It Goes to Your Head
How does alcohol affect the brain and body? Alcohol starts to alter your brain about 30 seconds after you drink it. You may feel mentally slower and have slower reflexes. You may notice changes in your mood and balance. Alcohol impairs long-term memory so you may not remember what you do and say when you drink.
A Smaller Brain
Another way in which alcohol affects the body is that long-term drinking shrinks the brain and alters the way the brain works. Drinking alters and shrinks brain cells. This, in turn, compromises your ability to learn, think, and remember. You may have difficulty regulating body temperature and controlling your movements.
Does It Help You Sleep?
Alcohol makes you sleepy, so you are likely to fall asleep more easily. But alcohol hurts the quality of sleep. Your system will metabolize alcohol while you are sleeping. Once it’s out of your system, you’re likely to wake up and toss and turn. Alcohol impairs REM sleep, the type you need to feel well rested and restored. Alcohol also increases the risk of nightmares and vivid dreams. You may also wake up to use the restroom more often.
Increase in Stomach Acid
Alcohol affects your stomach lining and increases the production of stomach acid. When acid builds up while you’re drinking, you may get nauseated and throw up. Long-term heavy drinking may lead to stomach ulcers. High levels of stomach acid impair your ability to feel hungry. Heavy drinkers often also develop nutrient deficiencies.
Diarrhea and Heartburn
Alcohol irritates the intestine and colon and may decrease the transit time of food through your system. The result is that you may get chronic diarrhea if you drink regularly. Alcohol also relaxes the sphincter in your esophagus that keeps stomach contents where they belong. When this happens, you may have acid and food come back up your esophagus, leading to heartburn and reflux.
Always Running to the Bathroom
Your brain makes antidiuretic hormone, or ADH, that affects your kidneys’ ability to make urine. When you drink, your brain doesn’t make as much of this hormone, so you have to urinate more often. This may then lead to dehydration. Chronic heavy drinking is not only toxic for your body, it is also hard on your kidneys. Read More