Though not everybody uses alcohol and caffeine, these two chemicals have become a staple of many, many lifestyles throughout the world. While the sources for both are numerous, the most common combination, tea or coffee during the day and alcohol in the evening. Caffeine and alcohol are so pervasive that it’s natural to wonder what effects these chemicals might be having on our bodies in the long and short term.
Caffeine’s Long and Short Term Effects
Caffeine is a drug that can be found in many kinds of foods, from chocolate to coffee. If you’ve ever had a coffee or tea in the morning to wake up, you know the short-term effects of caffeine already: as a central nervous stimulant, caffeine’s immediate effect is to make you feel more alert. It also causes our heart rate to increase and dilates our blood vessels, which helps promote a feeling of elation and productivity.
With prolonged use, caffeine can cause difficulty sleeping and increased rates of anxiety. Excessive amounts of caffeine ingested repeatedly over a long period of time have been known to increase rates of depression and increase the likelihood of developing gastrointestinal issues like diarrhea and an upset stomach.
Alcohol’s Long and Short Term Effects
In many ways, alcohol is the opposite of caffeine. As a depressant, it slows down many of the same systems that caffeine speeds up. For instance, alcohol reduces the speed of brain function, which causes well-known feelings of lowered inhibitions and reduced overall tension. The combination of side effects can make users feel more sociable and talkative while simultaneously reducing their ability to make sound judgments. Anything that requires attentiveness, precision or mechanical dexterity becomes much more difficult.
Like caffeine, long-term alcohol use is less of a concern when the amounts of alcohol ingested are small or moderate. Long-term use of alcohol in larger doses can be extremely detrimental to your health, causing lasting damage to your heart and circulatory system, your brain and nervous system, and your liver.
If you are concerned that you might be drinking too much alcohol, contact a medical professional for what you can do to get back on a path to wellness.
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