You may think of alcohol as less harmful compared to drugs because you can buy it legally as long as you are not underage. But research has suggested that the effects of alcohol are much more dangerous compared to heroin, crack cocaine or other prescription opioids.

2010 research by the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs revealed that alcohol abuse is riskier compared to other chemical substances. For instance, alcohol topped the ranking based on overall damage to the user, socioeconomic impact, and crime. Tobacco, another legal source of addiction, is also right up there next to cocaine.


Short-Term Effects of Alcohol:

  1. Sleepiness
  2. Slurred speech
  3. Nausea and vomiting
  4. Upset stomach and diarrhea
  5. Blurred vision
  6. Rapid heart rate
  7. Impaired judgment and confusion
  8. Inability to control motor movements
  9. A headache
  10. Unconsciousness
  11. Loss of memory
  12. Impaired hearing

The effects of alcohol may be exacerbated or minimized depending on some factors such as the condition of the drinker at that time, and whether the stomach is full or not. The drinker will also expose herself to unnecessary risks like unprotected sex or even rape.

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Long-Term Effects of Alcohol:

  1. Injury due to accidents
  2. Jail term for crimes committed under intoxication
  3. Liver disease
  4. Nerve damage
  5. Dysfunctional family
  6. Job loss
  7. Damage to the brain
  8. Cancer
  9. Alcohol poisoning

Alcohol poisoning is an offshoot of overdose. It’s still reversible depending on what state the patient is when rushed to the hospital.

If the patient exhibits the following symptoms, call 911 immediately:

  1. Seizure
  2. Unconsciousness
  3. Confusion and disorientation
  4. Erratic breathing
  5. Pale and clammy skin
  6. Slow breathing
  7. Body is cold to the touch (which can be hypothermia)

Are You Drinking Beyond Normal Levels?

Although each individual reacts differently to alcohol, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a guideline on what constitutes excessive drinking.

  1. For men, it’s five or more drinks in a single seating; or 15 drinks and above each week
  2. For women, it’s four or more drinks in same conditions; or eight drinks and above each week

In contrast, moderate drinking would be two drinks for men and one drink for women daily.

Alcohol Deaths

Despite the massive education drive on the dangers, alcohol consumption continues to grow each year. In 2014, almost 31,000 Americans died from alcohol-related causes. The national mean that year was 9.6 deaths per 100,000 people, which was an increase of 37% since 12 years earlier. The number might not seem high but the total excluded the number of fatalities due to drunk driving. If the data were included, the total deaths would have tripled.

Alcohol Treatment

To counter the effects of alcohol, it’s best to check into a rehab facility. Self-detox can be dangerous like what happened to Amy Winehouse. The National Institutes of Health said that alcohol withdrawal complications can be fatal in more than five percent of the cases.

For treatment, the patient will typically undergo alcohol detox to manage the withdrawal symptoms. The duration of rehab may last from one month to six months, and even longer. Apart from detox, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy may also be employed, the 12-step process, holistic methods, individual and group counseling, among others.

Want more information about how Chapters Capistrano can help? Feel free to call 949-276-2886 and one of our addiction specialists will help get the information and help you need.

Medical disclaimer:

Chapters Capistrano strives to help people who are facing substance abuse, addiction, mental health disorders, or a combination of these conditions. It does this by providing compassionate care and evidence-based content that addresses health, treatment, and recovery.

Licensed medical professionals review material we publish on our site. The material is not a substitute for qualified medical diagnoses, treatment, or advice. It should not be used to replace the suggestions of your personal physician or other health care professionals.

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