Alcohol Addiction - Short-Term & Long-Term Effects of Alcohol

Short-Term Effects of Alcohol

Alcohol is converted in the body into acetaldehyde. This substance is responsible for, among others, hangovers. These chemical conversions take place in the liver.

Furthermore, the following changes take place when drinking alcohol (Alcohol level in per mille, 1/1000):

Alcohol Level For Women For Men Effect
0-0.5

About 1 glass

About 2 glass The blood vessels under the skin dilate, causing a warm feeling. Taste, smell and vision are reduced a little, and also the sense of pain is reduced.
0.5-1.5

About 1 to 5 glasses

About 2-7 glasses There is a change of mood and behavior. There is overestimation. A numbing effect starts to play a role. Memory decreases, judging situations become more difficult, and speed of reaction is reduced. Muscle coordination is affected, vision changes.
1.5-3

About 5-9 glasses

About 7-14 glasses All the above-mentioned effects are enhanced. Behavior becomes excessively emotional. Self-criticism disappear. The face becomes red and gets swollen, pupils dilate. The chance of nausea and vomiting is high.
3-4 9-13 glasses 14-19 glasses The senses get numbed. The drinker is totally confused. He hardly notices what he hears and sees.
4     The risk of unconsciousness is very high. There is danger to life. He or she can go into a coma and possibly die of a heart attack or respiratory arrest.


Long-Term Effects of Alcohol

Those who often drink too much run a high risk of suffering physical damage. The level of damage depends on the amount. The organs that are used for the absorption and digestion of alcohol, like the stomach, the liver and the pancreas, are vulnerable. The brain also suffers from continuous abuse.

The liver is an important organ for the breakdown of alcohol. Excessive alcohol use can cause fatty degeneration of the liver, causing so-called fatty liver. Liver research has shown that probably more than half of the alcohol addicts have fatty liver. This can cause nausea, vomiting, lack of appetite, loss of weight and fever. After stopping alcohol use, the liver can recover from fatty liver.

The most known incurable liver disorder caused by alcohol abuse is liver cirrhosis.

Other frequent diseases of the organs are gastritis (infection of the mucous membrane of the stomach) and inflammation of the pancreas. Gastritis can cause stomach bleeding; inflammation of the pancreas causes lower absorption of nutrients, causing, among others, loss of weight.

Several investigations have found a relation between excessive alcohol abuse and cancer of the mouth, throat and esophagus, especially with drinkers who also smoke. Heavy drinkers also run a higher risk of contracting cancer of the liver and the large intestine. Women who drink a lot have a higher risk of breast cancer.

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