What are the Physical Effects of Alcohol?

Dan Cavallari

Perhaps the most common of the physical effects of alcohol is the loss of coordination and balance, but the effects certainly are not limited to clumsiness. The physical effects of alcohol may include losing consciousness, blurred vision, slurred speech, vomiting, stomachache, headache, and various other negative physical issues. The body also can become severely dehydrated when too much alcohol is consumed, and if enough alcohol is present in the body, one may be at risk for alcohol poisoning. This is a serious condition that can lead to severe illness or even death.

The physical effects of alcohol may include blurred vision and slurred speech.
The physical effects of alcohol may include blurred vision and slurred speech.

A loss of coordination is usually the first of the physical effects of alcohol to become present in a drunk person. He or she may stumble or fall over, or simply have trouble grasping objects. Reaction time often slows considerably when too much alcohol is present in one's body, which is one of the reasons why drunk driving is so dangerous. The physical effects of alcohol will prevent the driver from reacting to obstacles in the road quickly enough for safety. Driving is not the only activity that should be avoided when drinking, however, as the physical effects of alcohol can lead to stumbling or a loss of balance, which can lead to falling or striking objects.

As whiskey has a higher alcohol content than beer, it magnifies the effects and duration of excess consumption.
As whiskey has a higher alcohol content than beer, it magnifies the effects and duration of excess consumption.

When too much alcohol is present in the body, one's vision may become blurred. One may also experience a spinning sensation that can cause a loss of balance. More severe cases may lead to a loss of vision, also known as blacking out. This is accompanied by a loss of awareness of events taking place in one's proximity, sometimes for long periods of time. Blacking out often leads to passing out, or losing consciousness. This may be a minor condition, or it can be more serious if the level of alcohol in one's system is too high for the body to process.

Blackouts are a symptom of excessive alcohol consumption.
Blackouts are a symptom of excessive alcohol consumption.

Vomiting and nausea are also common physical effects of alcohol. If too much alcohol is present in the body, the body will reject the substance and propel it from the stomach. Even if vomiting does not occur, an inebriated person may experience nausea. Elevated levels of alcohol in the body is toxic, meaning the body will make attempts to rid itself of the poison; this is when vomiting occurs.

Reaction time often slows considerably when too much alcohol is present in the body, which is why drunken driving is so dangerous.
Reaction time often slows considerably when too much alcohol is present in the body, which is why drunken driving is so dangerous.
Consuming more alcohol than a body can safely handle may cause fatal alcohol poisoning.
Consuming more alcohol than a body can safely handle may cause fatal alcohol poisoning.
Alcohol poisoning may lead to a visit to the emergency room.
Alcohol poisoning may lead to a visit to the emergency room.
Vomiting may occur during an alcohol overdose.
Vomiting may occur during an alcohol overdose.
Excessive drinking leads to blackouts, a form of memory loss.
Excessive drinking leads to blackouts, a form of memory loss.

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