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The Short and Long Term Effects of Alcohol

Updated on April 14, 2016
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When it comes to alcohol, the most important thing is moderation. The amount of alcohol consumed on a daily basis is directly linked to the amount of damage caused to a healthy individual's body. So what is the safe amount of consumption?

According to various experts, a single or double serving of alcohol on a daily basis is considered safe for most adults. One serving comprises of four ounces of wine, twelve ounces of beer, or one and a half ounce of distilled spirit.

Before we move on to the short and long term effects of alcohol, it is important that we gain a better understanding of alcohol abuse. Consumption of alcohol in moderation is not just considered harmless to an individual's health; it is even believed to prolong life and live a healthier lifestyle. The problem arises when individuals do not know when to stop.

This is generally experienced when alcohol is used as an escape from social pressures. These may be regarding your personal life or career. The consumption of alcohol above the amount your body can handle leads to problems such as liver damage, nausea, and other conditions.

Moreover, it is not just your body that gets damaged in the process, but alcohol abuse also takes a toll on a person's mental health. Alcoholism was referred to as alcohol use disorder in the latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5), where it was discussed how a person starts depending on alcohol both physically and psychologically over time and reaches a point where daily functioning without it seems close to impossible.

Short-Term Effects of Alcohol Use and Abuse

The short-term effects of alcohol are different for different people. The factors that cause these variations are their physique and habits while consuming alcohol. The effects may seem pleasant at the time but in reality, work towards decreasing your concentration levels, reflex responses, and coordination skills. This, in turn, slows down the activity of the brain, causing severe damage.

It is important to note that all short-term effects of alcohol may be amplified if combined with other legal or illegal mind-altering drugs. Thus, it is advised to avoid alcohol altogether when under the influence of pain medication or any other medication.

The short-term effects of alcohol abuse are broken down into three main categories, which are as follows.

1. When consumed in low doses

When alcohol is consumed in low doses, it may cause a relaxing effect on the entire body along with reducing tension in the muscles, which leads to slow reflexes and an increased reaction time. It also reduces your level of concentration on any particular subject, which contributes to a person's lack of coordination skills.

Furthermore, it can account for a decrease in inhibitions and brain activity. It also is known to reduce sensations and perceptions, making everything a blur.

2. When consumed in medium doses

When any individual consumes a medium dosage of alcohol, the side effects that may appear include the inability to make complete sentences, slurred speech patterns, an excess amount of sleep, different emotions, and an extreme decline in all visionary capabilities. It is also common to observe a disruption in sleeping patterns after a medium dose of alcohol.

Most individuals are known to experience the urge to urinate along with a lowered body temperature. However, one of the most common side effects is the increased flow of blood to the skin.

3. When consumed in high doses

When alcohol is abused in high doses, an individual may experience nausea, vomiting, uncontrollable urination and various other side effects. Therefore, it is always recommended not to consume alcohol at such high levels.

Other side effects also include shortness of breath, passing out, poisoning, and even possibly death. It is for this reason that it is considered imperative to pull the brakes before things get this far.

Long-Term Effects of Alcohol Use and Abuse

It is no surprise that the consumption of alcohol over long periods of time can cause various serious side effects. While it is always better to stop oneself from reaching this point, it also helps to be aware of the consequences. The first serious side effect in the list of many is the death of brain cells, which can lead to various brain disorders as well as a decline in a person's mental and physical capabilities and functioning.

When it comes to damage, the one caused to the brain is nothing compared to the one caused to the liver by the abuse of alcohol over an extended period of time. The damaged liver can result in cirrhosis and other serious medical conditions that may even require a liver transplant.

How Alcohol Affects Your Brain And Body

Alcohol Abuse Facts

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