Q&A

What is the effect of alcohol on the human body?

Alcohol affects every organ and tissue in the body via the bloodstream. The type of effect and its intensity depend on the concentration of alcohol in the blood, or in other words – it depends on how much you drink. Short-term effects can pass after a few hours, a day or two. However, excessive drinking on a regular basis for several months or years can cause severe and even irreversible damage to various body organs, especially to the heart and liver. Sustained heavy drinking increases the risk of cancer, especially oral cavity, esophagus, larynx and liver cancer.

Excessive alcohol consumption, whether  it is one-time or on a regular basis, weakens the body. It suppresses the immune system and makes the body an easy target for a wide range of diseases.

Alcohol consumption suppresses the central nervous system and the brain area responsible for regulating the rate of water excretion by the kidneys, which interferes with proper kidney function.

Prolonged periods of excessive drinking not only affects the internal organs, but also has an impact on the visual appearance. We’re not only talking about such effects, as gleaming and puffy eyes. Heavy drinking also causes increase in weight and accelerated skin aging. In addition, excessive drinking leads to various other problems, such as sexual and cognitive dysfunction, inability to function normally in daily life, it harms the quality of life of the family members and close friends and may even lead to premature death.

 

Why do different people react differently to alcohol?

Physical reaction to alcohol may vary from one person to another due to various factors, such as age, sex, race, body mass, genetics, weight, physical fitness, family history and consumption in combination with drugs or medication. Following are a few factors you should be aware of:

  • Sex – women have lower levels of the enzyme responsible for breaking down alcohol and therefore – its effect on women is stronger.
  • Body weight – lower body weight means that alcohol effect will be stronger. This is one of the reasons it is dangerous for children to consume alcohol.
  • Physical condition – alcohol has a stronger effect on those drinking on an empty stomach. Fatigue also leads to stronger impact of alcohol.
  • Adaptation – people who consume alcohol on a regular basis adapt to it and the effect of alcohol on them decreases over time. Abstinence from alcohol for a month or more will return the stronger effect.

Are there any alcoholic beverages considered safer than others?

The amount of alcohol you drink is the major factor and not the type of beverage. The effect, as mentioned, may vary.

Read more about moderate drinking.

What is a dose of alcohol?

A serving of alcohol contains 10 grams of ethanol, an amount present in a chaser of vodka, arak or whisky. The recommended consumption limit is 2 servings for women and 3 servings for men.

See the complete guide to proper drinking

What is moderate drinking?

Moderate alcohol consumption is defined as up to two servings of alcohol for women and three servings for men. This definition refers to the daily amount and cannot be considered as an average consumption for several days. Consuming a greater amount of alcohol within a short period of time is considered dangerous for your health. In any case, it is recommended to avoid drinking at least one or two days a week in order to prevent alcohol addiction.

Who should not drink alcohol?

Children and teenagers under the age of 18, pregnant women, before physical activity, or before performing activities that require skills, attentiveness or coordination, such as driving. Those who take medication should avoid taking it with alcohol.

What is excessive drinking or heavy driking?

For men, heavy drinking is defined as consumption of 15 or more servings of alcohol per week or over 5 servings per evening. For women, heavy drinking is defined as consumption of 10 or more servings of alcohol per week or over 5 servings per evening (binge drinking). The results and effects of binge drinking depend on the concentration of alcohol in the blood over time. One evening of excessive drinking is not as harmful as frequent heavy drinking for several years.

In a state of binge drinking, alcohol can cause respiratory disorders, confusion, disinhibition and death. Unlike most addictive substances that have target receptors in the brain, alcohol does not have a specific one target molecule – it affects the entire brain and can cause hypoglycemia, a condition in which blood sugar is significantly lower than the norm. In such a condition, the brain and other body systems may be severely affected.

Excessive drinking may also cause fatty liver, hepatitis and cirrhosis. Other effects include increased blood pressure, increased risk of myocardial infarction, as well as head, neck, throat, stomach, liver, colon and lung cancer. Hypoglycemia can be caused by severe intoxication.

In other words – It is not recommended!

What is alcohol poisoning?

Alcohol poisoning occurs due to a very high amount of alcohol in the blood. The effects may vary from one person to another. Some people may appear as happy, others become depressed, withdrawn or violent and others may faint. In all cases, the motor function will be damaged, which may be reflected by impaired balance, inability to perform subtle actions, make a judgment and maintain a normal reaction time. The risk of injuries in such a condition is high – injuries can be caused by falls, fights and car accidents. In a state of unconsciousness, there is a risk of inhaling vomit into the lungs, which is one of the common causes of death among heavy drinkers.

How do you know that you have a drinking problem?

How do you know that you drink too much?

Learn more about moderate drinking

What is alcohol poisoning?

Alcohol poisoning occurs due to a very high amount of alcohol in the blood. The effects may vary from one person to another. Some people may appear as happy, others become depressed, withdrawn or violent and others may faint. In all cases, the motor function will be damaged, which may be reflected by impaired balance, inability to perform subtle actions, make a judgment and maintain a normal reaction time. The risk of injuries in such a condition is high – injuries can be caused by falls, fights and car accidents. In a state of unconsciousness, there is a risk of inhaling vomit into the lungs, which is one of the common causes of death among heavy drinkers.

How do you know that you drink too much?

Learn more about moderate drinking

Are you a heavy drinker? (Link to the recommended consumption limits) Do you feel that the way you feel and think deteriorates and your relationships are undermined as a result of excessive drinking? Does alcohol affect your achievements at school, work or in social situations?

If so, talk to your parents or close friends you trust, or seek professional help. Withdrawal from heavy drinking is less difficult than the symptoms and effects of drinking itself.

Here you will find some entities that will be happy to help you

What are the health problems caused by excessive alcohol consumption?

Excessive alcohol consumption can cause many problems – from obesity and addiction that damages the social and interpersonal relations, as well as overall functioning, through chronic diseases, such as liver cirrhosis, pancreatitis and potential risk of cancer, high blood pressure and psychological disorders, to the risk of injuries, burns, accidents, falls and drowning. Continuous heavy drinking can make you violent and cause sexual dysfunction.