Alcohol affects the entire body, including the brain, nervous system, liver, heart, and the individual's emotional well-being. Its effects are directly related to the amount of alcohol ingested. Factors that influence the effects of alcohol on the body include age, gender, family history of alcoholism, and how much and how often alcohol is consumed.
According to the National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, just one or two drinks can cause blurred vision, slurred speech, slower reaction times, impaired memory, and loss of balance. Short-term effects disappear when the individual stops drinking, but long-term alcohol abuse may cause chronic brain disorders that are serious and debilitating.
Serious Chronic Diseases
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drinking alcohol over extended periods of time can cause high blood pressure, liver cirrhosis (damage to liver cells), and pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas).
A hangover is a set of unpleasant symptoms that occur after drinking too much alcohol, typically the morning after a night of heavy drinking. A hangover may be characterized by fatigue, thirst, nausea, vomiting, headache, muscle aches, dizziness, rapid pulse, sensitivity to light and sound, mood disturbances, and bloodshot eyes.
Long-term drinking is associated with a higher risk of certain types of cancer, including cancer of the liver, mouth, throat, larynx (the voice box), esophagus, and breast. Drinkers who also smoke are at a higher risk for developing cancer.