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Top 5 Alcohol Abuse Effects

Updated on August 25, 2013

Alcohol abuse is a growing problem of today. An increasing number of people, especially youngsters are turning to alcohol, sometimes due to peer pressure, sometimes to cope with their insecurities or troubled state of mind, and sometimes just out of ignorance. Alcohol abuse during adolescence, which is quite common, is detrimental for the development of the brain. People seldom realize that alcohol abuse is not just a problem in itself. It is in fact the starting point of a number of other problems including dysfunction of the body, psychological disorders as well as social problems. Here is a list of five effects that alcohol abuse may have on your health.

The Top 5

1. Gastrointestinal effects

Alcohol abuse greatly affects the stomach, the intestines and the pancreas. It can cause ulcers in the stomach and the intestine, hyperacidity and gastritis. Excessive consumption of alcohol leads to abnormal functioning of the pancreas, or pancreatitis, and may also cause diabetes in individuals. Liver diseases such as fatty liver, hepatitis and cirrhosis are also closely associated with alcohol consumption. When alcohol enters the gastrointestinal tract, it interferes with the food absorption process that takes place in the stomach and leads to malnutrition.

2. Neurological complications

Alcohol abuse gives rise to several neurological problems. Its immediate effects include blackouts, paralysis of eye muscles, short term memory loss and speech impairment, among others. Alcohol abuse over a period of time can lead to dementia and disturb intellectual functioning of the brain. Alcohol abuse brings about slow degeneration of the brain cells, giving way to problems in sensory and motor controls of the body, thereby affecting body balance, walking and eye movements. Alcohol also hampers memory, perception, reaction time and judgment in an individual.

3. Effect on blood

When alcohol is ingested, it directly enters the blood stream, making the RBCs to cluster up and clog small blood vessels, as a result of which the tissues do not receive enough oxygen and the cells ultimately die. Clogged blood vessels can also rupture blood capillaries, causing redness in the eyes. If capillaries of a visceral organ get ruptured, it can damage the organ and cause hemorrhage. Alcohol abuse harms the bone marrow, thereby reducing RBC and WBC count in the body, and can also cause anemia over a prolonged period.

4. Effect on muscles

The effect of alcohol on muscles is equally injurious. It hampers the blood flow to the muscles and causes muscle weakness. Short term effect of alcohol on the muscles includes recurring muscle pain and shortness of breath. Alcohol abuse, in the long term, can damage the heart muscles and cause cardiomyopathy, a disorder that can further lead to arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat, and in some extreme cases, sudden cardiac death or heart failure may also occur.

5. Social repercussions

Social repercussions of alcohol abuse can be much more disturbing and difficult to deal with. It is often seen that people who indulge in alcohol abuse have troubled social and personal lives. If a parent is alcoholic, the children are subjected to inappropriate behavior and traumas. Alcoholic people also tend to become aggressive, and cases of domestic violence are quite common in such households. Indulging in alcohol can lead to loss of employment, make a person irritable and can evoke anti-social feelings.


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