What are the effects of alcohol on health?

Posted by Be Fit on May 30th, 2019

What are the effects of alcohol on health?

Once drunk, how is alcohol managed by our body? What are the long-term effects of excessive consumption? In many cases, the knowledge remains unclear and does not allow to calmly apprehend the risks incurred.


  1. The course of alcohol in the body
  2. The effects of alcohol in the short term
  3. The effects of alcohol in the long run
  4. The dangers of alcohol during pregnancy
  5. Alcohol: how to reduce the risks?
  6. Situations where you should not drink

Drunkenness is not the only manifestation of excessive alcohol consumption. Effects in the short term, long term, discover the course of alcohol in the body and its consequences.


The course of alcohol in the body

When an alcoholic drink is consumed, the alcohol it contains passes through the intestinal wall without any modification. It passes thus in the blood very quickly:
15 to 30 minutes are enough if the person is fasting;
30 to 60 minutes pass if this passage is slowed by the presence of food.
It is at this point that alcohol (blood alcohol) is at its maximum before going down gradually.
Through the bloodstream, alcohol is spread throughout the body and especially the most irrigated organs: the liver, heart and brain. It is the liver that will slowly transform 95% of the alcohol, the remaining 5% is eliminated through the lungs and exhaled air, kidneys and urine, skin and sweat.
The toxic effects of alcohol are now well known. The liver, brain and nervous system, heart and muscles can be affected. The digestive system is not spared. The mucous membranes, stomach and intestines are irritated with frequent burning sensations.
This psychoactive substance acts at the level of the brain in the same way as cannabis or other drugs. Slow motion, disturbed, the brain is overwhelmed. Reflex disorders, vision and balance, memory loss ... are common. Being addictive if consumed regularly, alcohol is akin to a drug.
The effects of alcohol may be increased by ingestion of certain drugs such as sleeping pills or tranquilizers.

The effects of alcohol in the short term

The immediate effects are well known, so the drunkenness appears in a few hours because of excessive consumption. This state will be all the faster as the person will not be used to drinking. Motor coordination, balance, perception and judgment are altered. We invariably distinguish three phases that evolve from euphoria to falling asleep. According to the National Institute of Prevention and Health Education 1, the state evolves as follows:


The blood alcohol level is less than 0.7 g / l of blood. The drinker is euphoric, uninhibited, talkative and familiar, drunkenness is reached. Cognitive functions (alertness, perception, memory, balance, judgment) have already been reached.


The blood alcohol level ranges from 0.7 to 2 g / l of blood. Balance disorders, bad to speak ... it is a phase of incoordination with disturbances of the vigilance, ranging from drowsiness to torpor.


The blood alcohol level is higher than 2 g / l of blood. After a period of excitement, we fall asleep.


If the blood alcohol level is higher than 3 g / l of blood, there is a risk of deep ethyl coma that requires hospital-based monitoring. Blood pressure is low, respiratory rate and body temperature decrease. If the person is not cared for, there is a risk of death.


Decreased vigilance is at the root of risky behavior. After a drink, the risk of road accidents or everyday life is multiplied by three, after three drinks, by ten. Thus, drunkenness is associated with 40% of traffic deaths, 25-35% of nonfatal car accidents, 64% of fires and burns, 48% of hypothermia and frostbite cases, 40% Falls and 50% of homicides 2. Driving, in particular, alcohol increases reaction time while reducing reflexes, alertness and resistance to fatigue. Vision, estimation of distances and coordination are also disturbed;
Alcohol is also a factor of aggression and is responsible for 50% of brawls, 50-60% of crime and 20% of crime. Indeed alcohol will change the perception of an event and how to react. In some cases, the person focuses on their immediate perception and will react violently without thinking about future consequences, in other cases they will be more vulnerable and less able to defend themselves;
Finally, alcohol intake increases the risk of unprotected sex. And without a condom, one report is enough to be infected with the AIDS virus, other sexually transmitted infections or to be pregnant against your will. But drinking also affects free will and the ability to control a situation, which can lead to having unwanted sexual relations.
The effects of alcohol in the long run
In the long term, alcohol can be responsible for many diseases: cancers (mouth, esophagus, throat ..), diseases of the liver (cirrhosis) and pancreas, diseases of the nervous system and psychic disorders (anxiety, depression, irritability , etc.), cardiovascular disorders ... Due to higher consumption, men are more affected than women, and one in seven male deaths is attributable to alcohol.


Excessive consumption can lead to problems with memory, planning, attention, decision-making .... It can even lead to a Korsakoff syndrome, a brain disease that irreversibly alters memory. To compensate for memory loss, the person has a tendency to fabulation but is also prey to mood disorders and disorientation spatio-temporal.

But alcohol is also associated with the development of mental disorders: anxiety, depression, insomnia and it can even be the cause of suicides. In the case where a person starts to drink to relieve an already existing depression, even if the drink gives the impression of relieving its malaise, it will actually increase depression and anxiety.


Alcohol consumption increases the risk of cancer from a drink a day. All types of alcohol are concerned, as well as wine, beer or spirits (spirits). Indeed, it is ethanol, a molecule of alcohol present in all these drinks, which is carcinogenic. Alcohol can cause cancer of the upper aerodigestive tract (mouth, throat, larynx, esophagus) but also of the liver, colon or rectum. For women, it also increases the risk of breast cancer. When alcohol consumption is associated with smoking, the risk of cancer of the mouth and throat increases further.


  • Alcohol: how to reduce the risks?

To reduce the risks associated with regular alcohol consumption, it is recommended to:

  • Do not drink for several days in a row during the week;

Do not exceed the two so-called "standard" glasses (doses served in bars containing 10 grams of pure alcohol) when drinking alcohol;
Do not drink more than 10 glasses a week;

  • Start drinking as late as possible in the day and decrease the amount;

Think about eating and drinking water when drinking alcoholic beverages;
Do not drive and surround yourself with people you trust if you have been drinking, to avoid putting yourself or others in danger.

Situations where you should not drink

Nevertheless, there are situations where zero consumption is the benchmark for alcohol. This is the case of pregnancy and breastfeeding for women. But it goes without saying, for children and adolescents, during the whole period of growth.

Other situations are also incompatible with taking alcohol: driving, handling tools or machines, playing sports at risk, taking certain medications, or the existence of certain 

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Be Fit
Joined: May 30th, 2019
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