Alcohol can have Long-term effects on the brain when you drink Large amounts of it. In other words, if consumed in lower quantity, the effects of Alcohol will stop when you stop drinking. But if you drink large amounts for a long period of time, the negative effects build up and can last long after you stop drinking.
Health effects of alcohol have been observed in nearly every organ of the body. Indeed alcohol consumption has been linked to more than 60 diseases.
Learn More about the Effects of Alcohol on the Body
CARDIOVASCULAR EFFECTS OF ALCOHOL
Alcohol consumption, particularly heavy drinking occasions, can contribute to High Blood Pressure, Abnormal heart rhythms, Heart failure, and Strokes. At low levels of consumption (less than 40g of pure alcohol per day) without heavy drinking occasions, alcohol may protect against strokes, at least in women. This is equivalent to 3 small glasses of wine or 1 liter of beer per day. Above this limit, the risks of cardiovascular disease increase dramatically.
Alcohol is the main cause of liver cirrhosis in developed countries. However, in China and India, for instance, liver cirrhosis is mainly caused by other factors such as viral infections. The fraction of liver cirrhosis attributable to alcohol ranges from as low as 10% in China, up to 90% in Finland. It is very difficult to determine whether an individual’s cirrhosis is induced by alcohol or by other unspecified causes, and a considerable proportion of deaths from cirrhosis in which alcohol is not mentioned may, in fact, be attributable to alcohol. Apparently, the risk of liver cirrhosis mainly depends on the volume of alcohol consumed, but possibly also on heavy drinking occasions.
MENTAL EFFECTS OF ALCOHOL
Alcohol can cause social effects and health effects (both physical and mental).
Social effects are for instance those that affect the behavior of individuals, or how they interact with others. Although mainly health effects of alcohol are discussed here, it is important to note that social harm has a major impact on well-being, even if it cannot be easily quantified.
Alcohol appears to contribute to causing depression. Moreover, alcohol dependence and other mental conditions often go hand in hand, though the role of alcohol in these conditions remains unclear.
Effects of alcohol on the unborn child/fetus
The fetus is at risk when the mother consumes alcohol during pregnancy.
The risks include overt birth defects and a less obvious group of effects known as Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). Disorders may range from minor anomalies, for example of the face, thr1ough to adverse effects on brain development, including mental retardation. If you want to increase your chances of fertility then you might need to cut down on Alcohol.
Alcohol consumption during pregnancy can also cause spontaneous abortion, slower fetal growth in the womb, premature birth and low birth weight.
Alcohol can cause a number of different cancers: The risks of developing lip, tongue, throat, Oesophagus and liver cancer increases proportionally with the amount of alcohol consumed.
Alcohol Even moderate alcohol consumption can cause breast cancer, according to recent research, and a series of studies confirm that the risk increases with the amount consumed.
The relationship between alcohol and mental disorders was not well studied until recently. However, there is sufficient evidence to assume that alcohol plays a role in causing depression.
Individuals often suffer from alcohol problems in combination with depression
Alcohol dependence and major depression occur together, both within short time periods, such as a year, and over a lifetime. The higher the amount consumed, the greater the number of symptoms of depression. Compared to the general population, depression is seen more frequently in patients being treated for alcohol abuse or dependence. Similarly, a higher frequency of alcohol-related disorders is seen in patients being treated for depression.
Alcohol goes along with increased risk of physical injury from road accidents, falls, fires, sports, and recreation, self-inflicted injuries and violence. The presence of alcohol in the body may also aggravate injuries.
Alcohol causes unintentional injuries, mainly through traffic accidents, because it affects reaction times, thought processing, coordination, and vigilance. A large review has shown that tasks involving coordination between the brain and muscular action start to be affected above a blood alcohol level of 40 to 50 mg% (0.04%-0.05%).
The risk of unintentional injury increases with the level of alcohol consumption, even at relatively low levels. The risk of injury is greatest when individuals consume much more than they normally do.
In summary, the amount of alcohol consumed, and more specifically the actual blood alcohol content, determines the likelihood of unintentional injury.
Alcohol consumption is also strongly associated with intentional injuries caused by aggressive behavior leading to violent crime. Drinking frequently precedes violent incidents and the severity of the violence is related to the amount of drinking beforehand.
Different effects of alcohol contribute to increased likelihood of aggressive behavior. Effects of alcohol on the brain can reduce the anxiety about the consequences of one’s actions. They also impair thinking and problem-solving ability in situations of conflict and result in overly emotional responses. Other effects of alcohol on behavior include a resolute focus on the present (alcohol myopia) and a need to affirm personal power, at least for men.
A number of disease conditions are wholly attributable to alcohol. These include alcoholic psychoses, alcohol-dependence syndrome, as well as some diseases affecting the nerves (alcoholic polyneuropathy), the heart (alcoholic cardiomyopathy), the stomach (alcoholic gastritis), and the liver (alcoholic liver cirrhosis).
Over time, excessive alcohol use can lead to the development of chronic diseases and other serious problems. Intoxication is strongly linked to accidents, injuries, deaths, domestic conflict, and violence.
The short and long-term effects of alcohol can affect your body, lifestyle and mental health. Armed with the facts you can make an informed choice about your drinking. The effects of alcohol on health and well-being can manifest themselves as a chronic disease, accidents, and injuries, as well as short-term and long-term social consequences. Both the amount of alcohol consumed and the pattern of drinking determines the effects of Alcohol to our Health.
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