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Short-Term Effects Of Alcohol Abuse

Published on August 2, 2021
Short-Term Effects Of Alcohol Abuse

As a central nervous system depressant, alcohol slows down your brain activity which causes you to experience changes in behavior and mood. In addition to this, drinking alcohol can affect:

  • coordination
  • memory
  • blood pressure
  • heart rate
  • ​self-control

Those who participate in excessive alcohol use, such as binge drinking, will experience a variety of side effects. The short-term effects of alcohol use can weaken your immune system and may cause a number of other health conditions.

Because alcohol affects many organs of the body, the side effects you experience may vary.

Short-Term Effects Of Alcohol Abuse

Excessive alcohol consumption within a small time frame causes your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level to rise. When this happens, it may lead to alcohol poisoning which can cause brain damage or even death.

Cognitive Impairment & Blackouts

In the short term, drinking alcohol has intoxicating effects that may include:

  • drowsiness, cognitive impairment, and blackouts
  • memory loss
  • slurred speech
  • slowed reaction time
  • trouble with decision-making 

Increased Risks

Heavy drinkers and those who consume large amounts of alcohol in a short amount of time have an increased risk of:

  • accidents such as falls, drownings, burns, or vehicular crashes
  • violence such as suicide or homicide
  • unsafe sexual behaviors and STDs

Other Short-Term Effects

Other short-term effects of drinking alcohol may include:

  • ​physical impairment
  • high blood pressure
  • stroke
  • low body temperature
  • fetal alcohol syndrome in unborn babies when pregnant

Other Effects Of Alcohol Abuse

While there are short-term and immediate effects of alcohol abuse, there can also be long-term effects of alcohol and heavy drinking such as:

  • heart disease
  • nerve damage
  • diabetes
  • pancreatitis
  • cancer
  • alcoholic hepatitis
  • cardiomyopathy
  • cirrhosis/liver disease/liver damage
  • mental health issues
  • alcohol withdrawal symptoms when you stop drinking

Treating Alcohol Use Disorder

Alcohol addiction can lead to numerous health problems. You can slow or stop your alcohol intake with professional treatment.

If you or a loved one struggles with excessive drinking or substance use, contact our helpline today to learn about our treatment options.

Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
This page does not provide medical advice.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) - Alcohol Use and Your Health
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) - Substance Use Disorders
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism(NIAAA) - Alcohol's Effects on the Body
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism(NIAAA) - Drinking Levels Defined
National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus - Alcohol

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