Short-term effects of alcohol consumption include slurred speech, vomiting and headaches, and long-term effects of alcohol consumption include liver disease, nerve damage and ulcers. The effects of alcohol consumption depend on the amount of alcohol that the individual drinks and the individual's physical condition.
Alcohol consumption affects many of the body's organs, including the brain and heart. Alcohol consumption can cause permanent brain damage that affects an individual's ability to learn and remember, especially in a young person whose brain is still developing. Heart problems caused by alcohol consumption include cardiomyopathy, arrhythmia and hypertension.
Alcohol consumption also affects the liver by initially causing fatty build-up called steatosis, and can eventually cause cirrhosis, alcoholic hepatitis or fibrosis. These conditions may lead to liver failure and death. Alcohol has a more severe effect on a woman's liver than a man's because a woman's liver takes longer to repair itself if damaged.
Excessive alcohol consumption can increase an individual's risk of developing some cancers. Alcohol consumption is the second-leading cause of mouth and throat cancer, after smoking. An individual with liver cirrhosis may develop liver cancer. Studies have linked alcohol consumption with an increased risk of developing breast cancer because alcohol affects the body's oestrogen levels, and the more alcohol a woman consumes, the higher her risk of developing breast cancer increases.