and you’re healthy, you can probably continue to drink alcohol as long as you do so responsibly.

  • This can lead to hyperglycemia, or too much sugar in the blood.
  • Although you may have felt a “high” during a night out drinking, the next day you may feel depressed or anxious.
  • Over time, heavy drinking can weaken the heart, impacting how oxygen and nutrients are delivered to other vital organs in your body.
  • Alcohol affects every body system, so it can cause health problems throughout the body.
  • But more recent research suggests there’s really no “safe” amount of alcohol since even moderate drinking can negatively impact brain health.

Across the country, there are specialized alcohol treatment programs that help millions of individuals overcome alcoholism each year. With customized recovery plans in place, each facility offers several amenities, therapies and activities. During the course of treatment program, patients learn about how to handle triggers, prevent urges to drink and other tools to help maintain sobriety.

Alcohol-induced mental health conditions

Those who have built up a tolerance to alcohol can drink more than those with a lower tolerance level. It could be that it messes with the part of your brain that processes sound. 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. When you stop drinking, you might notice a range of physical, emotional, or mental health symptoms that ease as soon as you have a drink.

  • The respiratory system can become so suppressed that it cannot sustain breathing.
  • If you drink, you’ve probably had some experience with alcohol’s effects, from the warm buzz that kicks in quickly to the not-so-pleasant wine headache, or the hangover that shows up the next morning.
  • Treatment for alcoholism may include medical detox, inpatient and/or outpatient rehab, and medications to support long-term recovery.
  • Your body can’t make the numbers of white blood cells it needs to fight germs.

Disadvantaged and especially vulnerable populations have higher rates of alcohol-related death and hospitalization. As the leader in addiction treatment American Addiction Centers specializes in helping people recover from alcohol addiction. You might be wondering about some of the more physiological and long-term effects of alcohol. Not only can drinking cause temporary complications such as memory loss and coordination, it can also lead to long-term side effects that are sometimes irreversible.

What does it mean to drink in moderation?

Your body can’t make the numbers of white blood cells it needs to fight germs. So for 24 hours after drinking too much, you’re more likely to get sick. Long-term heavy drinkers are much more likely to get illnesses like pneumonia and long term effects of alcohol on the body tuberculosis. Normally, this organ makes insulin and other chemicals that help your intestines break down food. Along with toxins from alcohol, they can cause inflammation in the organ over time, which can lead to serious damage.

  • An additional long-term effect alcohol has on the body is damage t0 the pancreas, another important organ that aids in digestion.
  • Along with the hormone changes that alcohol triggers, that can keep your body from building new bone.
  • Below we explore the specific parts of the body alcohol affects.

Binge drinking, or consuming four to five drinks in under two hours, can sometimes impair the kidneys so much that acute kidney failure occurs. This is when the kidneys temporarily lose their filtering ability and dangerous levels of waste start to build up. If left untreated or drinking continues, then kidney disease is possible. Beyond the stomach lining becoming irritated, heavy drinking also throws the body’s gut microbiome off balance, resulting in an overgrowth of bad bacteria.

Pancreas Inflammation

I then explain that it impacts neuronal function and changes our thinking and behavior – hallmarks of inebriation. Additionally, I discuss the biology of hangovers and describe science-based strategies to mitigate the severity of a hangover. Since alcohol is one of the most widely consumed recreational substances, this episode ought to be of relevance to everyone. Indeed, even low-to-moderate alcohol consumption negatively impacts the brain and body in direct ways. The goal of this episode is to help people make informed decisions about their alcohol consumption that are in keeping with their mental and physical health goals.

Why do people drink to get drunk?

People like to drink alcohol because of its ability to alter emotional states. Alcohol induces euphoria, relaxation, and disinhibition while reducing stress and anxiety.

Too much bad bacteria could lead to fluctuating weight, skin problems, and a disrupted sleep cycle. Alcohol consumption destroys cells in the digestive system, thus hindering the stomach’s ability to properly digest and absorb nutrients from food. This is why many drinkers become mildly malnourished over time. The liver can only process a certain amount of alcohol each hour.

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