For many social drinkers, sipping a preferred alcoholic beverage alongside friends or family isn’t an uncommon scene. While drinking has become a staple activity in many social settings, it’s important to note that every sip does affect the body both short and long term. When you begin to drink too much, there are physical and psychological consequences attached to the act.
A glass of wine or an occasional drink here and there may not seem harmful. However, when one glass becomes several glasses or more daily, the detrimental effects of alcohol on the body can quickly become evident.
Short-Term Effects When You Drink Too Much
Whether you consider yourself strictly a social drinker or you’ve been diagnosed with an alcohol use disorder (AUD), the short-term effects of alcohol quickly present themselves when you drink too much. The rate at which your body absorbs alcohol and shows short-term effects depends on variables such as weight, age, and gender. That said, a well-functioning liver can typically process one spirit, beer, or wine per hour. 
Anything consumed beyond one drink per hour can lead to intoxication and a myriad of short-term effects. When you drink too much in a short period, some of the anticipated symptoms may include the following:
- Flushed skin
- Diminished concentration
- Reduced coordination
- Blurred vision
- Raised blood pressure
- Severe mood swings
- Poor social judgment
- Reduced core body temperature
When you drink too much, these short-term effects of alcohol can potentially evolve into more severe symptoms. As the body begins to purge excessive alcohol from its systems, a person may start to vomit. At the next level of severity, short-term effects of alcohol may even include passing out.
Long-Term Effects of Alcohol
Beyond the short-term effects of alcohol when you drink too much, long-term effects can be suffered physically and psychologically by those who overindulge. Experts have long linked chronic cardiovascular disease and liver damage to excessive drinking over time.
You could suffer other long-term effects when you drink too much regularly. Those may include the following conditions:
- Liver fibrosis
- High blood pressure
- Irregular heartbeat
- Memory loss
- Reduced attention span
- Difficulty learning
In the most severe cases of long-term drinking, the effects of alcohol have even been linked to various types of cancers developing in the individual concerned. These cancers have targeted the following areas of the body:
Additionally, those who continue to drink too much in the long term put themselves at a higher risk of experiencing cardiomyopathy, alcoholic hepatitis, or even a stroke.
Effect of Alcohol on Specific Areas of the Body
When you drink too much, the effects of alcohol can be seen both over the short and long term. There are also varying effects on specific areas of the body you should consider.
The central nervous system is particularly vulnerable to the effects of alcohol. Over time, excessive drinking can deplete vitamin B1 in the body, leading to the development of Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. Problematic symptoms related to this disease can include the following:
- Learning difficulties
- Memory loss
- Chronic confusion
- Lack of coordination
Excessive and long-term drinking also directly affects an individual’s overall reproductive health. Irregular menstrual cycles in women have been linked to heavy drinking, while men who regularly consume excessive amounts of alcohol sometimes have erectile dysfunction.
Women who choose to drink alcohol while pregnant put themselves at a higher risk of miscarriage or potential stillbirth. Children born to women who drink while pregnant are also at a greater risk for having fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. 
While it may surprise those who drink, alcohol use can even affect the durability of the bones within the body. Bones require balanced calcium and vitamin D to remain strong.
Alcohol is known to create a calcium and vitamin D imbalance over time. This imbalance increases your likelihood of developing osteoporosis, which makes fractures and breaks more likely.
How Alcohol Affects the Brain
In most cases, alcohol has a depressive effect on the brain. Not only does this symptom leave many alcohol consumers dealing with severe mood fluctuations, but it can also slow down essential functions such as breathing, memory, movement, and speech.
Over time, inducing these depressive tendencies can lead to increased anxiety and increased alcohol use as the person feeling unbalanced tries to diminish the symptoms further. In this way, self-medication can quickly become a detrimental and potentially fatal side effect of alcohol consumption.
Stop Drinking Too Much with Spring Gardens Recovery
If you’re ready to discuss treatment options regarding excessive alcohol consumption or a potential alcohol abuse disorder, the compassionate and professional team at Springs Gardens Recovery is here to help. Reach out today to learn more about our services and how we partner with you to get life back on track for health and success.
Sources: https://www.britannica.com/topic/alcohol-consumption/Alcohol-and-the-individual  https://www.alcohol.org/pregnancy/
Samantha Nettleton, CCTP, CMHIMP is the Chief Operating Officer and Clinical Director for Spring Gardens Recovery. After completing and receiving her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Human Services (Concentrations in Mental Health & Addiction Counseling), she became licensed for the State of Florida as a Mental Health Counselor. She has also been a recovery coach since 2012. Samantha specializes in Trauma, Personality Disorders, Substance Abuse, Process Addictions, and Other Mental Health Disorders.