How Does Alcohol Affect the Body?

The body is solid and resilient but can be beaten up, torn down, and rotted from the inside out. Alcohol affects the body by slowing down normal processes. While often minimal, it can be highly damaging in the long run.

To learn more about how alcohol affects the body, check us out at Next Wind Recovery. Our comprehensive New Jersey outpatient treatment facility offers support options for those ready for their Next Wind.

How Does Alcohol Affect the Body?

Alcohol use is so common that many don’t fully comprehend the impact alcohol can have on a person’s body. When an individual drinks alcohol, they will notice some basic reactions to it. They may feel flush, notice their reaction time is slowed, or react differently than expected. These side effects, while common, are only early-onset reactions to the substance.

Alcohol is actually a depressant. While some may feel more energetic and lively, and have less stress or social anxiety while drinking, this is a reaction to alcohol’s depression or slowing of functions in the brain. When alcohol affects the body, it delays the ability to process information and reduces the heart rate. This creates a phenomenon for people with high anxiety and stressors where the alcohol seems to bring them to life because they aren’t feeling their typical stress indicators. 

Is Alcohol Addictive?

Alcohol, while safe to consume for adults, can be addictive if not consumed safely. Individuals who over-indulge, binge drink, or drink while using other substances, are at a higher risk of developing an addiction to the substance.

Drinking too much too frequently can reduce alcohol’s effects on the body. This is called tolerance, and individuals who develop a tolerance need to drink more alcohol to get the same feeling they did when they first started drinking. While some level of tolerance is acceptable, it is one of the initial warning signs of addiction.

Another danger that increases the potential for addiction is binge drinking. Binge drinking is when an individual drinks more than what is considered safe for their gender, body type, and size. This can lead to an overabundance of alcohol in the body’s system. When the body can not process the alcohol fast enough, it can cause individuals to be unable to control their body, lowering reaction time and causing memory loss, known as a “blackout.”

Lastly, individuals who drink alcohol while taking another substance are also at higher risk for developing an addiction to alcohol. Because of how alcohol affects the body, combined with another substance, a depressant, or painkiller, this can cause extreme depression in the body’s system. Overdoses with combined substances have been linked to comas, strokes, heart attacks, and death.

What Are the Effects of Alcohol Abuse?

Individuals who drink alcohol and become addicted to it don’t just have short-term problems to deal with. The effects of alcohol abuse on the body can be a lifelong struggle. 

Psychologically, individuals may deal with the after-effects of alcohol for the rest of their life. Alcohol addiction can cause depression and anxiety, and can be associated with other diagnosable mental health disorders. Individuals addicted to alcohol experience more major depressive episodes than those who do not. The effects of alcohol abuse are also linked to sleep disorders and suicidal thoughts and tendencies. Alcohol can also be associated with dramatic changes in personality and reactions to stressful situations.

The effects of alcohol abuse can have long-term effects on the body as well. Physically, clients have a higher risk of developing certain types of cancer. They are at a higher risk for liver failure because of how alcohol gets filtered out of the blood system. Following alcohol addiction, individuals may get more infections and have more severe illnesses.

How to Find Alcohol Addiction Treatment in New Jersey

When considering how alcohol affects the body and how to find addiction treatment programs in New Jersey, it is essential to consider the client’s needs and how local therapy in New Jersey can help. 

Next Wind Recovery, located in Teaneck, NJ, provides supportive outpatient opportunities for clients ready to change their lifestyles. Our medical professionals work with clients through individual and group therapies to help them achieve their sobriety goals. 

At Next Wind, we realize that with addiction often comes addiction mental health concerns that must be addressed to treat the whole patient. That is why we offer dual diagnosis treatment for our clients. By treating our client’s mental and physical health concerns, they can focus on total mind and body wellness.

Learn more about how alcohol affects the body by speaking with a Next Wind Recovery NJ counselor.

About the Author

Picture of Duane Anderson, CADC Intern

Duane Anderson, CADC Intern

Duane is a Primary Therapist at Next Wind Recovery.

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