Long and short term effects of alcohol use
The short-term effects of alcohol can be quite beneficial and not always negative. Most adults will not experience any ill effects from one or two drinks, even if they drink every day and remain light drinkers.
It is when the number of servings consumed increases and the tolerance to alcohol develops, that problems begin. Alcohol abuse can lead to addiction, diagnosed as alcoholism.
Long-term consequences of alcohol abuse include domestic violence, drunk driving and other destructive behaviors.
Short term effects of alcohol
One drink corresponds to a glass of wine, liquor, or a can of beer. This level of consumption is completely safe and may even reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and alcohol dementia. The short-term effects of higher doses vary with the weight of the drinker, gender, and other factors, including alcohol allergy. The positive effects of alcohol are undeniable. They include a sense of deep calm and relaxation that neurotic people crave. Tension usually decreases, the person becomes less concentrated, reflexes slow down, response times increase, and coordination deteriorates. All of these effects are caused by slowing down of brain activity and begin to appear after drinking more than three or four drinks. In rarer cases, people may be hurt after drinking one alcoholic beverage, especially if it is their first alcoholic beverage or if they have some underlying medical condition.
The short-term effects of alcohol include:
- Abdominal pain, nausea, or diarrhea:Alcohol irritates the stomach lining, causing these effects. Note that these symptoms may indicate the development of alcoholic gastritis.
- Relaxation:Most people feel calmer and happier when they drink, so many turn to alcohol when they are stressed or sad. They become more lively and talkative.
- Visual and Hearing Impairment:Alcohol is a depressant and slows down the nervous system itself. Because the central nervous system controls motor and cognitive functions, people will exhibit longer reaction times. More pronounced effects include slurred speech, blurred vision, and muffled hearing. Sometimes these effects of alcohol can appear even after one drink, so combine alcohol and driving.
- Fatigue, sleepiness:is part of the soothing effect of alcohol. Sleepiness sets in after the initial euphoria has passed. However, the opposite effect is also possible, called alcohol insomnia.
- Poor self-control, blurred thinking:By impairing the functionality of the central nervous system, alcohol makes a person less restrained and more prone to behavior that may seem uncharacteristic. One is more likely to break the law or engage in risky sexual activities, such as unprotected sex while under the influence of alcohol. The negative consequences of alcohol consumption include "early risers" when people are denied service in restaurants, if they are drunk, and they make fights.
- Memory Impairment:The effects of alcohol consumption on memory are well known and are also caused by decreased nervous system activity. Violations can result in alcohol blackouts, when a person does not remember the events that happened after drinking. Another terrible side effect is delirium tremens.
- Mood swings:the initial "cheerfulness" gradually fades, giving way to depression. This sometimes causes people to keep drinking and mood swings can occur. They are sometimes very severe - depression in alcohol dependent people can eventually lead to suicide attempts with varying results. Renowned chef and TV host Anthony Bourdain, who has fought alcohol and drug addiction, is a tragic example.
The consequences of alcohol: risks and dangers
Some of the short-term effects of alcohol can be fatal, and alcoholics are especially at risk. Binge drinking is defined as excessive drinking for a short period of time - 4 or more drinks in one sitting. Alcohol poisoning occurs when the blood alcohol level reaches toxic levels, resulting in hangover symptoms that are more likely to occur when drinking a low quality drink. Alcohol poisoning is a medical emergency and fatal if left untreated. The following symptoms may appear:
- Mental confusion or stupor, the person does not hold his head, feels depressed;
- Low body temperature or vice versa;
- Tremors or shivers;
- Pale, cold, bluish skin;
- Irregular or slow breathing;
- Development of chronic diseases such as gout;
- Loss of bladder and bowel control;
Long-term effects of alcohol
The long-term effects of alcohol can include liver damage, depression, cancer, immune system disorders, hypertension, decreased sexual activity in men and loss of sex drive in women, or pancreatitis. Over time, people who drink alcohol can develop cognitive impairments. Side effects of this habit include irritability and increasingly poor performance at work due to alcohol. Alcohol abuse negatively affects the kidneys, causing serious damage. Long-term abuse can cause cirrhosis of the liver, a severe liver disease that requires a liver transplant in many cases. Many people in the country die of cirrhosis.
