Effects of Alcohol Abuse

The following section describes the effects and potential consequences of alcohol and other drug use.

Alcohol is a depressant drug that slows the nervous system.

Physical Effects Include:

  • increased heart rate
  • loss of muscle control, leading to slurred speech and poor coordination
  • hangover, fatigue, nausea, headache
  • blackouts (memory loss)
  • unconsciousness

Mental Effects Include:

  • impaired judgment (of space and time)
  • poor concentration, impaired thinking and reasoning processes
  • loss of inhibitions, and exaggerated feelings of anger, fear, anxiety

Potential Consequences Include:

  • alcoholism
  • damage to brain cells
  • blackouts (memory loss)
  • poor concentration
  • death (as a result of accidents or alcohol poisoning)

Special Problems Associated with Alcohol Abuse Include:

  • social conflicts
  • accidents and injuries
  • vandalism
  • sexual assault and violence
  • increased risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV
  • drinking and driving

Drinking and driving kills or seriously injures thousands of drivers and pedestrians each year, most of them young people. Even small amounts of alcohol can be deadly when mixed with driving.

Trouble with the law, such as vandalism, violence, or serious crime - can result from the impaired judgment of alcohol abuse. The consequences can include arrest, a police record, and possibly a prison sentence for offenders, as well as suspension or termination from the College.

Family problems can cause or be compounded by alcohol abuse. There are 28 million people who have grown up in families with alcohol related problems, with approximately 12-15 percent of college students with this background. There is increased vulnerability without intervention that results in four times greater risk in becoming alcoholic.