Alcohol has a very profound effect on the brain and body of the individual who consumes it. These effects can take a serious toll on the health of the individual by attacking several parts of the body. There are a few ways alcohol can effect the body and the brain.
The Effects of Alcohol on the Brain
Most of all, when an individual drinks alcohol, it affects the brain, which produces the feeling of being drunk. According to the NIH, alcohol will interfere with the communication pathways in the brain and change the way it is function and appearance. With these changes occur, it can affect his or her mood, behavior, focus, and movement coordination.
Alcohol on the Heart
When an alcoholic has been drinking over a long period, it will begin to affect their heart by raising blood pressure and weakening the heart muscles. Damages that can occur to the heart due to alcohol can include cardiomyopathy, stroke, arrhythmias, and high blood pressure. Alcohol can also cause weight gain, which will also contribute to an increased blood pressure.
The Liver & Pancreas
Not only can alcohol cause heart problems, but it can also cause problems and inflammation with the liver. Some of these problems include fatty liver (steatosis), fibrosis, alcoholic hepatitis, or cirrhosis. Liver cancer can be caused due to the faster growth of liver cells, which can lead to those cells picking up changes in the DNA that is caused by the alcohol.
By nature, the pancreas helps the small intestine metabolize food by sending out enzymes to digest it. The chemicals in alcohol reverses this essential process by causing the pancreas to secrete the enzymes internally instead of pushing it into the small intestine.
According to College Drinking Prevention, the enzymes and acetaldehyde are very harmful to the pancreas and if alcohol is consumed excessively over a long period, it can cause inflammation and swelling in the tissues and blood vessels.
When the pancreas is affected by the use of alcohol, it can cause inflammation, pancreatitis, swollen blood vessels, or improper digestion.
Alcohol & Cancer
Alcohol can make it much easier for the individual to suffer from several different types of cancers. These types may include cancer in the mouth, throat, esophagus, breast, or liver. Regardless of how often an individual may drink, alcohol can cause any one of these cancers due to the ingredient acetaldehyde, which is change in the body from ethanol. This chemical can damage DNA, and stop vital cells from repairing them.
Alcohol can affect the Immune System
Drinking alcohol can weaken the immune system, which opens up the recipient to countless diseases such as pneumonia and tuberculosis, especially for chronic drinkers. Even on a single occasion when an individual drinks too much, it can slow down the immune system for up to 24 hours afterwards.
The chemicals in alcohol causes damage to the immune system by preventing nutrients from being absorbed. It will also lower white blood cell count, which is why it will cause the drinker to become more vulnerable to illnesses.
Alcohol effects the brain and body through many ways. It can cause damage to the brain, heart, liver, pancreas, cancer cells, and the immune system due to the effects of the chemicals in alcohol. If you or a loved one is suffering from alcoholism and needs help, call 800-429-5210 (Who Answers?) to speak with a caring specialist that can assist you.