While some things are fine in moderation, it can be easy for people to go overboard. Alcohol is one of the most common drugs in the world and millions of people become addicted every year. Drinking too much can have serious consequences on physical, mental, and emotional health, so continue reading to learn about alcohol's negative side effects.
Your Memory Can Become Impaired
There are several mental side effects that come with drinking too much alcohol. Memory and learning issues can occur with heavy drinking.
These can be disorders such as dementia or simply poor work or school performance. Alcohol slows down how nerves communicate with each other in the hippocampus part of the brain.
Alcohol Can Cause Insomnia
Sleep is an essential action everyone needs to survive, but consuming too much alcohol can lead to serious sleep issues.
One of the most common sleep disorders caused by alcohol is insomnia. Alcohol can reduce REM sleep and cause severe sleep disruptions. This means that people will have trouble getting any sort of deep sleep.
Alcohol Weakens Bones
The high levels of cortisol seen in people who are alcohol dependent have been shown to decrease bone formation and increase bone breakdown.
Those with alcoholism have an increased parathyroid hormone, which takes calcium from bones. This can lead to fractures, broken bones, and more. Also, people are more likely to get gout because of high levels of uric acid in their bodies.
Life-Threatening Liver Problems
Heavy drinkers are at risk of having some harmful effects on their liver. When people drink alcohol, the liver's job is to break down the alcohol and remove it from the bloodstream.
When there is too much alcohol in the body, it can overwhelm the metabolism process and lead to serious issues such as fatty liver, liver failure, and type 2 diabetes.
The Dangers Of Alcohol Poisoning
One of the most dangerous side effects of alcohol is alcohol poisoning. This occurs when someone drinks large amounts of alcohol within a short period of time.
Alcohol poisoning can cause changes in breathing, heart rate, body temperature, gag reflex, and can possibly lead to a coma or end of life.
Alcohol Can Harm Reproductive Health
Drinking can have a large impact on sexual and reproductive health. This is partly due to the effects on the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal or HPG axis.
Once the HPG axis is damaged, it can lead to abnormalities in reproductive hormones such as testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone, which are needed for fertility. A decrease in fertility can cause mood changes, poor memory, bone loss, and muscle atrophy.
Cancer Can Occur
According to the National Cancer Institute, there is a strong scientific consensus that consuming alcohol can lead to many different types of cancer.
This is because alcohol is a known human carcinogen and the more alcohol someone drinks over time, the higher their risk. These cancers can include head, neck, esophageal, liver, breast, and colorectal.
Your Mental Health Can Go Downhill
Not only does your physical health suffer if you consume too much alcohol, but your mental health can deteriorate as well.
Alcohol is a depressant, which means that it can disrupt the balance of chemicals in your brain and change feelings and actions. This can lead to mental disorders such as depression or anxiety.
Say Goodbye To Your Immune System
Your immune system is there to prevent you from getting sick, but alcohol can impact it in a negative way.
Alcohol compromises the body's immune system and increases the risk of serious illness. It can destroy the cells that line a person's airway, which won't be able to fight off infection.
Heavy Drinking May Lead To Respiratory Infection
Alcohol can do serious damage to many vital organs in the body. It can compromise the respiratory system and lead to infections.
Alcohol causes an increase of aspiration of gastric acid and microbes from the upper part of the throat and decreased clearing of bacterial pathogens. This can negatively affect the lungs and lead to pneumonia and other respiratory issues.
Inflammation Is Bound To Happen
Excessive, long-term drinking has been linked to chronic inflammation. This is because alcohol increases the number of cytokine chemicals in the body.
Heavy drinking also increases cortisol levels and large amounts of this stress hormone can cause inflammation. The Recovery Village states that every organ has the chance of developing inflammation.
Protect Your Heart
The heart is one of the body's most vital organs and heavy drinking can lead to some serious cardiovascular issues.
Several health problems that can occur with chronic drinking include stretched or droopy heart muscle, irregular heart beat, stroke, high blood pressure, weight gain, heart attack, blood clots, and more.
Alcohol Can Ruin Your Social Life
Being dependent on alcohol can ruin your physical, mental, and social life. It can cause several behavioral changes that can have a negative impact on family, friends, and career.
Alcohol can make people behave in angry or outrageous ways that they wouldn't normally do and can push away those who matter most.
The Negative Impact On The Central Nervous System
The central nervous system controls both your physical and mental abilities, but alcohol can disrupt the process. Alcohol reduces communication between the brain and body, so things such as speech and coordination are worse when someone is intoxicated.
Over time, there are more long-term effects of heavy drinking including not being able to create long-term memories and damage to the frontal lobe.
Short-Term Effects Of Alcohol
While drinking alcohol long-term can come with dangerous health issues, there are still negative impacts in the short term.
Drinking large amounts of alcohol within a short period of time should not be done because it can lead to vomiting, the loss of control of bladder and bowels, breathing problems, fainting, coma, and even end of life.
Developing A Dependence
Since alcohol is a drug, people are likely to get addicted and develop a dependence as their tolerance increases.
When someone who has an alcohol dependence stops drinking, they may start getting different physical, emotional, or mental symptoms. Someone who is going through alcohol withdrawal may have cravings, which causes them to drink more.
It Can Lead To Pancreatitis
Drinking too much alcohol can produce some damaging effects on the pancreas. Alcohol causes the pancreas to produce many toxic substances.
When this happens, it can lead to pancreatitis, which is dangerous inflammation and swelling of the blood vessels in the pancreas. Pancreatitis prevents people from properly digesting their food.
There May Be Some Financial Issues
Someone who spends a lot of their life drinking can develop some financial problems down the road.
Buying the alcohol can be pricey, but an alcoholic might also be responsible for paying medical bills related to health issues they developed from heavy drinking. Also, alcoholism can lead to lost wages from unemployment.
There Can Be Vitamin Deficiencies
Being dependent on alcohol can cause people to lose a bunch of vital vitamins and nutrients throughout their bodies. These deficiencies include folate, vitamin B6, thiamine, and vitamin A.
Chronic drinking leads to decreased food ingestion, so people can't receive vitamins from their food. Lacking vitamins can cause people to develop some serious disorders such as amnesia, apathy, and disorientation.
How Kidneys Are Damaged From Alcohol
The body filters out waste and extra fluid through the kidneys, but this process gets disrupted when someone consumes alcohol.
Alcohol dries out and dehydrates the body, which inhibits the kidneys from doing their job. It also changes the hormones that deal with kidney function. If the kidneys can't filter out the waste, it can cause kidney failure.