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What the Actual Effects Of Alcohol Are On The Body: Long Term and Short Term


It is sometimes forgot that alcohol is a drug. Due to the prevalence of it in our culture and its legality, alcohol is often times not lumped in with other more illicit substances. This at times leads people to erroneously believe that alcohol consumption is completely safe and that there are not any adverse effects to its usage.

While this may be true for the casual drinker, who only has a glass of wine every once in awhile, alcohol consumption is not without its negative effects For those who suffer with alcoholism there is a mistaken belief that they can somehow be reformed or that you can make a normal drinker out of an alcoholic.. For instance, and many people would be surprised to know, that every day 28 people die due to alcohol related car accidents. That averages out to one every 53 minutes. This is not technically a bodily effect of alcohol, but it does speak to the dangers that alcohol can pose to someone’s life.

This statistic aside, let‘s take a look at both the short term and long term effects that alcohol has on the body, and see what this seemingly benign drug does to a person.

The Short Term Effects of Alcohol on the Body

For what we are currently discussing I am using short term to mean within a few hours of alcohol being consumed. So to this regard I am talking about how alcohol affects the body when a person is drinking or drunk.

Almost every person above the age of 21 and many below this age know what it is like to be drunk. There is a disconnected feeling and for many an overall feeling of happiness and warmth. This feeling can be so intoxication, no pun intended, that people will actually pursue it,at the destruction of their own lives, i.e. alcoholics and addicts. But what is actually going on to the body when a person gets drunk and what are some of the effects that alcohol produces.

Alcohol consumption in the short term produces the following effects:

  • Slurred speech
  • Slowed motor skills
  • Impaired judgment
  • Impaired vision and hearing
  • Drowsiness
  • Slowed breathing

The list above includes what just about every person who drinks a little bit too much can expect as short term effects from alcohol, but for those who go past this mark and drink way too much, a whole other set of problems can arise. Among them are:

  • Anemia, or a decrease in the amount of red blood cells in the blood
  • Unconsciousness
  • Coma
  • Blackout, or not being able to remember periods of times
  • Vomiting
  • Dehydration
  • Breathing difficulty

From this list of symptoms it is easy to see why 6 people die everyday from alcohol poisoning, as the effects that alcohol can have on the body in the short term can be staggering.

The Long Term Effects of Alcohol on the Body

 Once again the way that alcohol will affect your body in the long term depends on how much you consume. If you only have a drink every now and again then more than likely you will not experience any adverse effects, but if drink often or drink a lot, then you will probably experience some of the below symptoms.

  • High blood pressure, stroke, or other heart diseases
  • Liver damage, Jaundice
  • Wet Brain, or permanent brain damage
  • Ulcers
  • Cancer of the mouth and throat, or breast cancer in women
  • Nerve damage
  • Impotency
  • Gastritis
  • Malnutrition
  • Alcoholic hepatitis

This list of effects that long term alcohol use can have on the body are a variably who’s who of health problems. All of the major categories are present from heart disease, cancer, liver problems, stomach problems, and nerve problems. When looking at this list, it makes you question why alcohol is legal and many other drugs are still illegal.

What is even worse is the effects that alcohol have on the body when alcohol usage is discontinued. Depending on how long a person drinks for and how much they drank, attempting to stop drinking can be fatal.

In fact alcohol is one of the few substances where the detox process has the potential to be fatal. People who are daily drinkers or heavy binge drinkers can experience the following effects if they attempt to stop drinking without the proper medical supervision.

  • Vomiting
  • Insomnia
  • Shaky hands
  • Disorientation
  • Anxiety
  • Hallucinations
  • Sweating
  • Seizures
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Tremors
  • Delirium tremens

So if you think that you may have a problem with alcohol and are planning on stopping drinking, please seek professional help so that you can safely detox.

What Does All Of This Say About Alcohol?

 I do not want to come off as someone who is bashing alcohol. I don’t really have anything against it or people that can drink successfully, but I think it is important for people to understand that it is not as safe as they may think. It is a powerful drug that results in the death of hundreds of thousands of people every year.

Alcohol is in a sense engrained in our culture identity and because of this we often times look past its dangers and view it as innocuous, but the truth is that it has the potential to do great bodily harm to a person if not used responsibly. It can result in any number of health problems in the short and long term, and if a person gets behind the wheel of a car, it can result in their death or the death of others. Understanding the risk involved when consuming alcohol is important, especially for teenagers, because alcohol kills more people aged 15-24 then all other drugs combined. So hopefully this post helped to shed some light on what alcohol can do the body.


Rose Lockinger is a passionate member of the recovery community. A rebel who found her cause, she uses blogging and social media to raise the awareness about the disease of addiction. She has visited all over North and South America. Single mom to two beautiful children she has learned parenting is without a doubt the most rewarding job in the world. Currently the Outreach Director at Stodzy Internet Marketing.

You can find me on LinkedIn, Facebook, & Instagram

What the Actual Effects Of Alcohol Are On The Body: Long Term and Short Term
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