Many people all over the world enjoy drinking. In some countries, drinking is considered a national hobby. It is legal in most places, so buying liquor is not a problem for most people. Unfortunately, alcohol can be strongly addictive, and its misuse can be very destructive. The impact begins from the very first sip.
The occasional glass of wine for dinner is not a cause for concern, but drinking on a daily basis, like a glass of beer every evening after work can impact both your body and mind. Even one glass per day may develop into an addiction. If you have a hard time stopping, it means the problem has already started. What are the consequences of drinking too much?
Short Term Effects
Drinking too much may cause various skin problems the next day. Some people experience issues like flushing or acne. Alcohol decreases the number of protective cells in your body and makes it susceptible to acne infections. It may also increase your hormone levels, causing inflammation and stimulation of oil glands. As a result, your pores will clog and result in a breakout.
The more alcohol you drink the same evening, the more likely it is that you’ll experience a hangover the next day when your blood gets cleaned from alcohol. They usually pass within 24 hours, but they may include some physical effects of alcohol misuse like intense headaches, thirst, diarrhea, nausea, dizziness, weakness, and rapid heartbeat.
If you observe the signs listed below, you should call 911 immediately. Alcohol poisoning can be a life-threatening situation. The most common symptoms are:
- Irregular breath
- Loss of consciousness
- Blue or pale skin
Long Term Effects
Alcohol overuse may lead to more severe chronic or incurable diseases. The World Health Organization contributes excessive alcohol usage to over 200 different types of illnesses.
The cardiovascular system is affected by alcohol; regular heavy drinking may cause tachycardia and result in complications like blood clots, which may cause a temporary surge in heartbeat and blood pressure. With prolonged use, it increases the risk of chronic disease, heart attack, and a stroke. Alcohol deprives the blood and muscles of oxygen, so when an artery is cut off, the heart stops. People with high cholesterol levels are more likely to suffer from clogged arteries, so they should be even more careful when consuming alcoholic beverages and consider seeing a cardiologist.
The liver is the body’s main line of defense from toxicity. It breaks down harmful substances so they can be safely removed from the body. Unfortunately, the same substances can damage liver cells. The most dangerous diseases are fatty liver, hepatitis, and scarring.
Fatty liver is caused by the fat that builds up in it, and as a result, it stops the liver from working correctly.
Hepatitis means liver inflammation and about ⅓ of people with fatty liver will develop it. It is most likely to occur in people who drank heavily for the past few years. People with diagnosed hepatitis should stop drinking immediately. Otherwise, they will face life-threatening, severe liver damage.
Alcohol abuse is especially harmful to the pancreas. The organ is responsible for helping the body digest by producing necessary hormones that raise sugar levels in the blood. To much alcohol can cause the pancreas to produce poisonous chemicals.
When the abuse is prolonged, it may lead to pancreatitis. It is caused by swelling of the blood vessels that surround it. It’s hard to see the first signs; many people don’t even know that their bodies are poisoning them. Acute pancreatitis leads to irreversible damage to the pancreas.
Alcohol use has been linked with a few types of cancers like mouth, throat, liver, esophagus, colon, and breast cancer. The more you drink, the higher the risk. For some cancers, like breast cancer, even small amounts can notably heighten the risk. It is unknown why exactly alcohol affects cancer risk, but studies show that it may vary depending on the type.
Drinking alcohol can increase your confidence and sexual desires, which may lead to one-night-stands with strangers. When we are drunk, we can make some poor decisions like unprotected sex, which often carries the risk of sexually transmitted infections. Additionally, large amounts of drinks can reduce testosterone levels and interfere with the brain, making it hard to keep an erection. Because of the interference with the nerve system, many women can find it harder to reach an orgasm.
Prolonged use of alcohol can stop the body from ovulating and affect fertility. Because of lowered testosterone levels, sperm production may decrease, as well.
The Bottom Line
Lots of people enjoy an occasional drink, but every alcohol use makes us closer to the possibility of addiction. According to 2019 surveys, 14.1 million adults aged 18 and older has Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD). If you feel like your life depends on drinking, or if you can’t do without a beer after work, you may recognize the first signs of alcoholism. The disease can affect your whole life, not only your health but social relationships and work. If you suspect that you have a problem, immediately call your doctor and seek help in various organizations you can find in your community.
Antonina Marc is a Polish writer whose main interests are health and medicine. Currently, she is responsible for writing articles about health issues, dietary habits, and a healthy lifestyle. She has a lot of experience with various nutrition challenges and enjoys helping with finding solutions. Her articles are full of proven facts and reliable sources as her main goal is to promote education and careful research