Resources for parents of at-risk and troubled teens.



January 2010

Health effects of excessive drinking

by Staff, on abuse, alcohol, brain, cancer, damage, effects, excessive, excessive consumption alcohol, excessive drinking, health, health effects, heart, inflammation, lung, stomach

Excessive drinking has short term and long term effects. Alcoholism is a real disease, but it has cures. You should know your limit because excessive drinking is not only harmful to you, but also to other people.

So, what health problems are associated with excessive alcohol use? Excessive drinking causes brain damage and other mental health problems over time. These mental problems include alcohol dependence where your body cannot perform properly unless you have taken alcohol, blackouts, memory loss, anxiety, and alcoholism. Alcohol abuse is especially dangerous in young people because their brains are still developing. Alcohol abuse causes reduced capacity to learn and it affects behavior.

Excessive consumption of alcohol is the second biggest cause of mouth cancer and throat cancer, after smoking. Excessive consumption of alcohol also causes cirrhosis of the liver which leads to liver cancer. Alcohol abuse reduces the body’s immune and therefore exposes the body to other cancers.

Excessive consumption of alcohol causes hypertension or high blood pressure, and this increase your risk of getting a stroke or a heart attack. Excessive alcohol also weakens the heart muscles and this affects the lungs, the liver, the brain, and other body systems – this can result in heart failure. Excessive consumption of alcohol is also associated with irregular heartbeat or arrhythmia – this can cause sudden death.

Excessive consumption of alcohol leads to lung infection. This is dangerous because this increases the risk of lung collapse and pneumonia. Abuse of alcohol can also results in chocking when you vomit and the vomit is sucked into the lungs – this happens when you are unconscious.

Abuse of alcohol leads to fat deposits in the liver over some years. This can lead to the inflammation of the liver and it can cause liver failure or even death. The effects to the liver are permanent. Note that the effects of alcohol to the liver, and to most of the other organs, are particularly severe in women compared to men.

Excessive consumption of alcohol can cause stomach ulcers and internal bleeding in the stomach. There is also a risk of stomach inflammation or gastritis and this prevents nutrients and vitamins from being absorbed in the small intestines. Continued excessive drinking can cause stomach cancer and colon cancer.

In men, excessive drinking lowers sex drive and causes impotence. In women, excessive drinking causes low sex drive and infertility. When pregnant women abuse alcohol, it causes serous damage to the unborn baby’s development.

Other health effects of alcohol abuse are chronic kidney disease, inflammation of the pancreas, personality disorders and schizophrenia, and osteoporosis or weakening and thinning of the bones due to inability of the bones to absorb calcium.

Other than health effects, abuse of alcohol makes you susceptible to crimes such as rape and domestic violence, it damages relationships, it causes bad skin due to the widening of blood vessels and dehydration of the body and skin, it causes weight gain since alcohol is very high in calories, it has financial consequences, it leads to loss of job, it leads to road accidents, and it leads to suicidal tendencies. Check out, the effects on children and adolescents of parents' excessive drinking. Staff