When a person consumes alcohol, it lowers the individual’s inhibitions. As a result, many people often do or say things that they regret while under the influence of alcohol. We’ve all heard the phrase, “blame it on the alcohol” before, as if to say that people shouldn’t be held accountable for their words or actions while under the influence of alcohol. (Hey, actor and singer Jamie Foxx even has a song about it.) But, we’ve all also heard sayings like, “drunk words are sober thoughts,” as if to say that what people say or do while drinking is their truth and thus should be taken seriously. So, which one is it? Should or shouldn’t people be held accountable for their words and actions while drinking? Is alcohol a truth serum?
So that you get a conclusive answer to these questions, we’re going to go into detail about the short and long-term effects of alcohol abuse on the brain and body. We’ll also discuss if consuming alcohol always makes a person speak his or her truth.
What is Alcohol?
Alcohol is a liquid substance, or drink, with the drug ethanol in it. Ethanol is the psychoactive substance that makes people that consume alcohol drunk.
Ethanol is created when yeast breaks down the sugars in different foods such as grapes or grains. The process of ethanol breaking down the sugar in foods like fruits and grains is called fermentation.
While alcohol may act as a stimulant at first in that it usually causes people to feel more excited and energetic when it’s initially consumed, it actually is a depressant. This means that as you consume more and more alcohol, you’ll start to feel your body slow down. For example, large amounts of alcohol consumption cause your heart rate, breathing, speaking, and consciousness to slow down. This is why many people that are drunk on alcohol start slurring their words when they speak.
What are the Effects of Alcohol Use?
As we’ve just mentioned, the effects of alcohol use can vary depending on how long you’ve been drinking. Therefore, the short-term effects of alcohol use are different from the long-term effects of alcohol use. Some of the specific short-term and long-term physiological effects of alcohol use are given below.
Short-Term Effects of Alcohol Use
Whether you’re just drinking socially or you suffer from an actual alcohol use disorder, you can experience the short-term effects of alcohol. This is because the liver can only metabolize about one drink of alcohol per hour. Therefore, consuming any more than one drink of alcohol per hour can raise your blood alcohol level (BAC) and cause you to become intoxicated. Factors that can affect how quickly a person experiences the short and long-term effects of alcohol include weight, size, height, gender, and liver function and health.
Common short-term effects of alcohol use include the following:
- Blacking out
- Dulled vision
- Mood swings
- Poor judgment
- Lowered inhibitions
- Loss of coordination
- Trouble concentrating
- Increased blood pressure
- Reduced core body temperature
Long-Term Effects of Alcohol Use
When people continually consume large amounts of alcohol over a long period of time, it can cause chronic health issues. It can also cause people to ruin relationships that they had with others due to them constantly saying things that they never would have been brave enough to say before. In other words, people that chronically abuse alcohol constantly show that drunk words are sober thoughts. Chronic alcohol abuse can even lead to the development of alcohol dependency or addiction.
The common long-term effects of alcohol use include:
- A fatty liver
- Loss of memory
- Irregular heartbeat
- Loss of brain matter
- High blood pressure
- Loss of attention span
- Trouble learning new things
- Inflammation of the liver, or alcoholic hepatitis
- Throat, mouth, larynx, breast, liver, colorectal, or esophageal cancer
- Excessive amounts of extracellular matrix proteins due to chronic liver disease, or liver fibrosis
Effects of Alcohol Abuse on the Body
When a person chronically abuses alcohol, it can cause the body negative effects that can last for the rest of that person’s life. In fact, chronic abuse of alcohol can cause adverse effects on numerous different bodily systems and their body parts. Some of the bodily systems and parts that are affected most by alcohol abuse are described below.
When a person chronically abuses alcohol, all of that alcohol consumption can cause the lining of that person’s stomach to wear out. It can also cause the stomach to produce more stomach acids than normal, which can then lead to ulcers.
Chronic consumption of alcohol can even alter the way your digestive system breaks down, absorbs, transports, stores, and excretes foods and liquids and their nutrients. This could, in turn, cause people to experience nutrient deficiencies. Alcohol abuse can even cause a person’s body to struggle to maintain proper blood sugar control.
Central Nervous System
Common nutrients that people develop a deficiency towards when chronically abusing alcohol are thiamine and Vitamin B1. When a person has a deficiency of these two nutrients, it can cause that person to develop Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. Symptoms of Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome include confusion, poor coordination, learning issues, and trouble remembering things.
When a person develops liver disease due to alcohol abuse, it can, in turn, harm the brain. As a result, chronic alcohol abuse can cause a person to develop sleep issues, changes in mood and personality, depression, anxiety, impaired concentration, and incoordination. It may even be hard to develop new brain cells after chronic alcohol abuse.
