Long term alcohol consumption can cause adverse effects on the body, even if you don’t feel these effects immediately. People who engage in heavy drinking or binge drinking are likely to feel these effects quicker than those who engage in moderate drinking, which is defined as 1 or fewer drinks per day for women and 2 or fewer drinks per day for men.
Is Alcohol A Stimulant?
Many people who consume alcohol consider the substance to be a stimulant, as it can increase your heart rate, give you energy, and decrease your inhibitions. However, although alcohol can create some effects similar to stimulants, it is primarily a depressant. The difference between stimulants and depressants is that stimulants excite your central nervous system while depressants slow it down, causing your body to relax.
The way that alcohol affects your body will depend on factors such as your metabolism, how many drinks you consume in one day, and your alcohol tolerance.
Does Alcohol Raise Blood Pressure?
When consuming small to moderate amounts of alcohol, the depressant effects will begin to appear and this includes alcohol lowering your blood pressure. Once the alcohol abuse reaches a certain point, complications including changes to your circulatory system can occur. These complications can lead to adverse effects on the body such as high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, difficulty pumping blood through the body, stroke, heart attack, heart disease, and in extreme cases, heart failure.
The increase in blood pressure caused by heavy drinking is due to a combination of effects that alcohol consumption creates in the body. These include weight gain, increased cortisol, increased calcium levels, increased vasoconstrictor hormones, and changes in pressure receptors. These all work together to create high blood pressure.
Does Alcohol Thin Your Blood?
Alcohol has the ability to thin your blood because it prevents blood vessels from sticking together in a process known as blood clotting. Alcohol interferes with the clotting process by reducing the number of platelets in the blood because it decreases blood cell production in the bone marrow. Alcohol consumption also affects the clotting process because it makes the platelets you do have less sticky.
Other Effects Of Alcohol
Besides your circulatory system, heavy drinking can affect multiple other parts of the body as well. These include your digestive system, immune system, and more. Alcohol can affect your digestive and endocrine glands by causing inflammation of the pancreas which leads to pancreatitis. Changes in your digestive system due to alcohol consumption can also increase the risk of ulcers or hemorrhoids.
Additionally, alcohol can cause long term inflammatory damage to the liver which can develop into cirrhosis, or scarring of the liver. Alcohol can also affect the body’s sugar levels which may result in diabetes. Heavy alcohol consumption can also damage your central nervous system, which may affect your ability to create long-term memories, think clearly, make rational choices, and regulate your emotions. In extreme cases, chronic drinking may cause permanent brain damage.
If you are worried about the effect alcohol may be having on your body, it is not too late to begin a path towards sobriety. Fusion Recovery can help you begin addiction treatment so you can prevent any permanent damage towards your health and start a future that is free from alcohol dependence.