The Side Effects of Alcohol: What Happens When You Drink Too Much
It is common knowledge that drinking too much alcohol can cause negative effects on your brain and body. Many people don’t know what exactly happens when you drink too much though, so we are here to tell you! In this blog post, we will discuss the side effects of alcohol including how it affects your body, brain function, sleep patterns, relationships with others, and more. We hope this article helps to educate those who are interested in learning about the dangers of excessive drinking.
Alcohol and the liver
The liver is the organ in your body that metabolizes (or breaks down) alcohol. When you drink too much, it can cause liver damage and lead to fatty liver disease or cirrhosis of the liver. This can cause more serious health issues including liver cancer. Your liver is an integral part of your body, breaking down nutrients and toxins in order to keep you healthy. If it is overloaded with alcohol or other chemicals including Tylenol (acetaminophen), ibuprofen, nicotine, caffeine, etc., it can’t function properly which leaves the rest of your body vulnerable to illness and disease.
Alcohol and the brain
Drinking too much alcohol can negatively impair your memory, decision-making skills, short-term memory, attention span, motor coordination (ability to move), mental acuity (or alertness) as well as other cognitive functions of the brain. This is because it impairs the neurotransmitters (brain chemicals) that allow the brain to communicate with other parts of your body. This can be especially dangerous if you are driving or operating machinery as it can significantly impair your ability to function and carry out these tasks safely. Excess drinking decreases brain functions that are needed for problem solving, coordination, and thinking.
Alcohol and sleep
You may have heard that you can drink a nightcap to help yourself fall asleep. You’ll feel drowsy and tired after drinking, but it won’t be restful sleep as the body metabolizes alcohol rapidly which makes your sleep shallow and restless, increasing snoring and possibly leading to insomnia or other sleeping disorders. This can lead to chronic fatigue, irritability, and depression.
Alcohol and relationships
Drinking too much can lead to social problems in your life including arguments with loved ones (parents/spouse), fights, or accidents caused by drunkenness which may leave you emotionally scarred or injured physically. It has also been shown that drinking excessively on a regular basis increases the likelihood of having an affair.
Alcohol and your health
Over time, excess alcohol can lead to several chronic diseases including heart disease, high blood pressure (hypertension), stroke, cancer of the mouth or throat, pancreatitis/inflammation in the pancreas which affects digestion and leaves you at a higher risk for diabetes mellitus type II.
Alcohol has also been shown to impair the body’s ability to absorb folic acid, an important nutrient which women should consume during pregnancy. Drinking too much can lead to malnutrition, birth defects in children born of alcoholic mothers, and other serious health consequences for infants including sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Alcohol and your mental health
Excess alcohol can have a negative impact on your mental health as well. Alcoholism has been linked to depression, anxiety disorders, and other forms of substance abuse including smoking or illicit drug use which could eventually lead to death from overdose if you frequently drink too much over an extended period of time.
In addition, it is important to note that alcohol is a central nervous system depressant which means it makes you feel calm, even euphoric in small doses. This is what makes it so dangerous as you can develop a tolerance quickly, leading to increased consumption.
It might seem harmless in the short term but alcohol abuse has many negative effects on your health and well-being that could lead to poor quality of life or even death if not addressed properly. If this sounds like something you are dealing with, there is help available.
Emmaus Medical & Recovery provides alcohol abuse treatment, depression counseling, and other mental health services to individuals in need. Talk with our team about your concerns today!