How Alcohol Affects The Body December 5th, 2019 The Recovery Village at Palmer Lake
Blog & News How Alcohol Affects The Body

How Alcohol Affects The Body

alcohol bottlesDrinking alcohol has a lot of negative consequences on the overall health of your body. Even getting slightly inebriated puts your body and physical health at risk of injury, or even accidental death. The short-term effects of alcohol can be more immediately felt, however, the long-term effects of alcohol take longer to materialize, but can be quite damaging.

In this post we cover both the long-term and short-term effects of alcohol on your body, as well as, the related health risks of excessive alcohol consumption.

Short-Term Effects of Alcohol

Even a single binge drinking episode can have disastrous effects on your health. The initial effects of alcohol can be quite pleasant and give you feelings of increased happiness, relaxation, and self-confidence. But, these feelings can be short lived.

Alcohol consumption leads to impaired thinking, poor judgement and decision making, slower reflexes, reduced coordination, impaired memory, and reduced control of your motor functions. This greatly increases the likelihood of injuring yourself, or making a decision that’s going to lead to a long-term injury or recurring health problem.

When you’re under the influence of alcohol you tend to make poor short-term decisions that can have a negative influence on your long-term bodily health. For instance, drinking and driving is incredibly dangerous and can increase your chances of sustaining a life-altering injury.

Drinking a large amount of alcohol in a short period of time can also lead to alcohol poisoning, which can have a host of dire consequences. Drinking alcohol actually dehydrates your entire body and brain, as well, and this can trigger seizures in some people.

Long-Term Effects of Alcohol

When you’ve been continuously drinking or abusing alcohol over a long period of time it begins to negatively impact your body in many ways. Excessive alcohol consumption will lead to wear and tear across numerous regions of your body. Alcohol consumption will greatly elevate your risk of developing certain cancers, and alcohol use over a long period of time can lead to alcoholism.

Below we showcase the main areas of your body that are impacted by excessive long-term alcohol consumption:


Long-term drinking can lead to a condition known as fatty liver. When the liver becomes inflamed this can lead to hepatitis. Cirrhosis of the liver can also occur with excessive drinking, and your liver becomes so damaged it can no longer regenerate healthy and functional cells. This condition can be potentially fatal as it leads to liver failure.


Alcohol abuse can lead to pancreatitis. The damage from alcohol will lead to inflammation of the pancreas, and can even cause pancreatic cancer. In some cases, alcohol consumption can damage the pancreas’ ability to regulate insulin, which can end up causing diabetes.

Central Nervous System

Long-term drinking can cause extensive damage to your central nervous system. Beyond the short-term memory and cognitive impairments, long-term alcohol consumption can lead to a condition called neuropathy. This condition causes feelings of pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness throughout your limbs.


Since alcohol causes inflammation throughout your body this can lead to stomach ulcers and even bleeding of the stomach in some instances. If your stomach lining becomes weakened to the point of tearing this can lead to anemia.


Prolonged drinking can negatively impact the heart in many ways. For starters, it raises blood pressure, which puts added stress on the heart and arteries. Some common health disorders that heavy drinkers develop can include myocarditis from heart inflammation, cardiomyopathy from the weakening of the heart, and arrhythmia from an irregular heartbeat.

Bone Structure

Long-term drinking can actually accelerate bone loss and will increase your risk of osteoporosis. Since alcohol acts as a diuretic it’ll reduce your ability to effectively absorb calcium. Having weakened bones can lead to an increased risk of bone fracture as you age.

If you, or a loved one, is suffering from the detrimental long-term effects of alcohol consumption, then it’s important you consider getting them the help they require. When addressing a condition like alcoholism, it’s important to treat any co-occurring disorders that might be causing or exacerbating the condition. Our trained medical staff at Palmer Lake Recovery will be able to effectively treat alcoholism and help to assist in the transition to a newly sober life. Don’t wait until it’s too late, get in touch with our team today.

“Alcohol Awareness: Effects on the Body” West Virginia University. Web. 13 Feb 2016.

“Alcohol Effects” WebMD. Web. 13 Feb 2016.

Photo Courtesy of Carlos ZGZ under Creative Commons License.

Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.