There are numerous amounts of effects that alcohol can afflict people with. When alcohol is metabolized it becomes ethanol (Abernathy & Woodward, Alcohol and the Prefrontal Cortex, 2010) which temporarily creates a calming effect on the brain capable of enhancing moods and producing euphoria (Alcohol.org, 2019). Adversely, ethanol also acts as a depressant on the brain and central nervous system (CNS), which can delay cognitive and motor functions (Alcohol Rehab Guide, 2019). Impact is seen in the individual’s delayed response time and inability to react in a timely manner (Abernathy & Woodward, Alcohol and the Prefrontal Cortex, 2010), poor emotional control (Savette, 2017), inadequate judgement resulting in risky behavior (Alcohol Rehab Guide, 2019), difficulties remembering events (Savette, 2017), vomiting, blackouts, potential poisoning and death (Alcohol.org, 2019). Evidence of long-term alcohol use can be seen in the liver, heart, digestive system, pancreas and brain (Alcohol.org, 2019).
Research has shown that chronic alcohol use is capable of actually shrinking the brain (Merz, 2017), resulting in memory function damage which creates difficulties making new memories and memory loss (Alcohol.org, 2019). Additionally, long term alcohol use is associated with depression and anxiety (Briere, Rohde, Seeley, & Lewinsohn, 2015). Alcohol use can make the heart susceptible to tachycardia and high blood pressure, increasing the probability of heart attacks and strokes (Alcohol.org, 2019). Chronic alcohol use irritates the lining of the stomach and will increase the probability of ulcers and gastritis (Bode, 1997). Alcohol is especially damaging to the esophagus of smokers as the irritation caused by smoking is amplified by use of alcohol (Castellsague, et al., 1999). Predictably alcohol use is associated with pancreases damage like pancreatitis, which is a swollen pancreas (Apte, Sci, & Korsten, 1997).
For over 200 years medical professionals have understood that there is a connection between alcohol and liver damage (Smart & Mann, 1992). Chronic alcohol use leaves the liver susceptible to fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis, fibrosis or cirrhosis (Maher, 1992). Alcohol also impedes the liver’s ability to rid itself of fat and over time the builds up fatty tissue and hinders the liver’s functionality (Drinkaware.co.u, 2019). Alcoholic hepatitis is a viral infection the liver is incapable of overcoming due to the damage caused by drinking (Drinkaware.co.u, 2019). Fibrosis is the beginning stages of scaring on the liver which could be healed if alcohol consumption were stopped; cirrhosis is when the liver is incapable of healing the fibrosis and starts to form scare tissue seriously compromising the liver’s functionality (Maher, 1992). The human body is continually looking for an optimal state of functionality where every organ is operating to it’s full capacity and in harmony. This optimal state is referred to as a homeostasis (Clark, 2012).
When alcohol interrupts the natural balance of the body, the liver, heart, and pancreas are not capable of optimal performance and toxins tend to build up in the body (Totah, 2019). Over time the buildup of toxins increases the individual’s probability of developing cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, colon, rectal and breast cancer (American Cancer Society, 2017). From all the information listed above, people can see that chronic alcohol use is terrible for the body.
Abernathy, K., & Woodward, L. J. (2010, March 10). Alcohol and the Prefrontal Cortex. Retrieved from ncbi.nlm.nih: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3593065/
Abernathy, K., & Woodward, L. J. (2013, March 10). Alcohol and the Prefrontal Cortex. Retrieved from ncbi. nlm.gov: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3593065/
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Alcohol.org. (2018, October 24). The Effects of Alcohol on your memory. Retrieved from Alcohol.org: https://www.alcohol.org/effects/on-your-memory/
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Apte, M. V., Sci, M. M., & Korsten, J. S. (1997). Alcohol-Related Pancreatic Damage. Alcohol, Health & Research World, pp. 13-20.
Bode, C. B. (1997). Alcohol’s Role in Gastrointestional Tract Disorders. Alcohol Health & Research World, 76-84.
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Castellsague, X., Munoz, N., Stefani, E. D., Victoria, C., Castelletto, R., & Quintana, P. R. (1999, August 27). Independent and joint effects of tobacco smoking and alcohol drinking on the risk of esophageal cancer in men and women. Retrieved from ncbi.nlm.nih.gov: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10417762
Clark, R. (2012, December 7). Anatomy and Physiology: Understanding the Human Body. Sudbary: Jones and Bartlett. Retrieved from wrtiepass.com: https://writepass.com/journal/2012/12/the-different-parts-of-the-human-body-function-as-one-unit-in-harmony-to-maintain-life/
Drinkaware.co.u. (2019). Alcohol-related Liver Disease. Retrieved from drinkaware.co.ul: https://www.drinkaware.co.uk/alcohol-facts/health-effects-of-alcohol/effects-on-the-body/alcohol-related-liver-disease/
Maher, J. J. (1992). Exploring Alcohol’s Effects on Liver Function. Alocohol Health & Research World, pp. 21(1) 5-12.
Merz, B. (2017, July 14). This is your brain on alcohol. Retrieved from Harvard Health Publishing: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/this-is-your-brain-on-alcohol-2017071412000
Savette, M. A. (2017, January 1). The effects of alcohol on emotion in social drinder. Retrieved from ncbi.nlm.nih.gov: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5724975/
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Totah, M. (2019). 13.2 Homeostasis. Retrieved from Ck-12: https://www.ck12.org/book/CK-12-Biology-Concepts/section/13.2/