Many people do not realize the health hazards associated with drinking alcohol because it is legal. However, alcohol has many detrimental short and long-term effects on the brain and body. If you're considering quitting drinking, this information could be the motivation you need to kick alcohol to the curb.

The Brain

Short-term effects of alcohol on the brain include mood and behavior changes, such as impaired judgment. Alcohol disrupts the normal balance of neurotransmitters in the brain. These disruptions to the neurotransmitters can cause depression, agitation, memory loss, and even seizures. Alcohol causes your brain's neurotransmitters to work more slowly, resulting in a feeling of drowsiness.

Binge drinking or prolonged alcohol consumption cause alterations in the neurons and reductions in the size of brain cells. These changes cause poor motor coordination, difficulties with temperature regulation, struggles with sleep, mood instabilities, and difficulties learning and remembering information.

The Body

Alcohol also has a correlation with increased rates of mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, and breast cancer. Drinking too much alcohol also has a negative effect on the immune system. People who drink alcohol excessively and over a long period of time are more likely to develop pneumonia and tuberculosis, whereas drinking a lot over a single occasion can slow down your body's ability to ward off infections for up to 24 hours after getting drunk.

Cardiovascular Risks and Disease

Consumption of alcohol, whether it’s repeated consumption over a long time, or too much on a single occasion, can cause damage to the heart. This includes cardiomyopathy, which is stretching and drooping of the heart muscle when it can’t pump blood efficiently. Cardiomyopathy can be hereditary, but it can also be caused by long-term alcohol abuse. Other cardiac problems that can result from alcohol abuse include arrhythmias, strokes, and high blood pressure.

Damage to the Excretory System

Alcohol can cause potentially permanent and fatal damage to the liver. Hepatic steatosis, alcoholic hepatitis, fibrosis, and cirrhosis of the liver are all health conditions associated with drinking too much alcohol. Hepatic steatosis is when there is too much fat in the liver. Alcoholic hepatitis is an inflamed liver and can lead to the development of jaundice, a yellowing of the skin and eyes. Fibrosis and cirrhosis both refer to scarring of the liver. Whereas hepatic steatosis and alcoholic hepatitis can usually be reversed once a person abstains from consuming alcohol, fibrosis and cirrhosis are often irreversible.

Drinking large amounts of alcohol over a long period of time can cause inflammation of the pancreas, or pancreatitis, which can be fatal.

The majority of people in our society are able to rattle off the many positives they see to drinking alcohol. You may frequently hear or say, that alcohol has relaxing or calming effects, and may even make you feel better.

However, many people are unaware of the negative physical effects associated with drinking alcohol. April is Alcohol Awareness Month, which aims to increase awareness about the disease and reduce stigma. Alcoholism is fatal when left untreated, but people can recover. Use this information about detrimental effects as motivation to make the change if you or a loved one need help.

Author's Bio: 

Pyramid Healthcare offers detox, inpatient and outpatient services for teens recovering from drug abuse at locations throughout Pennsylvania. Contact us today to see how we can help.