Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, meaning it slows down the brain and can cause several short-term effects, such as increasing pleasurable feelings and blunting negative emotions. These effects can lead to increased alcohol use, especially during stressful situations.
Drinking alcohol may provide temporary relief, but heavy drinking can cause enhanced negative emotional states in between consumption. This can result in heavier alcohol use, creating a never-ending cycle that’s difficult to break. As alcohol problems continue, they can cause adverse changes in how the brain communicates, making it more difficult to think and move.
Heavy alcohol abuse can also cause organ damage in the liver, pancreas and heart. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reports that heavy drinking is associated with several cancers, including in the liver, breast, head and neck. Long-term alcohol use can also cause other serious health risks, such as:
- High blood pressure
- Stomach ulcers
- Brain and nerve damage
- Digestive problems