The effects of alcohol on the body can be harmful especially with excessive consumption. Find out how alcohol affects the body and mind in this helpful infographic.
When we start out drinking, we feel relaxed, happy, sociable, and confident – feelings we usually relate to as being “tipsy” or “buzzed”. These pleasant feelings can sometimes make us forget about the negative effects of alcohol on the body and mind. These include slowed reflexes, reduced coordination, poor judgement, warped thinking, impaired memory and motor functions, and plenty of other impairments on our cognitive abilities.
The negative effects of alcohol on the body occur every single time we drink, even if it’s just one glass of wine or a bottle of beer. The more you drink, the stronger these negative effects become, and the faster the pleasant effects start to fade.
The infographic below shows the effects of alcohol on the body and the mind. Check it out to discover how alcohol affects the body and the mind progressively the more you drink and the higher your BAC becomes.
(Source: UPMC Health)
(Note that the infographic states 0.08 as the legal limit for driving in the U.S. In Australia, the legal limit is 0.05%BAC.)
The effects of alcohol on the body become more prominent the more we drink. At 0.01%BAC to 0.05%BAC, we feel relaxed, happy, and “buzzed”. However at this state, we tend to have lost our inhibitions and may be more sociable and outgoing than we normally are. The effects of alcohol on the mind at this level is impaired alertness and judgement.
At 0.06%BAC and 0.10%BAC, we start to feel “drunk”. At this level, the effects of alcohol on the body include numbness, nausea, sleepiness, and emotional arousal. As for our mental capabilities, our coordination (especially our motor skills) start to deteriorate, as do our ability to visually track objects within our field of vision. Needless to say, the effects of alcohol on driving at this BAC level are dangerous, which explains why many countries, such as Australia, have a legal driving limit of 0.05%BAC or lower.
If we drink more than that and reach a BAC of between 0.11%BAC to 0.20%BAC, we may start to feel what many describe as being “hammered”. This could include feeling angry, sad, or having mood swings. At this stage, alcohol greatly affects our reasoning and depth perception, and we may start to exhibit inappropriate social behaviour such as obnoxiousness.
Above 0.20%BAC is when we may start to feel “plastered” – effects of alcohol on the body include stupor, reduced sensations, depression, and aggression. On the mind, alcohol causes slurred speech and lack of balance.
When you drink more and your body exceeds an alcohol level of 0.30%BAC, there’s a high possibility that you may black out, lose consciousness, slip into a coma, or even die. It’s because alcohol at this concentration can impair your body’s ability to regulate temperature as well. At 0.40%BAC and above, death is imminent. You would have difficulty breathing, and a slowed heart rate.
Excessive alcohol consumption is harmful to health, causing not only short term harm but long term harm as well. It affects our body functions, including our cardiovascular system, nervous system, liver, and gastrointestinal system. Studies have also found a link between alcohol and cancer, too.
Alcohol knowledge is also important to educate yourself, your friends and your family on how to develop healthy habits when it comes to alcohol. This includes understanding what is a standard drink, how many standard drinks it may take to reach 0.05. You should also know what factors affect BAC and, if possible, use a breathalyser to keep track of your BAC level and make sure that you’re always at a low-risk alcohol level. This means drinking alcohol in moderation and within the national health guidelines of no more than two standard drinks per day.
Alcohol in moderation may have some benefits for health, but prolonged excessive consumption of alcohol has the opposite effect. Taking responsibility and developing a healthy relationship with alcohol is important to ensure that you can enjoy your booze and protect your health at the same time.