Long Term Effects of Alcohol

The health risks associated with continual heavy drinking of alcohol are many. While most people who drink alcohol label themselves “social drinkers” because they only consume drinks on special occasions or once or twice a week, they are not exempt from developing long-term health issues related to drinking alcohol. The majority of people who drink alcohol try to ignore the effects that alcohol consumption places on the body, but the facts should not be ignored: Researchers have related alcohol consumption to as many as 60 diseases. Also, heavy drinking impairs a person’s judgment even when that person is not drinking alcohol, increasing the risk of DUI related car accidents and “on-the-job” accidents. If you drink alcohol, it is probable that you have experienced some short-term health effects, such as a “hangover,” vomiting, or a restless sleep after a night of drinking. However, it is the long term health effects of alcohol that most people ignore because the damage often surface years later.

Common long term health issues that develop from consuming too much alcohol:

  • Alcohol Poisoning
  • Cirrhosis
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Depression
  • Anemia
  • Impotence in Men/Infertility in Women
  • Pancreatitis
  • Increased Risk for Cancer
  • Low Immune System
  • Diabetes
  • Alcohol-Related Birth Defects
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Brain Damage
  • Nerve Damage
  • Gastritis

How Much Alcohol is too Much?

While most people who drink alcohol on a regular basis do not want to admit they may be consuming too much alcohol, the fact is that they are addicted to alcohol and need to seek treatment immediately. For adults, “at-risk” or heavy drinking is measured as consuming multiple drinks every day. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) reports that men who consume 4 drinks a day (or 14 drinks a week) are considered heavy drinkers, and women who drink 3 drinks a day (or 7 drinks a week) are considered heavy drinkers. Men and women who exceed these amounts are dependant on alcohol and often exhibit uncontrollable behavior resulting from their addiction.

Myths about Alcohol Consumption

Debunking many of the social myths about drinking alcohol can help people who abuse alcohol limit their drinking and seek professional help before their health erodes:

Consuming a few alcoholic drinks helps a person forget their problems:

Alcohol is a depressant, and drinking too much actually causes you to focus on your issues rather than forget them. Many times exhibiting irrational behavior or making bad decisions is the result of trying to forget your problems or solve your problems by drinking.

Drinking a lot of water helps equalize the amount of alcohol consumed.

While drinking water may reduce the chance of you getting a hangover, drinking a lot of water will not prevent you from developing one of the alcohol related health problems. Continual drinking forces your body and its organs to work extra hard to remain healthy and hydrated.

Sleep will help the alcohol high wear off.

Sleep has no bearing on how your body metabolizes alcohol. It takes the liver one hour to break-down one unit of alcohol. One pint of beer or one glass of wine contains 3 units of alcohol.

Seeking Help

If you suspect that you or someone you love may have developed a serious health issue resulting from alcohol abuse, contact our alcohol addiction hotline 800.447.9081. A qualified treatment consultant is available 27/4.

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