We all know that too much alcohol isn’t good for us. Alcohol not only impairs your judgment but also can cause harm to your entire body. Here are some of the harmful effects of alcohol on the human body.
Brain and Nervous System
As alcohol gets into your blood stream, you experience a mild euphoria and you may feel more relaxed. Some people lose their inhibitions and are able to talk to people more, dance and feel at ease. As it relaxes you, it also impairs your judgment and your ability to think clearly, so you might do something you normally wouldn’t do like try to kiss a stranger you just met. Your concentration and memory all suffer.
The more you drink the less you can remember and your ability to drive decreases. Your attention span decreases as well and you can’t react to situations as quickly. If you get quite intoxicated, you may lash out with anger or have other wild emotional outbursts.
Since alcohol is a depressant, it hits your nervous system and your vision and hearing decrease. For example, you may hear noises coming from different directions. Your alcohol consumption will also affect your sense of taste and smell. You will feel less pain and if you injure yourself and have blood loss, you may not know it until it’s too late. If you drink long term, your brain may suffer permanent damage. You can develop mental disorders and become dependent on alcohol to get through your day or have alcohol addiction.
Heavy drinking of alcohol depletes the body’s nutrients, in particular folic acid and B vitamins. These are crucial for the brain because they are used in the synthesis or manufacture of dopamine and serotonin. These help with mood regulation and in fact
many antidepressants boost these elements. Serotonin helps sleep regulation and both of these give us pleasure feelings. To a certain extent, they also help with learning and
memory. Without enough B vitamins and folic acid, it messes up the ability for your brain to regulate mood.
Lungs and Liver
While alcohol hits the nervous system and brain hard, it also impacts other organs although we don’t notice this as much. A heavy drinker may have less resistance to infections. If you drink high amounts, you can overdose and pass out completely. In some cases, you can just stop breathing. Our liver doesn’t like foreign substances and it works quite hard to get rid of whatever alcohol you consume. While small modest amounts don’t stress the liver too much, the more you drink the more it has to work.
If you drink heavily at one sitting, your liver has to work overtime to rid your body of the toxic alcohol. You can develop alcoholic hepatitis that is the destruction and inflammation of your liver cells. As it gets worse, you can develop what we call cirrhosis that causes lesions and scarring. In essence, you are killing your liver with alcohol and you will not get back the damage you are doing to it. You can look yellowish with jaundice.
As your liver becomes damaged, you can develop edema or fluid buildup in your extremities. You may bleed more due to the decease of your body’s ability to clot blood. As your liver accumulates fat from all that drinking, we call this “fatty liver”, you can slip into a coma and die. The liver just hates alcohol.
Both sexes can have their reproduction system impacted form alcohol abuse. For men it can cause impotence and your performance will deteriorate the more intoxicated you are. Heavy drinking can render a man infertile. For females, they may increase their chances of getting breast cancer. Women may have menstrual problems if they are heavy drinkers. For pregnancy, the results can be catastrophic with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. The baby can have brain damage, a small head, poor muscle tone, abnormal face features, speech problems and growth development issues.
Your heart isn’t too fond of alcohol either. Alcohol consumption can weaken the heart muscle and decrease its ability to pump your blood properly. You may suffer an irregular heartbeat or a heart enlargement. Blood pressure can increase and so with it the chances of a stroke or a heart attack.
Stomach and Intestines
Your esophagus can become irritated when consuming alcohol. You may vomit if you drink too much because your body just wants to get rid of it. This can occur easily if you drink on an empty stomach. You could develop throat cancer. Stomach and peptic ulcers might form. You will get headaches and dizziness as your iron levels drop. Your pancreas will work to produce insulin to process the sugar in alcohol. You can develop pancreatitis or inflammation and this can be fatal. Sweating, loss of appetite and diarrhea are also common when consuming high levels of alcohol.
Links to Alzheimer’s
Everyone experiences the process of oxidative stress that happens naturally and is more or less the wear and tear on the body. Alcohol however promotes oxidative stress and increases this wear and tear. Alzheimer’s has been linked to oxidative stress, which pushes you down towards this disease and other degenerative diseases. This is not just to do with the liver although a lot of oxidative stress does happen in the liver.
The other problem with alcohol is that it reduces the sensitivity to insulin which can get to pre-diabetic states. Again, Alzheimer’s is linked to insulin sensitivity and there is emerging data that suggests the decreased sensitivity to insulin can be
linked with the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s.
The Body Hates Alcohol
It’s easy to see that your body hates alcohol so watch how much you drink or better yet, give it up entirely. Talk to a professional if you need help with your addiction.
Download our “How to Give up Alcohol Course” for tips and tools to help you quit alcohol or moderate your drinking right now!