Alcohol use, both short- and long-term affect the brain. The short-term effects of alcohol abuse, including cognitive difficulties and slowed reaction time, are bad enough. These effects contribute to bad decision-making and sometimes dangerous and impulsive behavior.
However, long-term effects of alcohol use can permanently alter brain chemistry, and result in poor memory as well as debilitating brain conditions, such as Wernicke–Korsakoff Syndrome (WKS). WKS can result in long-lasting psychosis in which the person is forgetful, easily frustrated, and has problems with mobility and coordination.
Alcoholism can contribute to severe, chronic diseases. Drinking alcohol excessively for extended periods of time can cause high blood pressure, liver cirrhosis, pancreatitis, and may contribute to a variety of cancers, such as those of the throat, esophagus, breast, stomach, and colon.
Drinking alcohol can cause sickness the next day—hangovers. Simply put, a hangover is your body adjusting to not drinking anymore—and it’s not unlike having withdrawal symptoms for any other substance. Characteristically, you will be tired, thirsty, and have a severe headache. However, depending on how much you drink, you could also be vomiting, having severe anxiety or depression and mood swings, or experiencing tremors.
Drinking alcohol while pregnant can result in birth defects. Most women know that drinking during pregnancy is risky, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 12 reports doing so. This can cause damage to the brain, heart, and other organs, or result in Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. This is probably among the best reasons not to drink alcohol, due to the debilitating effects it can have on an unborn child.
You could be injured while drinking alcohol. Drinking does the three things that are most likely to result in injury—it (1) slows reaction time, (2) impairs judgment, and (3) affects balance and coordination. Therefore, drinking is often a contributing factor to a myriad of physical accidents, such as car crashes, violent altercations, sexual assault, falls, drownings, burns, and misuse of firearms. The list goes on and on…
Alcohol use increases the risk of aggressive behavior, assault, and violence. Alcohol is said to be a huge contributing factor in incidents of domestic violence and physical and sexual assault. While such tragic events can occur without alcohol, there’s no question that drinking can cause emotional dysregulation, reduced inhibitions, and anger and hostility. These factors can easily lead to serious altercations with others—if you are drinking, you may end up being the aggressor or the victim.
Using alcohol can cause dependence. Alcohol is an addictive substance, and persons who use it can get addicted, just like with any other drug. When a person becomes dependent, they usually cannot enjoy the things they used to without the use of alcohol. Drinking, in essence, hijacks the part of your brain responsible for pleasure, so other activities are never again the same as long as you are drinking.
Drinking alcohol can make you gain weight. Alcohol can contain a lot of calories. Specialty beers may have 150-200 calories per 12-ounce can, and just 1-2 shots of liquor and you are there already. There are no nutritional benefits to drinking, and if you are trying to lose weight (or not gain any), this is one of the best reasons not to drink alcohol.
Drinking alcohol can kill you, quickly, not just slowly. Thousands of people die every year from alcohol poisoning and acute liver failure related to drinking. If a person’s blood alcohol concentration reaches greater than .4%, death may be imminent. And that’s in addition to the many people who die in car crashes or other alcohol-related accidents.
Remember, alcohol is technically a toxin and can affect a person’s brain, body, emotional state, and behavior in a myriad of ways. The more alcohol consumed, the more these effects may become apparent.
Getting Help for Alcoholism
Alcoholism, like any addiction, can be a devastating and potentially life-threatening condition. Addiction is now officially recognized by most major medical institutions as a chronic disease that requires comprehensive, long-term treatment in order to address it effectively.
Just Believe Recovery is a specialized, state-of-the-art addiction treatment center that features individualized programs heavily steeped in evidence-based modalities, such as psychotherapy, group support, and substance abuse education. We are equipped to treat all aspects of our client’s physical and emotional well-being, including mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, and more.
By approaching addiction and its underlying causes from a holistic perspective, we ensure that clients receive all the tools and support they need to successfully navigate the recovery process and maintain happiness and sobriety for the rest of their lives.
If you have attempted to quit drinking but have so far been unable to do so on your own, we urge you to contact us today and discover how we help people reclaim their lives and free themselves from the use of addictive substances and behaviors.
We believe that everyone who experiences addiction deserves a better life, and we are dedicated to helping them on their recovery journey every step of the way!