Bakersfield College

Health and Wellness Staff

Drug and Alcohol Information

Bakersfield College's drug and alcohol policy can be found in Section 4F7D of the Kern Community College District Board Policy Manual and the Bakersfield College Student Code of Conduct.

Effects of Alcohol on the Body

Click on each section to learn the effects of alcohol on that part of the body.

Alcohol interferes with the body's ability to absorb calcium, resulting in weak, soft, brittle and thinner bones (osteoporosis).

Alcohol acts as a sedative on the Central Nervous System, depressing the nerve cells in the brain, dulling, altering and damaging their ability to respond. Large doses cause sleep, anesthesia, respiratory failure, coma and death.

Long term drinking may result in permanent brain damage, serious mental disorders and addiction to alcohol.

Steady drinking over many years leads to permanent changes in the brain. One of the permanent effects of alcohol on the brain is to reduce the amount of brain tissue and to increase the size of the ventricles instead. Another way in which alcoholic drinks affect the brain is through depriving it of food substances such as vitamins. This is because heavy drinkers often neglect their diet, which can lead to vitamin deficiencies. Thiamine, one of the 'B' vitamins is most commonly missing from the diet and can lead to serious mental disturbance.

Impaired visual ability, Altered sense of time and space, Impaired fine motor skills, Loss of pain perception, Unclear hearing, Slows reactions, Dulled smell and taste, Impaired sexual performance.

Alcohol diminishes the ability to distinguish between sounds and perceive their direction.

Alcohol can cause distorted vision and ability to adjust to lights. Pinpoint pupils and red eyes are common.

Alcohol can affect the heart by the vitamin deficiencies caused by a neglected diet. The pumping action of the heart is weakened and heart failure can result from this.

Alcohol causes irritation of the lining of the intestinal tract and colon. Chronic drinking may result in inflammation, ulcers and cancer of the intestines and colon. Nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, sweating and loss of appetite are common. Alcohol also impairs small intestine's ability to process nutrients and vitamins.

Some of the most serious effects on the body of drinking alcoholic drinks are caused by damage done to the liver by alcohol. If alcohol is frequently in the blood in large amounts, it causes the liver cells to die and prevents the liver from working efficiently. This disease is called Cirrhosis. In the case of a generally healthy person, if alcohol is taken infrequently or only in moderate amounts, any damaged liver tissue has time to repair itself.

Chronic heavy drinking may cause alcoholic hepatitis (inflammation and destruction of the liver cells) and then cirrhoses (irreversible lesions, scarring and destruction of liver cells). Impairs the liver's ability to remove yellow pigment and skin appears yellow (Jaundice). Liver damage causes fluid to build in extremities (Edema). Decreases production of blood-clotting factors; may cause uncontrolled bleeding. Liver accumulates fat which can cause liver failure, coma and death.

High amounts of alcohol may cause breathing to stop (alcohol poisoning), then death. Alcohol also lowers resistance to infection (pneumonia) from aspiration of food or fluids.

Alcohol can cause slurred speech, dull taste and smell, and reduce the desire to eat.

Alcohol causes muscles to become weaker and atrophy. Pain, spasms and tenderness are common symptoms.

The pancreas is a long, bumpy, soft, grayish-pink gland, most of which is located just behind the stomach. Alcohol presents significant risk of pancreatitis, a painful chronic inflammation of the pancreas.

Drinking during pregnancy significantly increases the chance of delivering a baby with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, small head, possible brain damage, abnormal facial features, poor muscle tone, speech and sleep disorders and retarded growth and development.

Your sex life can be harmed by drinking alcoholic drinks. Alcohol depresses nerve impulses. In men, it can depress those which cause erections. In women, heavy drinking during pregnancy can harm the fetus. The baby, when it is born, may be very small and could have reduced intelligence and facial deformities. This condition is called Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and babies born to mothers with an alcohol problem are at a high risk of suffering from this.

Sexual functioning can be impaired and deteriorate, resulting in impotence and infertility, sometimes irreversible. Females also have high risk of developing breast cancer.

Alcohol causes small blood vessels in the skin to widen, allowing more blood to flow close to the skin's surface. This produces a flushed skin color and a feeling of warmth.

Irritation of stomach lining, the peptic ulcers, inflammation, bleeding lesions and cancer.

Just one occasion when you drink heavily can irritate the stomach and cause sickness and pain. The steady drinking of alcohol can lead to the regular occurrence of these symptoms.

Alcohol can cause irritation and damage of lining of esophagus and may induce severe vomiting, hemorrhaging (esophageal varices), pain and difficulty swallowing. cancer.

Alcohol contains sugar and other carbohydrates and is a form of energy. Heavy drinking can cause a serious weight gain due to alcohol's high carbohydrate content.

Kern Community College District