A lot of people enjoy drinking. Whether you drink often or just once a year, alcohol begins to impact your body the moment you take your first sip. The occasional glass of wine at dinner may not be a cause for concern, but the cumulative impacts of drinking can take quite a toll on your body. Alcohol addiction is a whole other story: the more alcohol someone consumes, the more of an effect it has on the system. These effects can lead to dangerous, destructive choices such as drinking and driving, violence, and more.
For people who drink heavily or for those who are simply curious, take a look at our comprehensive guide of the effects of alcohol on the body. We’ll delve into the key organs that drinking affects in both occasional and addictive drinkers as well as other ways drinking can affect your mental capacities and your life.
Organs That Alcohol Affects
One of the main organs that heavy drinking impacts is the brain. Alcohol affects your brain’s ability to communicate with the different areas of your body. This can result in lack of coordination, blackouts, shakiness, hallucinations, and behavioral changes. For a lot of people, these behavioral changes are typically what gets them in the most trouble. Drinking can make angry people angrier, violent people more violent, sad people sadder, and so on. These behavioral changes have to do with your brain’s ability to process different scenarios, and they can lead to big problems.
Another important organ that drinking affects is your heart. Drinking a lot over time or even just too much on a single occasion can cause a lot of damage to the heart. Typical heart problems that result from drinking can include:
- Cardiomyopathy: Also called heart muscle disease, this can happen to people who regularly or excessively drink. This condition makes it hard for the heart to deliver blood to the body, and it can lead to heart failure.
- Arrhythmias: Heavy drinking can cause the heart to beat improperly. This can mean that your heart beats too fast, too slowly, or irregularly.
- High Blood Pressure: One of the most common bodily reactions to someone who drinks excessively is high blood pressure. High blood pressure can lead to a lot of other issues within the body, such as eventual stroke, heart disease, or kidney failure.
Have you ever wondered why you wake up shaking and light-headed after a night of heavy drinking? A few things could have caused this, from dehydration to a weakened immune system. Most often, however, this shakiness results from the fact that you overloaded your liver the night before. Instead of processing and releasing sugar into the blood stream, your liver is trying to process the alcohol you consumed. This results in a shaky and weakened morning for you. On top of that, one of the most severe medical consequences of chronic alcohol abuse is liver disease, wherein the liver becomes inflamed or scarred.
Alcohol consumption also highly affects your stomach. Drinking too much leads to quite a bit of stomach distress; the increase in stomach acid can cause bloating, gas, and ulcers. Alcohol irritates the lining of your stomach and makes your digestive juices flow, often leading to nausea and vomiting. If you’ve been drinking long enough, this will eventually lead to ulcers. The effects alcohol has on your stomach can also cause a lack of hunger, which leads to a lack of nutrients in long-term drinkers.
Your bladder is another organ that feels the impact of heavy drinking right from the get-go. Alcohol is a diuretic, which means a person will experience an uptick in urine production. Alcohol also irritates the bladder, which means drinkers will often feel the need to urinate more often.
Last on our list of organs that alcohol impacts is the body’s biggest organ, the skin. Consuming alcohol can cause a number of short- and long-term skin problems. Alcohol dehydrates you: you may notice cotton-mouth in the morning, and your skin receives those same dehydrating effects. Your skin will look drier, feel less buoyant, and show more fine lines. Drinking also exacerbates inflammation. Just as alcohol can impact your brain by altering blood vessels, those same blood vessels have just as much of an effect on the skin. Booze can cause blood vessels to dilate, which can worsen the appearance of facial redness, create more acne, and more.
Other Ways Drinking Affects Your Body
The thing that tends to encapsulate the way people usually feel after the drinking is a hangover. The effects of alcohol differ for each person, especially when it comes to hangovers. For example, some people’s stomach acid builds up so high during their time drinking that their body forces them to throw up. For other people, the dehydration and dilated blood vessels make the brain expand, causing headaches. All these awful feelings stem from how the alcohol interacts with your body.
Weakened Immune System
Another big effect drinking has on your body is what it does to your immune system. Many people don’t link a cold with a night of drinking, but the two actually have a connection. Alcohol slows your immune system, making all the things that help fight bacteria and germs much less efficient. Therefore, heavy drinkers are more likely to succumb to illnesses.
Alcohol-Induced Psychiatric Syndromes
As we mentioned above, alcohol does a lot of damage to the brain. Excessive alcohol use, even if it’s not chronic, can lead to a lot of psychiatric syndromes. You’ll notice that a lot of alcohol abusers have depression, bipolar disorder, sleep disorders, psychotic disorders, and more. Several other mental illnesses are linked to excessive alcohol intake as well.
When you’re drinking, you have to realize that the booze is going to impact your body in many different ways. Though you may feel like you’re okay to drive or that your anger is justified, you are more than likely not okay. Be smart about your drinking habits, reach out for help, and if need be, contact a lawyer who can help you form your case. Because it’s quite simple: all these effects on the body and mind can lead to bad situations, including public intoxication, property crimes, DUIIs, violence, and more. In addition to getting alcohol addiction help, turn to a Clackamas County DUII and criminal defense attorney. People make mistakes, and Jared Justice can help you fix them. Contact him now.