You *know* many effects of alcohol on your body. That's what hangovers are, isn't it? But there are some you might not be aware of, so here is a pretty comprehensive list!
If the next morning's hangover isn't enough for you to make the resolution of drinking moderately every time, then finding out in excruciating detail all of the ways alcohol harms you, short term and long term, might just do the trick. This is not about the idea that mixing drinks hits you harder the next day - science has already disproven this long-standing myth about alcohol and hangovers.
10 effects of alcohol to avoid
It shrinks your brain. The size and the look of your brain tend to change because of alcohol. Brain cells become smaller even. This means some of the effects of alcohol are problems with memory, reasoning, and learning. It also makes it harder for you to control your movements.
Changes your body temperature. Alcohol makes more blood flow to your skin by first widening your blood vessels. That is why you feel flushed and warm when you drink and why your cheeks get all red. But you can't and should not drink to keep warm, because that heat passes out of your body and it makes it way colder.
Boosts your blood pressure. Long term drinking does that to you and also makes your body release stress hormones. This narrows your blood vessels and makes your heart pump harder. This leads us to...
It hurts your heart. Yeah, one of the effects of alcohol is that it hurts your heart. Because of the long term reason stated above. But there's another reason: just one night of binge drinking jumbles the electrical signals that make your heartbeat steady, in a rhythm. If you binge drink for years, the electric signals can be altered for good. This process also makes your heart muscles stretch. That doesn't sound good at all, does it?
Ruins Your Sleep. Just one drink can help you fall asleep easier, but your sleep definitely won't be very restful. You will toss and turn. And you're more likely to have bad nightmares that make you wake up with cold sweats.
Bad digestion. Alcohol disrupts the speed that food moves through your small intestine and colon, not to mention irritates these organs. But there are more effects of alcohol on your digestion: it can also give you heartburn.
Acid burn! Speaking of digestion, alcohol also irritates your stomach lining, so hello acid burn, nausea and maybe throwing up. Also likely, after years: ulcers, but also the possibility of not getting enough nutrients, because the high levels of stomach juices make you not feel hungry.
Hurts your brain. The effects of alcohol on your brain are many and not too pleasant: mood-altering, reflexes slowing, balance destroying. It also affects the part of your brain that makes decisions. Which is why you might drink even more after you're drunk. And it also hurts your ability to store things in your long term memory.
Hello, what? You can't hear very well. The cause for the impact on your hearing is not well understood by science so far. At first, you can't hear very well during your night of drinking. But then this can become permanent. Did you hear that?
Throws your hormones off balance. This can affect you in many ways. Like your sex drive or your digestion. For women, there can be irregular periods and trouble conceiving. For men, it can mean a lower sperm count, trouble getting erections, shrinking testicles, and breast growth! That really doesn't sound like fun at all.
Is drinking regularly worth all that? The effects of alcohol spread to basically every part of our bodies. It seems to relax, but it alters our moods. It seems to help us fall asleep, but in fact, it ruins the quality of sleep and so on. I don't want to preach. Just want to underline, as always, that being moderate is good in all things. Especially when it comes to alcohol.