The amount of alcohol consumed, together with the sex and weight of the person drinking, produces various side effects.
In the beginning stages, alcohol relaxes a person, often making them giddy or uninhibited. As more alcohol is consumed, it may result in drunkenness or intoxication.
Signs Of Intoxication Include:
- Unbalanced walk
- Slurred speech
- Distortion of senses
- Blacking out
Intoxication leads to impaired judgment and could result in illegal and inappropriate behavior, including disorderly conduct, sexual promiscuity, acts of violence and driving while under the influence.
An individual may continue to experience alcohol’s side effects after a heavy drinking session. These effects are commonly referred to as a hangover. Hangover symptoms include headaches, nausea, diarrhea, racing heart, fatigue, dry eyes and mouth, lack of concentration, and restlessness. Hangovers could last as long as 24 hours.
Central nervous system and respiratory depression are two of the more serious side effect of excessive alcohol intake. When the level of alcohol in a person’s blood exceeds certain limits, or if depressant medication is taken with alcohol, the breathing system slows down dramatically. This results in too little oxygen in the brain, which can lead to a comatose state, and even death.
Alcohol’s Short-Term Side Effects
Most grownups will not experience any harmful effects from a few (1 or 2) servings of alcohol per day. A serving is 12 ounces of beer (1 can), four ounces of wine (1 glass), or a 1.5-ounce shot of refined spirits. Such a moderate alcohol consumption could even reduce the risk of dementia and cardiovascular diseases.
Short-term effects when alcohol is consumed above the safe level varies for people depending on their weight, and whether the alcohol is consumed on an empty stomach. The effects start with reduced inhibitions and relaxation. While this is often pleasant, it does not stop there, but leads to a decrease in concentration, slower response and reflex times, and reduced coordination. These are all results from brain activity slowing down.
Short-Term Side Effect Symptoms
- Slurring of speech.
- Sleep disruption.
- Emotional swings.
- Lowering of body temperature.
Excessive Alcohol Intake Side Effect Symptoms
- Loss of bowel and bladder control.
- Vomiting and nausea.
- Losing consciousness temporarily.
- Blackouts, where drinker does not recall any events while drinking.
- Coma or even death.
The short-term effects of alcohol can be intensified when alcohol is used at the same time as other mind-altering drugs, both illegal and legal. People using medicine for the treatment of a psychological condition, or pain, should never drink alcohol, even in moderation, without speaking to their doctor.
Alcohol’s Long-Term Side Effects
Long-term abuse of alcohol results in brain damage. This can in turn lead to brain disorders and also reduces the level of physical or mental functions.
The use of too much of alcohol over a long period can also lead to pancreatitis, an extremely dangerous disease where the pancreas is inflamed. This could also result in nerve damage.
When the liver is damaged by alcohol, it leads to cirrhosis, a life threatening medical condition that could need a liver transplant to resolve.
Tolerance can be described as the body becoming used to ever increasing volumes of alcohol as a result of extended periods of overconsumption. This results in long-term drinkers being able to consume dangerous amounts of alcohol and not experience the short-term effects that would normally convince them to stop. Tolerance often leads to dependence which is followed by addiction or alcoholism in some people.
Alcohol is a contributing factor in more than 200 diseases and many injury-related health problems, including cancers, liver cirrhosis, and accidental injuries such as falls, vehicle accidents, assaults, burns and drowning.
Alcohol is the third leading cause of preventable deaths, with nearly 100,000 people dying from alcohol-related causes in the US per year. Long-term alcohol abuse is linked to cardiovascular and liver disease, cancer, stomach ulcers, nerve and brain damage, and vitamin deficiencies. It could also lead to mental health problems including depression and anxiety.