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The 7 Short Term Effects of Alcohol Consumption


Sober Recovery Expert Author

drunk girl

A range of physical effects from annoying to life-threatening results from alcohol consumption. The short term effects of alcohol consumption not only have consequences for the drinker, but can impact those around him or her as well. For example, the physical effects of alcohol can be experienced with only one or two drinks, and impaired judgment and coordination needed to safely operate a car can result in the drinker having an accident.

Alcoholism is a disease where consuming alcoholic beverages is at a level that interferes with the drinker's physical or mental health, and negatively impacts social, family or occupational responsibilities. Immediate physical effects of alcohol can happen ten minutes after drinking begins. With continued alcohol consumption on that occasion, the short term effects of alcohol consumption become more serious.

A range of physical effects from annoying to life-threatening result from alcohol consumption. Learn about them all here.

Here are seven of the short term effects of alcohol consumption:

1. Reduced Inhibitions - consuming alcohol changes behavior. At a blood alcohol level of 0.05, the drinker's behavior begins to change and be noticable. Physical effects of alcohol and reduced inhibitions can mean the drinker becomes more likely to engage in activities they would otherwise not participate in like sexual activity, continued drinking, drinking and driving or illegal drug use.

2. Loss of Muscle Control - at the level of 0.10, slurred speech will likely be one of the physical effects of alcohol. Impaired judgement and poor coordination are short term effects of alcohol abuse that can lead to falls and accidents.

3. Memory Loss and/or Blackouts - since alcohol depresses the brain's control mechanisms, as blood alcohol levels increase, periods of time and certain situations and events may not be remembered afterward.

4. Nausea, Vomiting - excessive alcohol consumption can result in the body attempting to protect itself by getting rid of the alcohol. Also, alcohol adversely affecting a person's sense of balance and orientation can lead to a feeling of nausea.

5. Headaches, Hangovers - these short term effects of alcohol can be felt a few hours after consuming alcohol. Hangovers are partially due to the body becoming dehydrated due to alcohol consumption.

6. Stupor - at a blood alcohol concentration of 0.40, a person can hardly function, acting seriously disoriented and confused.

7. Coma - at a blood alcohol level of 0.50, a person is at risk for coma, a life-threatening condition. And at this level or higher, respiratory paralysis and death become very much a possibility.

The longer a person abuses alcohol over time, the higher the chances of long-term physical effects of alcohol being experienced and alcohol dependency developing. The most severe form of alcoholism is called 'alcohol dependency'. Alcohol dependency can include an increased tolerance to the short term effects of alcohol, withdrawal symptoms when alcohol consumption is interrupted and by alcohol-related illnesses and diseases.

If you or someone you know is seeking help from addiction, please visit our directory of treatment centers or call 800-772-8219 to start the path to recovery today.

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