Alcohol, one of the most widely consumed substances, is often considered less harmful than drugs and other addictive substances. This might be a result of the popular myth that moderate drinking has significant positive effects.
Even as alcohol continues to be harmful, the ill effects of its consumption qualify for a lesser known topic as compared to that of cocaine, heroin, tobacco, marijuana and various other substances.
Effects of alcohol on human body and mind
The human body is an amalgamation of multiple systems that work in coordination, providing the body the required support to survive and sustain the threats to health. Addictive substances like alcohol have the propensity to disrupt the well-coordinated systems of the body. Though alcohol particularly affects the brain, its effects on various other organs or systems cannot be overlooked.
Here, we take a look at the various systems in human body that are affected by alcohol consumption:
Central nervous system (CNS): The CNS, comprising the brain and the spinal cord, is responsible for channelizing information, for controlling motor function, emotion, thinking, understanding and reasoning. Alcohol has the tendency to obstruct the smooth functioning of the CNS. As a depressant, it slows down the functioning of the nervous system.
When a person takes the first drink, he might feel an increased level of energy, but it does not continue when more alcohol finds its way into the brain. However, the amount of alcohol and the rate of its consumption usually determine the degree to which the brain activity is affected.
Digestive system: Mouth, esophagus, stomach, intestines (small and large), rectum and anus together form the digestive system. Food eaten is metabolized though this system with the help of glands present in the mouth, stomach and the intestines. When it comes to alcohol, the process of digestion is somewhat different. Unlike other food items, alcohol enters the bloodstream directly without having gone through the normal digestion process.
Liver, the vital organ involved in metabolizing toxins, is largely affected by alcohol consumption. Alcohol is toxic to liver, especially when taken in heavy doses. Common and life-threatening liver diseases like cirrhosis are the result of long-term drinking. Alcohol can increase the chance of stomach pain and intestinal infections by increasing the acid in the stomach.
Circulatory system: The circulatory system is responsible for blood circulation in the body. The heart pumps the blood through its various vessels. The popular belief that alcohol helps the heart function better has been debunked by various researches which say that drinking over a glass of alcoholic beverage can harm the efficiency of the heart. And when heart suffers the damage, other body parts do not work properly due to lack of oxygen caused by inefficient pumping of blood.
Endocrine system: The endocrine system is associated with human growth, metabolism, puberty, tissue function and moods. It is responsible for production of hormones (chemical signals) by various glands, like the thyroid and the pancreas. Alcohol can affect the functioning of these glands.
Alcohol also affects the way the body absorbs calcium. Thus, people who are into heavy drinking may suffer from bone diseases like osteoporosis.
Once addicted to alcohol, it becomes difficult to get rid of its temptation and effects. Thus, it is always safer to stay away from alcohol. It is the best way to stay free from the ill effects of the most common addictive substance.
However, if you or someone you know is grappling with alcohol addiction, you may get in touch with the Alcohol Addiction Get Help Helpline. You may call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-281-3014 or chat online to get help regarding alcohol addiction treatment centers.