The effects of alcohol abuse generally fall into two broad categories: long-term and short-term. The short-term effects usually result from drinking for a few hours and include difficulty with balance and walking, slurred speech, slowed reaction times, and impaired memory.
Drunk driving is a common consequence of alcohol’s short-term effects, where poor judgment and slowed reaction times may lead to accidents, often fatal. Long-term effects can be even more severe and difficult to reverse.
Dangerous Effects of Alcohol Abuse
Alcohol is a depressant. It disrupts the stimulation of inhibitory nerves in many areas of the brain. This includes the hippocampus, which plays a role in the organization of sensory input while an experience is happening. Severe damage to the hippocampus can result in profound anterograde amnesia, where the alcoholic can remember events up to the time of brain damage but not after it.
You may see the same person everyday but are unable to remember the encounter, so each meeting seems like the first one. Other short-term effects of alcohol abuse include memory loss and blackouts.
A person may drink so much at one session that they lose their inhibitions, undertake undesirable behavior such as fighting, vandalism and unprotected sex, and not remember any of it later. A large quantity of alcohol, if taken too quickly, may result in blackouts, a phenomenon currently found to be much more common than formerly believed, especially in women.
The effects of alcohol abuse over the years results in serious health and intelligence issues. It is difficult to separate general health and intelligence because they are intertwined. For example, malnutrition may occur. Alcoholics sometimes consume up to 40% of their calorie intake in the form of alcohol.
Alcohol provides no nutrient value, but it may cause you to feel full and, therefore, not eat enough food. Alcohol is also a diuretic, causing dehydration. So you may suffer from the physiological effects of both malnutrition and dehydration. A breakdown like this in the body system can eventually affect brain tissues resulting in a severe effect of alcohol abuse.
Alcohol abuse can lead to liver dysfunction, which results in buildup of ammonia because the liver cannot synthesize it into urea and urine. Ammonia is highly toxic and can cause a disorder known as hepatic encephalopathy. If not caught in time by medical care, coma and death may result.
The bottom line is that when brain functions are damaged so that memory, reaction times, and judgment are affected, an individual’s intelligence is severely impaired in many ways.
If you or someone you love is suffering from the effects of alcohol abuse, substance addiction or any other type of addiction, please call us today. Our addiction treatment counselors can help you deal with physical, emotional and psychological consequences of drug and alcohol abuse. Substance abuse treatment is effective, safe and has helped many men reclaim their lives. Destination Hope is a full service drug, alcohol and dual diagnosis treatment facility in Florida for men suffering from substance abuse and mental health issues.