Beyond Hangovers: Understanding How Alcohol Affects the Body

Everyone knows that long-term heavy drinking can lead to major health problems, such as liver cirrhosis and certain cancers, but not everybody understands how alcohol changes the body.

Here are some information on the effects of alcohol on different body organs:

Heart

Chronic drinking weakens the heart muscles, causing them to stretch and sag. With weak muscles, the heart cannot contract effectively. It will have a difficult time distributing blood, oxygen, and other nutrients to different parts of the body. Regular alcohol consumption may also result in irregular heartbeats. Abnormal heart rhythms put individuals at risk of stroke and heart attack. When a loved one who is a regular drinker complains of breathing difficulties, irregular heartbeat, swollen lower extremities and fatigue, it may be time to visit an alcohol rehab centre.

Blood Vessels

According to specialists from alcohol rehabilitation clinics, binge drinking and chronic alcohol intake put your loved ones at risk of hypertension. The body releases certain stress hormones whenever a person drinks alcohol, causing blood vessels to stiffen. The prolonged presence of alcohol in the bloodstream makes blood vessels less flexible, keeping them constricted, which increases the blood pressure.

Brain

The brain and neurotransmitters work together to keep the body functioning properly. Large amounts of alcohol intake throw this harmony off course, causing mood and behavioural changes. Studies also show that long-term heavy drinking reduces the size of brain cells. As neurons shrink, so does the brain.

Neurotransmitters adapt and try to maintain balance in the body, despite the presence of alcohol. This adaptation, however, has negative effects. Regular drinkers may find that they are more tolerant to alcohol than a few weeks ago. Over time, tolerance will lead to dependence and then abuse.

Before sharing a few glasses of cosmopolitan with your friends or popping a bottle of champagne to celebrate the weekend, think about its consequences. When you feel that your loved ones need help controlling their alcohol intake, do not waste any more time. Consult therapists immediately about rehabilitation options.