What are the Physical Effects of Alcohol?

Depending on how much you drink, alcohol can be linked to both chronic and acute alcohol-related harms. Chronic alcohol-related harms include cancer, liver cirrhosis and other diseases and illnesses. Acute alcohol-related harms include alcohol poisoning, physical and/or verbal fights and accidents. Exactly how far do alcohol’s effects on the body span?

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Drinking a lot even once affects your body’s immune system. If you get drunk, your body will have a harder time fighting off bacteria and germs up to 24 hours after you were intoxicated.

The Brain — Memory loss, chemical imbalances that cause emotional problems and blackouts are the most common ways drinking can affect mental health.

The Heart — Drinking puts you at an increased risk for cardiovascular disease and heart attacks. It also weakens heart muscles, which causes weaker blood flow and creates a condition called cardiomyopathy. Regular drinking also causes high blood pressure, which puts a person at a greater risk of stroke.

The Liver — The most common physical effect of alcohol is on the liver. The liver is the body’s largest solid organ and weighs roughly 3 pounds. The liver is responsible for many processes including producing important blood proteins and removing substances like alcohol from the body. When there is too much alcohol to process the liver can become damaged.
Cirrhosis causes the organ tissue to scar and prevents proper functions. Without these functions, many health complications can arise.

Your reasons are not insignificant, even if they feel so much smaller than someone else’s. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a friend or professional treatment centre like ours.

Adapted from: Canadian Centre for Addictions