Alcohol consumption causes a number of changes in behaviour. Even low doses significantly impair the judgment and coordination required to drive a car safely. Low to moderate doses of alcohol can increase the incidence of a variety of aggressive acts, including spouse and child abuse. Moderate to high doses of alcohol cause marked impairments in higher mental functions, severely altering a person’s ability to learn and remember information. Very high doses cause respiratory depression and death.

Continued use of alcohol can lead to dependence on the substance. Sudden cessation of alcohol intake is likely to produce withdrawal symptoms, including severe anxiety, tremors, hallucinations and convulsions. Long-term effects of consuming large quantities of alcohol, especially when combined with poor nutrition, can lead to permanent damage to vital organs such as the brain and liver.

In addition, mothers who drink alcohol during pregnancy may give birth to infants with foetal alcohol syndrome. These infants may suffer from mental retardation and other irreversible physical abnormalities. In addition, research indicates that children of alcoholic parents are at greater risk than other children of becoming alcoholics.


Short-term effects of intoxication

  • Slower reaction times/reflexes
  • Heavy sweating
  • Blurry vision
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Lowered reasoning ability
  • Poor motor coordination
  • Slower heart rate/breathing rate
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Anxiety/restlessness
  • Lower inhibition
  • Mental confusion
  • Memory loss
  • Coma
  • Death from respiratory arrest

Long-term effects include damage to the following:

  • Nervous system
  • Muscles
  • Lungs
  • Liver
  • Sexual organs
  • Brain
  • Heart
  • Oesophagus/stomach


How do I get help for myself or my loved one?

The first step in getting help is finding out whether you have a problem. A trained clinical psychologist can effectively perform a professional assessment, which will identify whether you have any problem areas, and will recommend the treatment most appropriate for you if necessary.

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