You won’t necessarily feel alcohol’s impact on your body right away, but it starts from the moment you take your first sip. Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, which means it slows functions involved with the body and mind.
Because effects like lowered inhibitions, trouble concentrating or a wine headache don’t last long, you might not worry about them. But alcohol use can begin to take a toll on anyone’s physical and mental well-being over time. Drinking too much can take a serious toll on your health.
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), here’s how alcohol can affect your body:
Alcohol interferes with the brain’s communication pathways, and can affect the way the brain looks and works. These disruptions can:
Change mood and behavior
Make it harder to think clearly
Make it harder to move with coordination
Drinking a lot over a long time or too much on a single occasion can damage the heart, causing problems including:
Cardiomyopathy - stretching and drooping of heart muscle
Arrhythmias -iIrregular heart beat
High blood pressure
Heavy drinking takes a toll on the liver, and can lead to a variety of problems and liver inflammations including:
Steatosis, or fatty liver
Alcohol causes the pancreas to produce toxic substances that can eventually lead to pancreatitis, a dangerous inflammation and swelling of the blood vessels in the pancreas that prevents proper digestion.
According to the National Cancer Institute there is a strong scientific consensus that alcohol drinking can cause several types of cancer. Based on data from 2009, an estimated 3.5% of cancer deaths in the United States (about 19,500 deaths) were alcohol related.
Head and neck cancer, including oral cavity, pharynx, and larynx cancers
Immune System Health
Drinking too much can weaken your immune system, making your body a much easier target for disease. Drinking a lot on a single occasion slows your body’s ability to ward off infections – even up to 24 hours after getting drunk.
Chronic drinkers are more liable to contract diseases like pneumonia and tuberculosis than people who do not drink much.
Finding Treatment for Alcoholism
If you or a loved one are ready to discuss treatment, the trained and compassionate counselors at Care Addiction Center are available 24/7 to speak with you at 630-402-0144 and can help you along every step of the way, starting with an assessment.