Cardiovascular Health System
While consuming a small amount of red wine a day can be good for the heart, chronic alcohol abuse isn’t. This is because chronic alcohol abuse can cause a person to develop high blood pressure, an irregular heartbeat, and trouble with pumping blood throughout the body.
A person’s heart having trouble pumping blood throughout the body can cause a person to develop blood clots, stroke, a sagging or stretched out heart muscle known as cardiomyopathy, or a heart attack. Chronic alcohol abuse can also cause a person to develop anemia.
Reproductive Health System
When you consume too much alcohol, it can cause your body to develop reproductive health issues. These reproductive health issues include erectile dysfunction or irregular menstruation. In fact, heavy long-term drinking can cause reduced fertility altogether.
A woman that drinks during her pregnancy is more likely to develop a miscarriage, stillbirth, or a child with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) than one that doesn’t drink during pregnancy.
The liver is one of the bodily organs that alcohol abuse affects the most. This is because the liver is responsible for metabolizing any alcohol that enters the body. Therefore, when a person chronically abuses alcohol, it can cause that person’s liver to become inflamed and scarred. Other negative health conditions that alcohol abuse can cause the liver include fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis, fibrosis, cirrhosis, liver disease, and liver cancer.
When you’re always abusing alcohol, you make it likely that you’ll develop a calcium imbalance in the body. You also make it likely that you’ll disrupt the body’s production of vitamin D. Because calcium is an important nutrient to consume to strengthen your bones and the body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium, chronic alcohol abuse can help cause osteoporosis.
When a person abuses alcohol, he or she prompts the pancreas to produce harmful substances. This, in turn, can cause the pancreas to inflame, which would cause the person to develop digestive issues. When a pancreas becomes inflamed, it means that you have pancreatitis.
Effects of Alcohol Abuse on the Brain
A short-term effect of alcohol abuse on the brain is ethanol reducing the communication amongst brain cells. As a result, many people start to loosen up their inhibitions when they begin drinking. This leads to people saying whatever thoughts pop up in their minds that they would’ve normally repressed. This once again goes to show that drunk words are sober thoughts.
When people consume large amounts of alcohol, they can cause their brains to experience a temporary blackout, and thus experience temporary memory loss, or temporary amnesia. When you chronically abuse alcohol long-term, you can permanently impair your brain’s function in certain ways. For example, chronic, long-term alcohol abuse can cause your brain to shrink or develop dementia.
Long-term, chronic alcohol abuse can also cause the brain to go into alcohol-induced psychiatric syndromes. Examples of alcohol-induced psychiatric syndromes include alcohol-induced depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, sleep disorder, etc. Because many mental health disorders are linked to alcoholism in the first place, alcohol abuse can increase the symptoms of an already occurring mental illness and vice versa.
Drunk Words Are Sober Thoughts… or Are They?
Now that you know all the short and long-term effects that alcohol use can have on the brain and body, it’s time to answer the questions at hand. Are drunk words sober thoughts? Is alcohol a truth serum?
Well, if you look back, one of the consistent effects of alcohol use, whether social or chronic, is a loss of inhibitions. Inhibitions are the awareness of others around you to the point where you cannot think, act, or express feelings in a fully natural and truthful way. Therefore, the loss of inhibitions as a top symptom of alcohol use means that people that get drunk off of alcohol are likely expressing their natural and truthful thoughts that they normally wouldn’t express around others if they had their inhibitions. In other words, drunk words are sober thoughts and alcohol is a truth serum.
One argument that you can still make against the idea that drunk words are sober thoughts though is that alcohol abuse, especially when chronic and causing addiction, makes chemical changes to a person’s brain’s chemistry. This, in turn, leads to alterations in the brain that changes your behavior. Therefore, people that are suffering from alcohol addiction may not be their true selves until they become clean and sober and receive treatment.
Therefore, even though drunk words are sober thoughts when it comes to people that socially drink or suffer from mild drinking problems, when it comes to people with alcohol addictions, you shouldn’t assume that their drunken words are sober thoughts.
Coastal Detox Has Everything That You Need
At Coastal Detox, we know how difficult it is to manage the effects of alcoholism. That’s why we provide alcohol detox and addiction treatment services that can help you get clean and sober. That way you won’t have to worry about saying anything that you wouldn’t normally say due to your loss of inhibitions.
Coastal Detox also provides detox and addiction treatment services for a wide variety of drugs, including heroin, crack, cocaine, meth, and prescription drugs. We even combine holistic therapy with all of our medication-assisted treatments. That way our detox and addiction treatment services are both safe and relaxing.