Alcohol does quite a bit of damage to your body, but I’m sure you already knew that. Consuming alcohol does more than make you drunk or give you a hangover in the morning; alcohol has many long-term effects that may have you thinking twice about getting drunk every weekend. Granted, most of these things won’t happen with moderate alcohol consumption, but even then if you drink a little bit over long periods of time, then it will harm your body. Before you decide to get drunk with your pals this weekend, consider these 5 things alcohol does to your body.
#1 – Your Liver
We’ve all seen it on television or in movies: someone drinks too much alcohol and their liver seems to dissolve and die instantly. That’s actually pretty accurate, even in the most ridiculous cartoons. In reality, however, there are three main maladies that can come from too much alcohol consumption: fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis, and alcoholic cirrhosis. Fatty liver is the tip of the iceberg, and only has minimal symptoms, if any. This disease only has light symptoms such as fatigue and weakness, and can go away if you stop drinking a lot. Alcoholic hepatitis is much more severe: symptoms include vomiting, severe pain, weight loss, and jaundice. If left untreated it can lead to liver failure and even death. Lastly, alcoholic cirrhosis is the scarring of the liver, and has similar symptoms to alcoholic hepatitis but much more intense.
#2 – Your Brain
Too much alcohol does more to your brain than just that obnoxious hangover. Long-term drinking can cause permanent shrinkage, and even destroy some of the links that carry information between cells. Alcohol can also cause Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, which is a deficiency of thiamine (a B vitamin), and can lead to people having permanent coordination, memory, and learning problems. You will pretty much be buzzed or drunk for life…and that’s not a very good thing.
#3 – Your Heart
Alcohol contributes to many negative factors for your heart , such as increased blood pressure, weakened heart muscles, heart rhythm problems, increased triglycerides (fat cells) which contributes to heart disease, and more. Although some alcohol in moderation can actually be beneficial, it’s best to just stay away from it since the pros don’t outweigh the cons. Even if alcohol doesn’t directly contribute to some problems affecting your heart, by harming other parts of your body your heart can be harmed, such as weight gain affecting your cardiovascular health.
#4 – Your Mind and Emotions
It should go without saying that alcohol can drastically affect your mental health, especially in younger people with still-developing brains. Alcohol is known to promote anxiety, depression, anger/aggression, and a slew of other mental health issues. Prolonged drinking can reduce serotonin levels, which are the chemicals needed to regulate emotions, so after a while it can cause severe depression where people only drink more in hopes to reverse it.
#5 – The Rest
Alcohol pretty much harms every part of your body. Drinking can lead to numerous cancers, with mouth and liver cancers being the most common. Alcohol consumption can weaken your immune system, both for 24 hours after drinking and with long-term weakness as well. Alcohol can also lead to harming the pancreas by causing it to produce toxic substances that harm everything around the organ.
Well, there is really no cure for anything above. If you stop drinking you are able to catch illnesses before they worsen, and even reverse some effects. However, the best way to keep alcohol from causing harm is to avoid drinking in the first place. Drinking a bit here and there won’t do much harm, but just be careful and never become dependent on it. Drinking causes more than just annoying hangovers.