Alcohol Rehab: Alcohol’s Effect on the Body and Brain

Alcohol rehab is a crucial part of overcoming addiction. Most people view alcohol positively because it is great for unwinding and taking your mind off the stress. However, the health consequences of alcohol are real and immediate. A 2018 study showed that no amount of alcohol is safe for the body. When you drink more than seven beers a week, it reduces your life expectancy by six months, which is why many people would benefit from alcohol rehab.

Initial consumption will lead to lower inhibitions, affecting your behavior and judgment. Short-term consequences can be pretty fatal, like a drunk-driving incident or angry outbursts. However, it could be devastating to your brain and body in the long term. In this article, the Carolina Recovery Center in Durham will be explaining how alcohol affects the body and brain.

Alcohol and the Brain

Early death is not the only consequence of heavy alcohol use. Alcohol is considered one of the leading contributors to dementia. It is a neurotoxin and is therefore toxic to nerve cells. Due to this, it has several implications on the brain.

Alcohol can change the brain structure. Some imaging studies show that brain structures tend to shrink considerably over time. Each structure performs specific functions, but they are all compromised when you continually use alcohol. Some of the brain structures that alcohol affects are:


This structure is the largest part of the brain that controls our voluntary processes and consciousness. The frontal lobes of this brain structure are sensitive to alcohol, and it can compromise the initiation of motor activities. Alcohol could also compromise behavioral integration, connecting our emotions, behavior, and intellect.


Another brain structure affected by alcohol is the cerebellum. It deals with maintaining balance, posture, and coordination. When people are intoxicated, they usually have difficulty walking or keeping their balance. Alcohol can have a long-term effect on the cerebellum, leading to problems in coordination that abstinence may not resolve fully. However, getting to alcohol rehab early can help minimize the adverse effects of alcohol on the cerebellum.


Another part of the brain that alcohol affects is the hippocampus. It deals with the emotional and memory aspect of survival instincts. When you take too much alcohol, it impairs your perception of risks.

Ultimately, chronic ingestion affects several brain functions; the degree usually depends on the amount and duration of alcohol consumed. In addition, some individual factors like nutrition, genetics, and lifestyle contribute to how alcohol can affect your brain. Some of these changes are reversible, while some are not.

Alcohol’s Effect on the Body

As for the rest of the body, Alcohol is toxic to every cell and can negatively impact various organs. Below is a breakdown of how alcohol affects the heart, liver, and pancreas.

Alcohol and the Liver

Most times, we tend to ignore our livers with no sensory connection to their functions. The liver processes most toxins absorbed into our intestines, like alcohol. One of the consequences of alcohol is cirrhosis which is the buildup of scar tissues till no healthy liver tissue is available.

The liver also assists with clotting cascade, so those with alcohol use disorder sometimes develop a bleeding disorder. The buildup of scar tissues could also cause the circulatory system to pack up, leading to heart failure.

Alcohol and the Pancreas

Another reason why alcohol rehab is vital is to reduce the long-term alcohol effect on the pancreas, which is the development of pancreatitis. Pancreatitis is the inflammation of the pancreas. Most people with pancreatitis usually develop type II diabetes. Also, since the pancreas produces vital enzymes for digestion, you could create digestive issues. Additionally, heavy alcohol use can cause pancreatic cancer.

Alcohol and the Heart

Most people don’t think alcohol affects the heart, but it does. It could cause high blood pressure leading to heart failure and stroke. Long-term alcohol use can also cause the heart to become inefficient in pumping blood. This would lead to a disruption of the primary body function, eventually leading to heart failure.

Contact the Carolina Recovery Center in Durham Today!

The good news is that alcohol rehab can potentially undo some of the damages caused by alcohol use. Of course, it isn’t an overnight process, but the alcohol abuse recovery process can also help the body recover. At the Carolina Recovery Center in Durham, treatment for alcohol use disorder is just the first step in the alcohol abuse recovery process. We will also help you learn skills and techniques that ensure long-term wellness. Contact us today to learn more about our recovery process and how we can help you.