By not drinking too much, you can reduce the risk of these short- and long-term health risks. Along with the hormone changes that alcohol triggers, that can keep your body from building new bone. Your bones get thinner and more fragile, a condition called osteoporosis.

  • The cells lining your mouth and throat are especially vulnerable to the harmful effects of alcohol.
  • Heavy drinking can also increase your blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels, both of which are major risk factors for heart attacks and strokes.
  • Understanding how alcohol affects the mind, body, and overall health can help you make the most informed decisions about your consumption habits.
  • While you may experience euphoria or relaxation at first, in the long run, alcohol affects neurotransmitters, which can lead to changes in your thoughts, moods, and behavior.
  • Dependent drinkers with a higher tolerance to alcohol can often drink much more without experiencing any noticeable effects.

Theories suggest that for certain people drinking has a different and stronger impact that can lead to alcohol use disorder. Just one or two alcoholic drinks can impair your balance, coordination, impulse control, memory, and decision-making. Too much alcohol can also shut down parts of your brain that are essential for keeping you alive. Over the long term, alcohol can increase your risk of more than 200 different diseases, including in the liver and pancreas, and certain cancers. Though alcohol seems woven into the fabric of our social lives, drinking can have harmful health effects, even in small doses. Short-term and long-term effects of alcohol can negatively impact the mind and body, despite any potential benefits.


25.8% of people classified their recent consumption habits as binge drinking (excessive drinking in a defined amount of time). The size of your body, whether or not you have eaten recently, and the effects of alcohol on the body rate at which you drink all affect how your body processes alcohol. Moderate alcohol use for healthy adults generally means up to one drink a day for women and up to two drinks a day for men.

  • Take our free, 5-minute substance abuse self-assessment below if you think you or someone you love might be struggling with substance abuse.
  • You might not recognize how much you drink or how many problems in your life are related to alcohol use.
  • Alcohol dependence is one of the main causes of alcohol abuse and disability in the US and a strong risk factor for various diseases (70).

Deficits in reaction time and mental vigilance, or how well you’re able to maintain attention or focus, can pop up after too little sleep, says Atwood. These impairments can have implications for certain jobs, says Atwood — for example, operating vehicles. This loss of quality sleep will give you a groggy feeling the next day. Below are five health-related improvements you may see if you spend 30 days alcohol-free. October is a popular month to put drinking to a halt with “Sober October,” a challenge originally started in the United Kingdom as a fundraiser for fighting cancer. It’s not likely to come as a surprise that alcohol consumption, especially in exces…

What are the short-term health effects of alcohol?

Drinking slowly is another way to reduce the rate at which alcohol is absorbed by your body. Having several nonalcoholic drinks between drinks of alcohol can also slow the effects of alcohol on your system. If you don’t drink alcohol, don’t start because of potential health benefits. However, if you drink a light to moderate amount and you’re healthy, you can probably continue as long as you drink responsibly. Be sure to check with your doctor about what’s right for your health and safety.

  • Research also shows that heavy drinking by men may lower testosterone levels and affect the making of sperm.
  • With each alcohol withdrawal episode, the brain and nervous system becomes more sensitised and the resulting side effects become more pronounced.
  • If consumption stops suddenly, the person may experience withdrawal symptoms.