The physical effects of alcohol are many and far reaching and they can vary from person to person. These physical effects can be mild but many of them can be very dangerous.
There are short and long-term effects that can result from the use of alcohol and many people are not aware of many of these. Alcohol is a drug and it affects those who drink it beginning with the very first sip.
- Alcohol impacts directly on the chemistry and physical makeup of the brain. It acts as a depressant and destroys brain cells each time a person has a drink. The inhibitions are lowered and this means that people behave differently once they are drinking alcohol.
- In many cases, they will act in ways that cause harm to themselves or others. Drinking causes interference with the activity of the brain and this is seen in faulty muscle control, impaired coordination, slurring of speech, and poor judgment. It is not uncommon to see memory problems and blackouts in people who drink alcohol regularly.
- In the long term drinking alcoholically can lead to a condition know as ‘Wet Brain’ (Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome). People with this condition often display extreme confusion and dementia like symptoms.
- Another of the physical effects of alcohol can be damage to the liver. The liver acts to breakdown and eliminate alcohol and it is damaged each time it has to perform this duty. Liver disease is often directly related to long-term alcohol use.
- There is also a condition known as alcoholic hepatitis that can occur and this is due to damage to the liver from alcohol.
- The pancreas is also directly affected by alcohol. Pancreatic disease is very common in those with alcohol problems. This can be reversible or it can end up as permanent damage. Yellowing of the skin and eyes can also be seen when people begin to develop liver and pancreatic problems due to alcohol. This is called jaundice.
- Women can experience some particular physical effects of alcohol. They can develop dryness of the skin, which leads to premature wrinkles. They will often note irregular or cessation of their menstrual cycle.
- Pregnant women need to be aware of the results alcohol can have on their unborn child. Alcohol can damage a foetus and can lead to spontaneous abortion or the birth of a child with permanent brain damage. There has been a lot of discussion in the media recently about safe levels of alcohol consumption during pregnancy. The safest level appears now to be zero!
- One other physical effect of alcohol involves nausea and vomiting. In most cases, this is the attempt by the body to try to rid itself of this substance. Alcohol can erode the lining of the stomach and this may lead to nausea and vomiting.
- In some cases people appear to be more interested in drinking alcohol than in eating food. Many onlookers see this lack of eating as a choice or laziness – it is neither. The alcoholic (once in chronic stage) can rarely eat solid food. Often to place food in their mouth is a complete waste of time as they will not produce enough saliva to swallow it.
Their stomach has also shrunk by this stage and even drinking beer will be a problem for the drinker because of the volume. This is one of the reasons why beer will be replaced with spirits as the tipple of choice. Another reason for drinking shorts will simply be the desire for the quick sharp hit.
If addressed in time, many of the physical effects of alcohol can be halted or reversed. Often people fail to see that they are developing problems or they just refuse to believe that this can be happening to them.
If not caught in time even the less harmful physical problems can become very severe health issues for the drinkers and their families.