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The Immediate and Long-term Effects of Alcohol on the Body

When you consume alcohol, you may feel less inhibited, find it easier to talk to people and generally have a happy, carefree feeling. However, there are many negative consequences to drinking alcohol as well. Take a look at what happens shortly after you have a drink along with what may occur after sustained consumption of alcohol over a long period of time.

What Individuals Experience Shortly After Consuming Alcohol

After you consume your first drink, you may notice you feel a little warmer and people around you become more attractive. The first drink should take about an hour to metabolize through your body and be carried out through your urine. However, if you consume more than three drinks in an evening, you may find you’re unable to control your speech and may also experience exaggerated feelings of love, happiness or hostility.

Short-term memory may be impacted when you consume a large quantity of alcohol. The amount you need to drink to suffer from such an effect depends on your size, prior alcohol usage and how much you had to eat before drinking. For the average man, consuming more than five drinks in a night may lead to memory loss or loss of awareness during the drinking episode itself. This is referred to as blacking out, and you may not remember events from the previous hour or previous several hours even as you experience them.

Women may experience a blackout episode after having more than three drinks in one night. Women generally have a lower alcohol tolerance because of their smaller size and the way in which their bodies process alcohol. However, it’s possible for a women to drink more without suffering such effects, or for a man to drink less and suffer such effects. Alcohol blackouts are serious events, often indicating a drinking problem exists if occurring frequently enough.

The morning after drinking, you may notice you’re dehydrated and dizzy and have a headache. These symptoms can be partially mitigated by eating a large meal before or after drinking along with consuming plenty of water. Most people feel dizzy or even vomit because there’s too much alcohol in the system, which is toxic to the body. Vomiting is a way to expel the poison and protect the body from shutting down or dying.

Chronic Use: The Long-term Effects of Alcohol on the Body

The Immediate and Long-term Effects of Alcohol on the Body While those who’ve consumed alcohol for many months or years may have a higher tolerance, they may suffer the most serious effects of alcohol on the body. Over the long-term, drinkers may suffer liver and kidney damage because the body can no longer efficiently get rid of the toxic substance. It’ll build up and leave a residue within the body that can take days, weeks or months to eliminate.

You may start to notice you have less energy and may suffer from mood swings. If you’ve been drinking for a long period of time, it could take weeks or months for you to notice your energy level improve and your mood swings decrease after you stop drinking. However, these symptoms are generally reversible if you abstain from drinking and follow the plan your doctor will lay out as you recover from chronic alcohol use.

Nerve damage is possible after sustained alcohol use. This damage can be exacerbated by the lack of vitamins and minerals in your daily diet. You may want to start taking vitamins or making sure to eat a diet high in electrolytes and other essential nutrients. In addition to the lack of a proper diet, nerve damage can be increased by the lack of sleep that often occurs after many nights of drinking.

After a while, your body chemistry can be physically altered, and you may start to become addicted to alcohol. While you can reverse these changes through abstinence, it may take several attempts to successfully reach this goal. You may need to seek treatment through either an inpatient or outpatient program immediately. Your doctor can recommend a treatment plan that meets your needs, and also prescribe medication that’ll help you deal with the symptoms you’re experiencing as you wean from alcohol for good.

If you or someone you know has a problem with drinking, it’s important to know where to turn to get help. The effects of alcohol on the body can be severe after just a few drinks. Therefore, you should strongly consider calling the helpline at 800-447-9081 for advice and resources to get yourself or a loved one assistance right away.

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