Kanagawa Travel on What happens when you drink The mind-bending effects of alcohol begin soon after it hits the bloodstream. Within minutes alcohol enters the brain, numbing nerve cells and slowing their messages to the body. In the heart, cardiac muscles strain to cope with alcohol’s depressive action, and the pulse quickens. If drinking continues, alcohol builds in the bloodstream, and the nerve centers in the brain governing speech, vision, balance, and judgment go haywire. As even more alcohol is ingested, the drinker may lose consciousness. With extremely high levels of alcohol in the blood, the inebriate is in danger of dying from respiratory failure. Alcoholism increases the risk of heart disease and cancer and liver failure. Kanagawa Travel 2016.