what is the effect of drinking alcohol the short and long term effects

What is The Effect of Drinking Alcohol? Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant and acts directly on a variety of organs, such as the liver, heart, vessels, and the wall of the stomach. In small amounts alcohol promotes disinhibition, but with the increase of this concentration, the individual presents a decrease of the response to the stimuli, pasty speech, difficulty to ambulation among others. At very high concentrations, ie, greater than 0.35 grams / 100 milliliters of alcohol, the subject may become comatose or even die.

What is The Effect of Drinking Alcohol? The Short and Long-Term Effects

The effects of alcohol vary in intensity according to personal characteristics. For example, a person accustomed to drinking alcohol will feel the effects of alcohol less intensely when compared to another person who is not accustomed to drinking. Another example is related to the physical structure; a person with a large physical structure (considering height, muscle mass, and fat) will have a greater resistance to the effects of alcohol. Other factors are associated with the individuals metabolism, genetic vulnerability, lifestyle and time when alcohol is consumed

The American Medical Association considers as an alcoholic concentration capable of bringing harm to the individual 0.04 grams / 100 milliliters of blood.



Depending on the amount ingested and the individuals physical condition, alcohol can cause:

  • Speaks dragged or rolled up
  • Somnolence
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach discomfort
  • Headaches
  • Respiratory distress
  • Distorted vision and hearing
  • Impaired Discernment Ability
  • Decreased perception and coordination
  • Unconsciousness
  • Anemia (loss of red blood cells)
  • Coma
  • Loss of consciousness (memory lapses during which the alcoholic cannot remember the events that happened while under the influence of alcohol)



Drinking heavily and consuming alcohol in excess is associated with many health problems, including:

  • Accidental injuries, such as car crashes, falls, burns and drownings
  • Intentional injuries, such as in the case of firearm injuries, sexual abuse and domestic violence
  • Increased labor injuries and lost productivity
  • Increased family problems, separations
  • Alcohol poisoning
  • High blood pressure, stroke and other heart disease
  • Hepatic disease
  • Neural damages
  • S*xual problems
  • Permanent brain damage
  • Deficiency of vitamin B 1 that can lead to a disorder characterized by amnesia, apathy and disorientation
  • Ulcers
  • Gastritis (inflammation of the walls of the stomach)
  • Malnutrition
  • Cancer in the mouth and throat


Table 1 – Effects of alcohol consumption (CAS) and performance

The table below correlates blood alcohol concentration (CAS) levels and corresponding clinical symptoms.

CAS (g / 100ml) Effects on the body
0.01-0.05 Increased heart and respiratory rate
Decreased functions of various nerve centers
Incoherent Behavior When Performing Tasks
Decreased ability to discern and loss of inhibition
A slight feeling of euphoria, relaxation, and pleasure
0.06-0.10 The physiological nuisance of almost all systems
Decreased alertness and alertness, slower reflexes, poor coordination and reduced muscle strength
Reduced ability to make rational or discerning decisions
Growing Feeling of Anxiety and Depression
Decreased patience
0.10-0.15 Considerably slower reflexes
Problems of balance and movement
Altering some visual functions
Speak with difficulty
Vomiting, especially if this blood alcohol level is reached rapidly
0.16-0.29 Severe sensory disorders, including reduced awareness of external stimuli
Major changes in motor coordination, with a tendency to stagger and fall frequently
0.30-0.39 Deep lethargy
Loss of consciousness
State of sedation comparable to surgical anesthesia
Death (in many cases)
Starting at 0.40 Unconsciousness
Respiratory failure
Death, usually caused by respiratory insufficiency

Individuals who use chronic large amounts of alcohol over time may develop complications in various organs such as esophagitis, gastritis and ulcer; steatosis, hepatitis and cirrhosis of the liver; pancreatitis; vitamin deficiencies, dementia, and cancer.


Criteria for use, harmful use or dependence on alcohol

We can call use, any consumption of alcohol, even if episodic or sporadic.

Individuals who drink eventually, but who exaggerate on these occasions, may experience legal, health or family problems arising from this use. Such individuals are said to make a harmful use of alcohol.

Dependence occurs when the consumption of a particular substance is compulsive, that is, the users behavior is fundamentally focused on the impulse to ingest alcohol, either continuously or periodically, for the purpose of obtaining a state of altered consciousness, pleasure, avoidance or reduction of withdrawal symptoms and whose intensity is capable of causing social, physical and/or psychological problems.
Cases of alcohol abuse, dependence, or withdrawal should be treated.