Home / Health & Wellness Articles / Addiction / How Alcohol Affects the Body and MindHow Alcohol Affects the Body and MindClick to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) When taking a look at substance use disorders, including alcohol use disorders, it is important to know the facts. We know that alcohol addiction is harmful, but sometimes people don’t always know exactly why it’s so bad for us. Let’s look at some facts about how alcohol addiction negatively affects the mind and body.The mindAlcoholism is a result of an imbalance in the brain and is hard to get rid of. According to Alexis Charrys, Doctoral Psychology Intern for Centerstone, “alcohol causes the release of chemicals in two key reward brain centers, leading to feelings of pleasure and satisfaction. Alcohol can also make physical changes to your brain chemistry, adding to its addictive properties.”Because of these physical changes, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can overload the brain’s reward and pleasure centers, leading an individual to experience cravings and desire more. When one stops drinking, these reward centers are diminished and you may feel sad or hopeless, making you want the experience again. Alcohol also can also compromise impulse control and decision-making, making it easier to return to the substance.Individuals with alcohol addiction may experience a range of mental effects:Depression or anxietySpending significant amounts of time trying to obtain alcoholDesire to drink despite relationship issues caused by alcohol useBeing unable to fulfill obligations at work, home or schoolAvoiding enjoyable activities so you can drinkContinually needing higher amounts of alcohol over time to feel happyThe bodyBeyond the effects alcohol can have on your brain, it can also cause significant damage to several parts of your body.HeartStretching or drooping of the heart muscle (cardiomyopathy)Irregular heart beat (arrhythmias)StrokeHigh blood pressureLiverSteatosis, or fatty liverAlcoholic hepatitisFibrosis, or the formation of permanent scar tissueLiver diseasePancreasPancreatitis, inflammation and swelling of blood vessels that prevents proper digestionCancersHead and neck cancers, including in the mouth, throat and larynx (voice box)Esophageal cancerLiver cancerBreast cancerColorectal cancerModeration and recoveryIt is clear that long-term alcohol misuse can have devastating effects on your mind and body. This is why moderation is important. For those in recovery, however, it is not recommended that they engage in any level of alcohol use so as to not risk a return to addiction.If you or a loved one are struggling with alcohol addiction, Centerstone is here to help. Call us at 1-877-HOPE123 (877-467-3123) or visit centerstone.org/connect-with-us/ to get connected with care.