The short term effects on the brain are probably the most recognized.
They include impaired walking, slurred speech, lowered inhibitions, delayed reactions and blurred vision. Many people, from those having their first drinks to those who drink regularly often experience those primary symptoms.
After long term drinking, however, the effects get more damaging. Life threatening diseases can occur after subjecting the body to years of alcohol abuse. Warning signs that the body is beginning to wear from the alcohol are: incontinence, blackouts, frequent vomiting and chronic fatigue.
Currently, there is no treatment for the long term effects of alcohol on the brain.
Women’s bodies begin to show signs of serious disease in a shorter amount of time than men’s. Not only that, but women tend to have even more problems than men including problems with their heart, brain shrinkage, and memory problems. Permanent memory loss is also common in long term drinkers even after they have stopped drinking.
* The brain is further damaged as an indirect result of alcohol.
Those with cirrhosis of the liver and other common problems with alcoholism are going to lack vitamins. These same vitamins are needed for the brain to function normally. Therefore, drinking can affect the brain directly and indirectly.
Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome is a disease found among many alcoholics. It has devastating short term and long term effects. There is a short term phase of the disease called Wernicke’s encephalopathy and a long term phase called Korsakoff Psychosis. The first phase displays symptoms such as confusion, paralysis of the nerves around the eyes and difficulty with motor (muscle) coordination. Those who go on to experience Korsakoff Psychosis suffer with both short term and long term memory loss.
Alcohol so adversely affects the brain that up to 80% of alcoholics who experience brain disorders as a result will need custodial care. Currently, there is no treatment for the long term effects of alcohol on the brain. Since it is an actual impairment of the brain (such as shrinkage), there is not a lot that can be done about it. Since there is no cure, prevention is the only way of stopping these debilitating diseases.
* If you drink, stop. If someone you love drinks, encourage them to stop.
Short term effects may seem funny or silly to some. Long term effects, however, are heartbreaking, especially when you have to watch a loved one suffer with it. Long term alcohol related afflictions are 100% preventable.