Most people who have consumed alcohol understand its short-term physical effects. Slurred speech, compromised balance, and dulling of fine motor skills are easily recognizable signs that someone has been drinking alcohol. These effects are due to alcohol’s action on the central nervous system, which slows the rate at which the brain delivers messages to the rest of the body. Alcoholism symptoms physical effects.
These basic physical effects are seen equally in those who drink light and heavy amounts of alcohol. However, based on a study from Drug and Alcohol Dependence, those who drink more are less likely to recognize the degree to which they are impaired. This can result in a person engaging in risky activities that can cause direct physical harm while intoxicated, such as driving or swimming.
When a person abuses alcohol regularly, the physical impairments and effects can become more pronounced. Information from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) shows that heavy drinking can result in:
As alcohol abuse continues or addiction develops, these short-term effects of drinking can lead to more severe problems later on.
Alcoholism symptoms physical effects
Long-term alcohol abuse is known to contribute to the development of a wide range of physical diseases, including cancer. According to the Institute of Alcohol Studies, daily consumption of high levels of alcohol increases cancer risk in various body systems, including the:
Oral cavity, esophagus, pharynx, and larynx
In some cases, a person’s cancer risk can be increased up to three times by heavy, chronic alcohol use.
According to studies like one from Psychosomatics, this disease is the result of physical brain damage caused by alcohol’s interference in the ability to absorb enough vitamin B-1 (thiamine) through digestion. This disease results in memory loss, sensory problems, loss of motor abilities, coma, and death.
After a person has been drinking heavily for a very long time, another condition can result if the person tries to stop drinking without medical help. Delirium tremens (DTs) is a severe withdrawal symptom that can occur when someone with many years of heavy, chronic drinking tries to quit cold turkey. This condition causes seizures, hallucinations, fever, and other symptoms that can lead to death.