What Does Alcohol Do to Your Body?

Heavy alcohol use raises the risk for myopathies and fractures, whereas even low levels of alcohol intake increase the odds for recurrent gout attacks. The rising rates of severe morbidity and mortality from ALD underscore a pressing need consequences of alcohol to screen patients for heavy drinking, assess for AUD, and recommend evidence-based AUD treatment. (See Core articles on screening and assessment and treatment. For practice guidance on diagnosing and treating ALD, see Resources below).

Medical complications by body system

In reality, there’s no evidence that drinking beer (or your alcoholic beverages of choice) actually contributes to belly fat. With continued alcohol use, steatotic liver disease can lead to liver fibrosis. Eventually, you can develop permanent and irreversible scarring in your liver, which is called cirrhosis.

  • Alcohol has a suppressing effect on the brain and central nervous system.
  • Too much alcohol affects your speech, muscle coordination and vital centers of your brain.
  • Your gut microbiome is a hotbed of bacteria that help keep your digestive system happy and healthy.
  • Around 5 percent of the alcohol consumed leaves through the lungs, kidneys and the skin.
  • Societal factors include level of economic development, culture, social norms, availability of alcohol, and implementation and enforcement of alcohol policies.
  • NIAAA can help people find information and resources about AUD and treatments that might work best for them.

Long-term effects of alcohol

consequences of alcohol

These individuals tend to drink more, socialize with people who drink a lot, and develop a tolerance to alcohol (i.e., it takes more and more alcohol to feel or act intoxicated). Someone who misuses alcohol, especially over the long term, can experience permanent liver, heart, or brain damage. And all people who drink, regardless of the amount, need to be aware that critical decision-making abilities and driving-related skills are already diminished long before a person shows physical signs of intoxication.

consequences of alcohol

Finding treatment for alcohol use disorder

This is a potentially life-threatening situation that requires immediate medical attention. Alcohol’s impact on neurotransmitters like serotonin and GABA can also contribute to mood changes the day after drinking. Once the effects of alcohol wear off, glutamate (a neurotransmitter) levels increase, which can lead to feelings of depression and anxiety, or “hangxiety” (hangover and anxiety), the day after drinking.

  • Alcohol poisoning is a serious — and sometimes deadly — result of drinking large amounts of alcohol in a short period of time.
  • The effects are known as fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, or FASD, and can result in lifelong physical, cognitive, and behavioral problems.
  • Long-term alcohol use can affect bone density, leading to thinner bones and increasing your risk of fractures if you fall.
  • Below are potential alcohol-related medical complications by body system.
  • Environmental strategies aim to change the alcohol use environment in the community, and thus can affect large subgroups such as those under age 21.
  • A  causal relationship has been established between harmful drinking and incidence or outcomes of infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and HIV.

Short-term effects of alcohol consumption

consequences of alcohol

What Are the Short-Term Effects of Alcohol?

  • Like a clog in a drain, those thickened fluids can jam up your ducts.
  • In some people, the initial reaction may feel like an increase in energy.
  • Regular drinking can also affect overall mental health and well-being, in part because alcohol may worsen symptoms of certain mental health conditions, including anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder.
  • Ways that your standard hangover cures won’t even begin to touch.