Side Effects of Alcohol

Last updated: June 1, 2018
A drunk woman

Alcohol is a mind-altering substance that directly affects the central nervous system (CNS). Alcohol is a depressant and it depresses the part of the brain associated with inhibition which is what makes many people feel more confident and less anxious. This changing of brain chemistry though is what can create alcohol addiction or dependency. By using a substance that affects your CNS regularly, you disrupt the existing chemical balance in your brain. This is what creates a need for the substance and in greater quantities.

Short Term Effects of Alcohol

Depending on the amount of alcohol consumed, people will experience a few or all of the following short-term effects:

  • Euphoria
  • Poor judgement
  • Loss of coordination
  • Fatigue
  • Aggressive behavior or violent outbursts
  • Hangover
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Vomiting
  • Incontinence
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Coma
  • Death

Long Term Effects of Alcohol

Alcohol has a slew of long term effects on the mind and body, but it can also put you at a higher risk of many; alcoholism puts the person at a higher risk for conditions and diseases like heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and even several cancers. Other long term effects of alcohol include:

  • Alcohol addiction (or AUD)
  • Impaired brain development
  • Cirrhosis of the liver or excessive liver damage
  • Ulcers (mainly stomach & intestines)
  • Anemia
  • Pancreatitis
  • Kidney failure
  • Early onset dementia
  • Depression
  • Personality disorders
  • Early menopause
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Fetal alcohol syndrome (in unborn children)
  • Death

Alcohol-induced dementia is more common than people realize. Dementia is a collection of symptoms, not a diagnosis. Dementia symptoms are depression, anxiety, confusion, disorientation, paranoia, loss of motor skill function, coordination, trouble speaking, trouble problem solving, trouble handling complex tasks, and memory loss. Although aging is a large reason for dementia, studies have shown that alcohol use not only increases the likelihood of dementia by age 65, but alcohol users also tend to suffer dementia more frequently than casual or non-drinkers.

In addition to this, Korsakoff Syndrome causes dementia and is most commonly brought on by the heavy and frequent consumption of alcohol.


Count Your Days Clean From alcohol

Staying clean and sober from our addictions is difficult. One way you can get a little extra support and motivation is by using a sobriety tracker. I Am Sober is free to download, and you can get it for your iPhone or Android device.

Sobriety, one day at a time.

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