The danger of underage drinking is much higher.
Other long-term effects also include the so-called dry drunkenness syndrome, where a person experiences the effects of alcohol poisoning without consuming alcohol at all. With long-term alcohol use, people develop tolerance as the body gets used to more and more alcohol. This forces them to consume dangerously large amounts of alcohol without experiencing the short-term effects that would otherwise lead to discontinuation.
Effects of alcohol on women
Alcohol affects women differently than men. Gone are the days when it was believed that only men have alcohol problems. Today, more and more women abuse alcohol - statistics show that millions of women in the country drink in a way that is considered dangerous to their safety, health and well-being. According to traffic authorities, a woman's blood alcohol level is high enough to increase her risk of a fatal car accident by 100% after drinking one drink on an empty stomach.
Drunk driving seems to be a purely male problem, and of course it is not.
The side effects of alcohol on the male and female body are markedly different. According to experts, binge drinking and chronic binge drinking put women at much higher health and safety risks than men. Women who get drunk more than double their chances of being sexually or physically abused. The data shows that over 50% of the sexual assaults recorded in the country involve a woman, a man, or both family members of alcoholics. A study in Norway found that spouses who consume different amounts of alcohol are more likely to get divorced than those who drink in comparable amounts. This was especially true of relationships in which the wife was an avid alcoholic. The impact of alcoholism on women is more pronounced. Long-term alcohol consumption is much more dangerous for women's health - women are more likely to die from cirrhosis of the liver or suffer from brain, heart or breast cancer. Children of women who drink during pregnancy are at risk of being born with fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), a lifelong developmental disorder that manifests as abnormal facial features, stunted growth, alcohol-induced brain damage, and emotional disturbances.
Side effects of alcohol abuse
- Neurological disorders;
- Diabetes and cognitive impairmentare two possible long-term effects of alcohol. Chronic alcohol consumption leads to a higher risk of developing diabetes. This leads to obesity, as alcohol is very high in calories and damages the pancreas, which secretes insulin;
Long-term alcohol abuse can also cause learning difficulties and memory problems. This increases the risk of developing mental disorders such as depression and anxiety.
- Another big problem associated with persistent alcohol abuse is the so-calledwithdrawal syndrome:the symptoms become more and more severe each time a person consumes ethanol. Alcohol also damages nerve cells, causing irreversible polyneuropathy.
Most of the negative long-term effects of alcohol are health related, but there are exceptions. Sexual assault, rape that occurs after heavy alcohol intoxication, aggravated assault, reckless driving, and robbery or theft committed while intoxicated affect loved ones, friends and even complete strangers with whom they come in contact. Physical and cognitive impairment due to alcohol abuse is huge annually.
Harmful effects of alcohol
Addiction occurs when the body cannot function optimally without alcohol. The brain cannot send the correct signals to the body when it is getting used to the long-term effects of alcohol. When a person becomes addicted, he continues to drink, regardless of any physical or psychological symptoms caused by drinking. Moreover, a person who becomes addicted will continue to drink even if they suffer from job loss, panic attacks, breakup with their family, or are arrested for alcohol-related behavior. He also faces an increased risk of becoming addicted to other drugs because they crave more than the alcohol brings. Failure to rationalize and the loss of inhibitions also make people more inclined to experiment with illegal drugs and lead to many of the social consequences of alcohol dependence.
Addiction is a physical disorder that requires treatment. The consequences of alcohol withdrawal are dangerous and potentially life-threatening. Treatment begins with detoxification. Ideally, this is followed by treatment in an inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation facility, where patients are helped to achieve long-term sobriety. If anything, experts believe that the short- and long-term effects of alcohol are the most harmful of all other types of drugs.
Alcohol exposure: treatments
In an inpatient rehabilitation center, patients receive therapy and intensive counseling to help find positive ways to cope with the stress that has led them to alcohol abuse. Treatment begins immediately after detoxification ends. These treatment programs last a minimum of 30 days. They can last up to a year. The best rehab centers are located in quiet, peaceful areas where patients can focus on their recovery. Therapists at these alcohol rehab centers recommend that patients continue outpatient treatment after their stay. It is also suggested to join support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous e. g.