How Does Drinking Alcohol Affect Your Body in the Long and Short Term?

How Does Drinking Alcohol Affect Your Body in the Long and Short Term?

We are all familiar with alcohol and know how our favorite beverages containing this intoxicating ingredient can make us feel. Do we know the actual effects it has on our body and mind, both in the short term and the long term? Even if you do not drink too much alcohol, it may be quite an eyeopener to discover what happens when you consume it.

As a depressant, it slows down the systems in your body, which is why you are left feeling chilled. It is also often hard for your body to deal with and can put unnecessary pressure on your cardiovascular system, your digestive system and as you’d probably guess, your liver.

It is completely legal to buy alcohol in the US if you are over 21 years old, but is it worth it? That’s up to you to make the call yourself, but it may help with your decision if you understand the effect it can have on your body.

Alcohol, Its Short-Term Effects

What happens in the short term when you drink alcohol? Within the first few minutes of drinking alcohol, it is directly absorbed into your bloodstream via your small intestine and stomach lining blood vessels. From there, it makes it way quickly to your brain where its intoxicating effects take hold.

In the short term, the effects it can have and their severity, depends on:

  • If you have eaten any food
  • Your gender, weight and the percentage of fat in your body
  • How quickly you drank it
  • How much you drank

When you drink alcohol with a meal it slows down the rate at which your body absorbs the alcohol, causing less intoxication and side effects

Alcohol, Its Long-Term Effects

There are around 200 health conditions related to injuries and diseases that are caused, even if only in part, by consuming alcohol. These can range from various cancers, liver cirrhosis, dependency and addiction to injuries like assaults, burns, falls, automobile accidents and even drowning.

There are reportedly 88,000 individuals who suffer from alcohol-related deaths every year in the US, which means it is the third preventable cause of death.

The problem with alcohol when consumed regularly over a long time is that it can affect all the systems in your body, so it can cause you health issues in just about any part of your body.

Interestingly, there have been studies that show women drinking more than the recommended amount of alcohol regularly develop nerve damage, cardiomyopathy and liver damage more quickly than men.

One of the main concerns with regard to alcohol consumption is just how many younger members of society do it. Studies have shown around 20% of students attending college meet the requirements for Alcohol Use Disorder, with around 623,000 people between the ages of 12 and 17 years old.

This is such a serious problem because alcohol has serious effects on young people’s brains as they develop, during the period from fetal development through to when adolescence ends.