Most of us know about the short-term effects of alcohol on the body, but what we might not be aware of are the long term affects. Over years, alcohol can wreak havoc on the body and can affect mental health as well. Physicians urge patients to give up alcohol entirely or at the very least drink only on rare occasions.
Short term effects
The short term effects of alcohol can range from mild to severe, depending on how much alcohol you consume and the time period. Alcohol affects the brain quite quickly after consumption, causing you to have slower reaction times, decrease thought capacity, and cause you to be off-balance. For example, let’s say you drink in excess one evening. You could end up with blurred vision, slurred speech, no inhibitions, and perhaps even black out and not remember what you did.
Long term effects
Alcohol can affect your brain and organs over time, which can bring some serious conditions. Obviously, the more alcohol you drink over time, the worse the effects can be. Here are some long term physical poteneffects:
- High blood pressure
- Damage to parts of the brain
- Risk of stroke increases
- Liver damage
- Experiencing alcohol poisoning
- Digestive problems
- Sexual problems
- Cardiovascular disease
There are also other negative effects that can happen with prolonged alcohol use, such as:
- Accidents due to driving while intoxicated
- Injuries that occur during inebriation
- Loss of job
- Loss of relationships, including partner, kids, friends
- Trouble with the law
- Depression, anxiety
What is considered too much drinking?
Many people wonder if perhaps they or a loved one drinks too much because they’re not sure what “too much” means. Is drinking a couple of drinks each evening too much? What about every weekend? The answers as to what is considered too much drinking will vary from person to person and health professionals may differ in opinion as well.
There really is no positive health benefit to alcohol, so to justify drinking based up on health reasons can be excluded. The majority of experts contend that occasional drinking is nothing to be concerned about as long as it is done in a mature fashion. Binge drinking is never safe and drinking to numb or kill the pain is not beneficial either and can lead to a host of emotional and behavioral problems.
Can you have a beer here and there? Maybe, but those who are prone to addiction need to be careful when it comes to drinking. After all, alcohol is a drug and there is an addictive factor in it. At the same time, if you are drinking and it is causing you a problem in any way, you might want to reconsider drinking again. If you wonder if you’re drinking too much, try to cut down or quit completely for a season and then reevaluate down the road. You might find that you like life without alcohol better!
For those of you who feel like you want to cut down or quit drinking but need some help, feel free to reach out to a professional. There are substance abuse professionals, rehabs, and 12 Step groups ready and willing to help you get sober and stay sober. You simply need to take that first step and ask.