Alcoholism and its effects on the human body

June 19, 2019
Effects of Alcohol on the Body and Brain

Excessive drinking is a major toll on health which over a period of time will lead to serious problems on the central nervous system in the long-term.

Alcohol consumed in the small, moderate doses can also lead to temporary impair in the memory. Alcohol which is an intoxicating ingredient disturbs several parts of the brain but in general, contracts brain tissues, destroys brain cells, as well as depresses the central nervous system. This intoxicating ingredient is present in beer, wine and spirits.

Everything in moderation is always safe for everyone, especially during the intake of alcohol.

People who gulp down excessive alcohol experience:

  • Altered Speech
  • Heartbeat Irregularity
  • Weakened muscles
  • Improper hearing
  • Foggy memory
  • Impaired vision

Alcohol slows down the performance of nerve cells which in a sense gives the feeling of joy, ecstasy, loss or being reticent. It is not the stimulation of the brain; rather it shuts down some of the areas in the brain which generally control our reasoning capabilities, judgment and instincts.

It can be observed that alcohol affects every part of the brain and mainly the central nervous system. Teens under the influence of alcohol usually start misbehaving and turn abusive too. Alcohol at times acts as one of the best anti - depressant on the brain and other nerve tissue, which makes people enjoy a momentary high and happiness.

This sharp anti-depressant effect is the reason for the alcohol related accidents on the road. When our judgments are impaired, everything takes place slowly resulting in slowed reaction time, impaired vision as well as decreased coordination with our brain makes driving and drinking a deadly combination.

Alcohol causes major damage to the nervous of feet and legs, which is known as peripheral neuropathy. The absence of sensation is produced, leading to unsteadiness, where one experiences numbness, pain, burning and tingling. Around 50% of the alcoholics have the problem of muscles. Due to this chronic alcohol abuse, a large damage is caused to the muscles. A person finds difficulty in climbing the stairs, getting off a chair, or getting up from the floor because of the painless weakness caused in the large muscles of the upper legs and pelvic area.

Alcohol consumed in a responsible fashion can be relishing, but at the same time alcohol is a drug with potential side effects and complications just like any other drug. But it still stands different from many other drugs, because it’s accessible without any prescription and its effects lasts for a very longer time.

Some of the major effects of alcohol on human body are:

  • Heart: Irregular heartbeat, stroke, high blood pressure, stretching and drooping of heart muscle are some of the damages caused due to heart due to excessive alcohol consumption.
  • Cancer: Excessive alcohol intake leads to mouth, throat, liver and esophagus cancer. Women who are more addictive to alcohol also tend to develop breast cancer from the very initial stages.
  • Intestines: Low vitamin level diseases are caused because long-term alcohol consumption will block the absorption of many important vitamin and nutrients in the gut.
  • Mental Health: Alcohol is usually consumed by many as a stress reliever. But many a times alcohol stimulates stress hormones that relieving. One has to be very careful in using alcohol as a stress reliever because of the addictive symptoms it contains.
  • Skin and Fat: Desperation to consume alcohol can lead to skin flushing and worsen the appearance of skin conditions which also leads to loosening of the skin, rashes, yellowing of the skin and spider veins.


Dr. Avinash K M(Consultant – Neurosurgery)

Columbia Asia Hospital Hebbal