It is easy to visualize gravitational potential energy as a function of the position of height, and a change in this potential is manifested in a change in height. Further, by the work-energy theorem any change in potential energy results in work done, which results in a corresponding change in kinetic energy.
In an electric circuit, the potential energy difference is provided by the battery. Yet it is not easy to see how a voltage drops manifests itself. When energy is lost (let's say by going through a resistor), what physically happens to the electrons.
In the case of gravitation potential energy it is easy to see that the height of the object changes. For an electron the only way I can see would have to do with its energy level. Also, by the work-KE theorem doesn't this also mean that the kinetic energy of the electron would have to change? Yet this is clearly untrue for the current before and after (assuming a simple series circuit) is the same so the drift velocity cannot have changed.
(And before this is marked as a duplicate of this question I already looked into every answer there and none of them answer my question — they merely restate the definitions of potential, voltage, and ohms law or provide an analogy to water level. In the case of a resistor I already know that the reason for energy loss can be considered at a superficial level to be due to collisions — I am instead asking for an explanation of how this loss of energy manifests itself in the electric field or electrons themselves, perhaps via a change in occupied orbital or something similar.)