Short-term Side Effects of Alcohol
Alcohol affects inviduals differently, including how much a person can drink safely and the short-term effects of drinking. For some people, a high blood alcohol level, i.e. the percentage of alcohol circulating in the blood stream, will be reached after drinking only a couple of standard alcoholic drinks.
The body’s reaction to alcohol is affected by a person’s age, weight, sex, body chemistry, fitness, use of medicines and other drugs, and whether they have food in their stomach, as well as other factors.
Data from the AIHW 2007 National Drug Strategy Household Survey Report show:
Some of the short-term side effects of using alcohol include:
- Reduced concentration
- Lack of co-ordination and slower reflexes
- Loss of inhibitions and more confidence
- Flushed appearance
- Blurred vision and slurred speech
- Intense moods, e.g. aggression, elation, depression
- Nausea and vomiting
- Injuries associated with falls, accidents, violence and intentional self harm
- Motor vehicle, bicycle and pedestrian accidents
- Alcohol poisoning, coma and death
- About one-third (34.6%) of people aged 14 years or older put themselves at risk or high risk of alcohol-related harm in the short-term on at least one drinking occasion during the previous 12 months prior to the survey
- Males aged 20-29 years (17.2%) were the most likely group to consume alcohol at risky or high risk levels for short-term harm at least weekly
- More than a quarter (26.3%) of 14-19 year olds put themselves at risk of alcohol-related harm in the short-term at least once a month during the 12 months prior to the survey. It was higher among females of this age (28.3%) than males (24.5%)
To reduce the side effects of alcohol, follow the Australian Alcohol Guidelines, avoid binge drinking and enjoy alcohol in moderation. For more information about the health risks of alcohol, click here.