Immediate Effects of Alcohol on the Body

Written by amy davidson
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Immediate Effects of Alcohol on the Body
Alcohol can affect your coordination and impair your ability to stay alert. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Alcohol is a drug that works as a depressant. While alcohol wreaks many long-term effects on the body, such as liver damage, it also has immediate effects on the regular and occasional drinker. Since alcohol is soaked up by your bloodstream very quickly, knowing the immediate effects can help you learn what to expect.

Coordination And Brain Function

As a depressant, alcohol affects your coordination skills since it depresses coordination in your brain. This can lead to things such as the inability to walk straight, stand up or grasp objects. As such, alcohol should never be consumed before driving, as it can lead to serious injury or death. It can also depress your brain's functioning so much that you pass out.


Speech is another function affected by alcohol in immediate ways. Since alcohol lowers your inhibitions, it can cause you to say things you wouldn't normally say, such as divulging secrets or being more bold or aggressive. It can also affect how your speech sounds, such as causing you to slur or stumble over words.


Sickness in the form of vomiting or feeling nauseous can happen quickly after consuming alcohol. Depending on your tolerance for types and amounts of alcohol, you can get sick soon after taking a shot of liquor or after consuming a large number of alcoholic drinks. If you have consumed too much alcohol and your body cannot process it all, your body may vomit as a defence.


While alcohol can affect your brain's ability to coordinate movements, it also can affect your brain's ability to remember things in the short- and long-term. For example, a person who has consumed a number of alcoholic beverages and is inebriated might say something and two minutes later not remember having said it. In the longer term, a person might do things while drunk and not remember having done them once sober again.


Hangovers happen quickly after drinking alcohol and usually occur the morning after or a few hours following your last drink. Depending on your tolerance, small or large quantities of alcohol can cause a hangover. Hangovers are your body's response to the chemicals in alcohol that cause you to dehydrate and not get proper sleep. Symptoms include headache, body aches, vomiting, dizziness, diarrhoea and exhaustion.

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