man suffering the effects of alcohol

Physiological Effects of Alcohol

Alcohol has both physiological and psychological effects. One of the things that can help greatly with dealing with long-term psychological effects is an EMDR therapy program. The physiological effects of alcohol often require a medical doctor if they continue for too long. The physiological effects of alcohol fall into both short-term and long-term categories.

Just a quick look at alcohol statistics shows how big the problem is. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), about 86% of people in the United States report drinking alcohol at some point in their lives, and about 60% say they drink regularly.

Without question, alcohol abuse is a serious problem in the US, with about one in every four adults struggling with it at some point in their lives. Alcohol abuse can lead to a number of problems, including liver damage, brain damage, heart disease, and cancer. It can also lead to accidents and violence.

In the US, alcohol abuse is responsible for about 88,000 deaths each year. In fact, it’s the third leading cause of preventable death in the US, behind only tobacco and poor diet/exercise. About 6% of all US adults suffer the physiological effects of alcoholism. This means that they are unable to control their drinking, and it often leads to problems with work, school, and relationships.

Do you or something you love need alcohol addiction treatment? Call us today at 844.875.5609 for more information.

What Are Physiological Effects?

Physiological effects are those that happen in the physical body. They can be in a body part such as your arms, legs, heart or lungs or in the chemical makeup of your body. When we discuss the physiological effects of alcohol, most are long-term. The greater the amount of alcohol consumed over time, the more changes that occur. This is also true about how early a person starts drinking. If you started drinking during your teenage years, while your body was still developing, the physiological effects of alcohol are greater and occur after a shorter period of drinking regularly.

When even one body system or part is damaged, it affects all the others. For example, when the brain is damaged, it can make thinking difficult but it also involves damage to the nerves throughout your body. When nerves are damaged, your brain doesn’t communicate well with organs such as your liver. When the liver is damaged, it affects the pancreas, which in turn affects the stomach and insulin levels. This can cause diabetes, which in turn creates even further problems. No part of your body works alone and everything you put into it has some effect, good or bad.

Short-term Physiological Effects of Alcohol

The short-term physiological effects of alcohol are some of the most noticeable. These are the things you notice that make you say a person is drunk. They can also be the chemical changes that make a person feel woozy or elated. They wear off fairly quickly. These include such things as:

  • Slurred speech
  • Staggering
  • Passing Out
  • Hangovers
  • Vomiting

These are often short-lived and clear up once the alcohol is completely out of your system. This isn’t the case with long-term effects.

Long-term Physiological Effects of Alcohol

The long-term physiological effects of alcohol normally take many years to develop. These effects are normally occurring silently as you drink and you don’t think about them. They are, however, the most devastating. The long-term effects include such things as:

  • Liver damage — This is the most common, as over time the liver loses the ability to filter the alcohol
  • Heart problems — The heart can begin to malfunction and create such things as high blood pressure and poor circulation
  • Lung issues — Alcohol lowers your immune system which makes it difficult to fight off viruses that can cause pneumonia and other lung diseases
  • Sexual dysfunction — Over time alcohol affects the ability for many men to get or hold onto an erection
  • Brain shrinkage — Over time, the frontal lobe is seen to shrink. This part of the brain control thinking processes involved in memory and decision-making as well as emotional regulation.

Some of the long-term effects of alcohol can be minimized when a person stops consuming alcohol. This is especially true if the cessation starts before the damage is too great. In other cases, like that with the heart and liver, once the damage is done, it can’t be reversed.

Let Promises Behavioral Health Help

You don’t have to allow alcohol to ruin your body. Here at Promises Behavioral Health, we believe it is never too late to make a break from alcohol and live a healthier life. Contact us today if you or a loved one is having problems with alcohol or drug abuse. Call us today at 844.875.5609. We are here to help.

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