10 Surprising Effects of Alcohol
We know the common effects of alcohol – slurred speech, lowering of inhibitions, foggy memories, and more severe things like cirrhosis of the liver and other diseases. But what about those little-known side effects that occur when we drink too much? Are we really aware of all the damage we’re exposing our bodies to when we imbibe too heavily?
10 Effects of Drinking Alcohol That May Surprise You
1. Bloated, Spotty Face
We know that alcohol isn’t any good for our insides, but it actually affects our outward appearances quite a bit too. Alcohol tends to result in bloodshot eyes, a puffy face, a bloated stomach, and usually an appearance of a few new pimples.
2. The Lingering Effect
You might wake up after a night of heavy drinking and get in your car to go to work as you would any other day. But there’s actually a pretty good chance you’re still over the legal limit when it comes to your blood-alcohol content that next morning. Most guidelines say that it takes about an hour to process each unit of alcohol consumed (of course, this varies for each person). So waking up early for work might not have given your body enough time to process all those units of alcohol.
3. Exercise Less Effective
If you think you’re gonna head to the gym after a night out drinking to “sweat out your sins”, prepare to be in a world of disappointment. First of all, it’s going to be a heck of a lot harder to motivate yourself at any sort of pace that will be challenging for you, since chances are you’re quite tired and dehydrated. And on top of being tired and dehydrated, you’re not going to burn as much fat as usual. That’s due to the fact that your body is already working really hard to get rid of all the alcohol, making it less effective overall at absorbing nutrients and burning fat.
4. Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Alcohol is a definite irritant when it comes to digestion, resulting in a higher level of acid to be produced in your stomach. This results in inflammation, a stomach ache, vomiting, and even diarrhea.
5. Added Water Weight
Alcohol majorly dehydrates you. It’s a diuretic, which means it will make you take several trips to the bathroom – so much so that you’ll be expelling way more fluid than you’re actually taking in.
6. Communication Pattens
This seems pretty obvious – alcohol messes with how your brain works and relays information. This is especially true for the communication pathways of the brain. After a few drinks, that new guy from work might be telling you his deepest and darkest secrets. That’s because alcohol lessens the behavioral inhibitory centers of your brain, making you feel less inhibited in what you say and do.
It also slows down your brain’s ability to process information from your senses, so you will have a harder time thinking clearly. So, combining reduced inhibitions with less rational thinking can result in some pretty poor decision-making on your end.
7. Low Self Expectations
Since drinking lowers your inhibitions and dulls your decision-making skills, the result is a seriously compromised sense of judgment. Things you would have never even thought of doing become totally okay (in your head). Aggressive actions, sexual promiscuity, and overall inappropriate behavior may not register as unacceptable…until the next morning when you put the pieces together, or even worse, someone else has to remind you of what you did.
8. Weakened Immune System
Drinking chronically can lead to catching more colds and illnesses more frequently than those who steer clear of alcohol. Alcohol weakens the immune system and make the body more likely to latch onto infections – something we definitely don’t want.
9. Wet Brain
This is the colloquial term for a certain type of brain damage known as Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. It is an awful mental side effect of alcoholism. It results from a vitamin B1 deficiency and excessive glucose (since alcohol is metabolized and turned into sugar).
10. Thinning Bones
You may have never guessed that alcohol actually makes your bones thinner. Long-term consumption of alcohol can cause issues with bone growth and remodeling of bone tissue. This results in decreased bone density and heightens the risk for fracture. This is especially problematic for alcohol consumption in adolescence, when bones are growing. And, again, this is problematic in adulthood because as we age regardless, bone health decreases, so this is just adding fuel to the fire.