Alcohol is a type of liquid that can make people feel different. It's found in drinks like beer, wine, and spirits. When people drink alcohol, it affects their brain and body in many ways.
How does alcohol effect my organs?
Alcohol use poses the greatest danger to the liver since the liver acts as a filter and is the main site for alcohol breakdown. Heavy drinking can lead to liver inflammation and excess fat accumulation. Long term abuse can lead to more severe conditions like cirrhosis, where scar tissue replaces healthy liver cells.
Alcohol can effect the heart in various ways. Excessive alcohol intake strains the heart, which may lead to high blood pressure, irregular heartbeats (arrhythmias), and cardiomyopathy (weakened heart muscles). Long-term heavy drinking increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, and heart failure. Alcohol's impact on the heart depends on the quantity consumed and individual health factors.
Alcohol strongly influences the brain. Initially, it can cause relaxation and happiness by slowing down brain activity. But excessive consumption impairs judgment, coordination, and memory, leading to poor decision-making and accidents. Chronic alcohol use can damage brain cells, resulting in cognitive issues, mood disorders, and even alcohol-induced brain disorders. Additionally, alcohol disrupts the balance of neurotransmitters, affecting mental health. Long-term abuse can lead to addiction and withdrawal symptoms.
What other impacts can alcohol have on my wellbeing?
Alcohol affects sleep patterns. Initially, it might make people fall asleep faster, but as its effects wear off, sleep quality diminishes. It disrupts the sleep cycle, reducing REM (rapid eye movement) sleep crucial for restoration and dreaming. This leads to fragmented sleep, frequent awakenings, and daytime sleepiness. Alcohol worsens sleep apnea and snoring too. While it might help with falling asleep, its overall impact on sleep structure and quality is negative. Avoiding alcohol close to bedtime can help maintain better sleep patterns and overall sleep health.
How can I find help?
The Wellness League Search Tool can help you find free and low cost programs in your community to help you change your relationship with alcohol. On the search page, simply enter your zip code and the resource you’re looking to find like “alcohol dependency”.
In all, too much of anything can be bad for the body and mind. It's important to know your limit and be careful about how much you drink. If you're not sure, it's a good idea to talk to a doctor or someone you trust.