Drinking huge amounts of alcohol over long periods can cause many negative effects on your body and mind. Alcohol is present in wine, beer, and liquor. It depresses the CNS (central nervous system) and can affect all the organs in your body, especially the brain and liver.

When you start drinking, you can notice the short-term effects of alcohol such as difficulty in walking, thinking and speaking, and these go away when you stop drinking. However, the long-term effects of alcohol last even after you stop drinking, especially when you drink excessive quantities for an extended period.

Alcohol Dependence

Drinking alcohol over extended periods and increasing the amount you drink leads to alcohol dependence. According to a study by the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, you are at a higher risk of dependence when you drink more than two drinks consistently. If you are dependent, you will need more and more alcohol to achieve the same “high.” And if you stop drinking, you will experience withdrawal symptoms such as sweating, nausea and feeling shaky.

Moderate vs. Heavy Drinking

Most of the long-term effects of drinking occur after consuming excess alcohol. One drink is equivalent to:

• 12 ounces of beer
• 8 ounces of malt liquor
• 5 ounces of wine
• 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor

According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, women should drink one or less drink per day, and men should drink two drinks or less per day. But, this may not apply to everyone; it depends on how alcohol affects you individually, whether you are taking medications that interact with alcohol, and other factors. Thus, heavy drinking is classified as drinking more than the recommended daily limit. Doing this makes you more susceptible to the long-term adverse effects. Driving after drinking heavily also brings the serious risk of an auto accident or DUI. Never drive if you are over the .08 blood alcohol content legal maximum, and consider contacting an Austin criminal defense lawyer or one in your area if you make that mistake and get arrested for a DUI.

Brain Damage

Among the most significant effects of alcohol in your life is that it can impact your brain. Drinking too much alcohol for extended periods will kill the neurons in your brain. Neurons are responsible for vital brain functions. For example, the neurons in the cortex are responsible for consciousness and mental functions, and memory. Some of the signs of impacted neurons include:

• Slurred speech
• Trouble walking
• Blurred eyesight
• Trouble remembering
• Reacting slowly

If you drink more than recommended for long periods, the negative effects will last for long after you have stopped drinking. According to a study, 80 percent of the addicts receive less of the nutrient vitamin B1 or thiamine that is necessary for the health of the brain. Also, the brain damage can occur due to liver disease caused by alcoholism.

Liver Damage

The liver breaks down alcohol, and this is the main area that can incur extreme damage due to consuming excess alcohol for extended periods. The damage to the liver may include:

• Fatty liver disease. This is excess fat in the liver cells. It is an earlier stage of a kind of liver disease caused by alcohol. Fatty liver disease is reversible only by abstinence from alcohol.
• Alcoholic hepatitis. This is a swollen and damaged liver. If it is not serious, it can be reversed by abstaining from alcohol. If it is serious, it can lead to death.
• Liver cirrhosis. This is a hard scar tissue in the liver, and it can be fatal. It is more serious than the above two.

Alcohol can also affect your mood, and it can cause anxiety. Alcohol can also impact your immune system and central nervous system (CNS). Alcoholism can cause weight gain, hypertension, cancer, sexual problems, heart attack, and stroke.

Effect on Babies

Fetal alcohol syndrome is a problem that occurs when a mother drinks alcohol while pregnant. It can cause long-term adverse effects on the baby. The effects include:

• Improper physical, intellectual, and social development
• Behavioral problems
• Sex and sexuality problems
• Difficulty with jobs and independence
• High probability of suicide

Broken Relationships

Addiction and dependence on alcohol can affect your personal and professional relationships. It can get into the way in your relationships with your family and friends. In the end, it can affect your performance at work or school. The potential consequences of alcohol in your relationships include:

• Loss of your job
• Loss of friends
• Loss of custody of children
• Loss of a job license
• Financial problems

Alcohol, if drunk excessively, can cause brain and liver damage. It can also affect your unborn baby if you drink while pregnant, and it can also affect your social life by causing broken relationships. So, if you do drink, set a limit and stick to it.

Author's Bio: 

Anica is a professional content and copywriter who graduated from the University of San Francisco. She loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. She was raised in a big family, so she's used to putting things to a vote. Also, cartwheels are her specialty. You can connect with Anica here.