As popular as alcohol is as a beverage, we cannot ignore the toxic effects it has on the body. We are aware of these from experiencing these effects ourselves, and the fact that our liver processes it in the exact same way that it does any other toxin. Our liver is not perfect though, and it can only break down alcohol at a certain rate. The remaining alcohol is sent throughout the body where it damages cells. Long Term Effects Of Alcohol Abuse On The Brain
There are both short-term and long-term effects of alcohol consumption. Let’s look at some of these now:
These are the ones with which most people are more familiar and have probably experienced at least a few times. Obviously, they vary in intensity depending on the level of intoxication. Mental symptoms include: mood swings, tiredness, numbness to pain, sedation, variation in sexual desire, aggressiveness etc.
Aside from the mental effects, there are also physical effects such as: reduced motor skills, poor sensory perception, reduced muscular function etc.
Now a lot of people might have experienced the effects of being fairly intoxicated, but they can go much farther. People with alcohol poisoning will certainly know about these. Eventually enough alcohol can cause so much reduction in muscle function that a person’s diaphragm will not be able to work properly, preventing them from breathing and leading to death. Also the heart muscle can be put off-rhythm, which can also lead to death.
The symptoms mentioned earlier can occur just from one occasion of drinking. The long-term effects occur over a longer period of time of consistent drinking. Some of the commonly known mental symptoms are: permanent mood changes, greater disposition for anxiety/fatigue/rage, as well as a host of poor self-image issues.
Probably one of the most addictive aspects that leads people to become alcoholics is the fact that alcohol causes depression over the long-term, but can relieve depression in the short-term. So what ends up happening is alcohol makes a person depressed, so they drink more alcohol to deal with this…simply worsening the issue and perpetuating a vicious cycle.
In terms of the physical effects of long-term alcohol consumption, the most affected organs are the liver, brain and nervous system. Let’s look at some of the effects on the nervous system. Long Term Effects Of Alcohol Abuse On The Brain
It’s quite well-known that alcohol damages what are known as “peripheral nerves”. These are nerves that are found throughout your body that aren’t part of the brain or spinal cord, but pretty important nonetheless. It’s not quite clear how alcohol damages these nerves, but for our purposes this is irrelevant. Some of the things that can occur are: impotence in men, muscle weakness, random numbness and pains throughout the body, problems with bowel movements etc.
Those are just the symptoms involved with peripheral nerve damage. There is also damage to “autonomic nerves”. Autonomic nerves control your body’s automic functions, the ones you don’t have to think about. Some of the symptoms from this damage include: diarrhea, vomiting, heartbeat irregularity, problems speaking, constipation, difficulty swallowing etc.
Well obviously alcohol affects the brain, to which anyone who has had a bender can testify. Alcohol both does direct damage to the brain, as well as deprive your body of nutrients that your brain requires. Also, because alcohol damages the liver, it prevents other toxins from being removed from the blood as efficiently. This toxic blood will go to the brain and cause even more damage. Some of the effects on the brain include: loss of memory, reduced mental clarity, reduced sensory perception, unpredictable emotional functioning etc.
The liver detoxifies your body and removes most of the alcohol from your blood. Putting your liver under enough stress will damage it. Some of the long-term effects such as cirrhosis. Many people are aware of this disease. It is very serious and can lead to death. Another disease is alcohol hepatitis, a type of inflammation that can lead to jaundice, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting. Actually, this isn’t just a long-term effect. This hepatitis can occur after a single event if toxic enough. Finally, fatty liver can also occur, which is when most of your liver cells are replaced by fat, greatly reducing your liver’s ability to function properly. Long Term Effects Of Alcohol Abuse On The Brain
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