THE HARMFUL AFFECTS OF ALCOHOL
ON THE BRAIN AND CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM|
Alcohol is a depressant, which slows down the central nervous system and can cause drowsiness, relieve pain and induce sleep.
ON THE LUNGS
- Drinker experiences mild euphoria and loss of inhibition as alcohol impairs region of the brain controlling behavior and emotions. Alcohol impairs behavior, judgment, memory, concentration and coordination (shortened attention span, impaired problem solving abilities), as well as inducing extreme mood swings and emotional outbursts.
- Alcohol acts as a sedative on the central nervous system, depressing the nerve cells in the brain, dulling, altering and damaging their ability to respond appropriately. Large doses cause sleep, anesthesia, respiratory failure, coma and death.
- Impaired or distorted visual ability and hearing (affects ability to distinguish between sounds and perceive the direction they are coming from) ; dulled smell and taste (reducing the desire to eat) and loss of pain perception; altered sense of time and space
- Impairs fine motor skills, and slows reactions.
- Numbness and tingling in the arms and legs caused by nerve damage from depletion of thiamine (B vitamin); when severe, can damage other nerve endings, causing staggering, etc. (Wernicke's Encephalopathy).
- Long term drinking may result in permanent brain damage (Korsakoff's Syndrome or 'wet brain'), serious mental disorders, and addiction to alcohol.
- Lowered resistance to infection.
ON THE LIVER
- High amounts of alcohol may cause breathing to stop, then death.
- Chronic heavy drinking may cause alcoholic hepatitis (inflammation and destruction of liver cells) and then cirrhosis (irreversible lesions, scarring, and destruction of liver cells). Impairs the liver's ability to remove yellow pigment, and skin appears yellow (jaundice).
REPRODUCTIVE SYSTEM Male and Female
- Liver damage causes fluid to build in extremities (Edema).
- Decreases production of blood-clotting factors; may cause uncontrolled bleeding
- Liver accumulates fat which can cause liver failure (alcoholic fatty liver), coma and death.
- Sexual functioning can be impaired and deteriorate, resulting in impotence and infertility, sometimes irreversible. Females also have a high risk of developing breast cancer.
- In men, may lead to sterility, atrophy of the testes and enlargement of the breasts.
- Early menopause and menstrual irregularities are common in women who drink excessively.
- Drinking during pregnancy significantly increases chance of delivering a baby with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome; small head, possible brain damage, abnormal facial features, poor muscle tone, speech and sleep disorders, and retarded growth and development.
- Weakens the heart muscle and ability to pump blood (Cardiomyopathy).
- Abnormal heart signals, irregular heart beat and heart enlargement.
- Increases blood pressure, risk of heart attack and stroke.
- Inhibits production of both red and white blood cells.
Due to lower phosphate, muscles become weaker and atrophy; pain, spasms and tenderness.
- Irritation and damage of esophagus lining, induces severe vomiting, hemorrhaging, pain and difficulty swallowing. Can contribute to throat cancer.
- Irritation of stomach lining, can cause peptic ulcers, inflammation, bleeding lesions and cancer. Minute blood loss may deplete the body's iron stores, causing irritability, lack of energy, headaches and dizziness.
- The pancreas becomes stressed from having to create insulin to process the sugar present in alcohol. This creates a significant risk of pancreatitis, a chronic inflammation that can be fatal. - rly menopause and menstrual irregularities are common in women who drink excessively. of sugar in alcohol. n severe,
- Irritation of the intestinal tract lining and the colon
- Nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, sweating and loss of appetite are common.
- Alcohol impairs the small intestine's ability to process nutrients and vitamins.
- Chronic drinking may result in inflammation, ulcers, and cancers of the intestines and colon.
- Alcohol interferes with the body's ability to absorb calcium, resulting in bones being weak, soft, brittle and thinner (Osteoporosis).
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