Health Consequences

Heavy alcohol use is linked to short and long term consequences to one’s health. According to the Center for Disease Control [1], motor and cognitive impairment from intoxication can cause short-term effects such as:

  • Injuries from accidents such as motor vehicle crashes, falls, drownings, and burns
  • Violence, including homicide, suicide, sexual assault and intimate partner violence
  • Alcohol poisoning
  • Risky sexual behavior leading to higher rates of sexually transmitted infections
  • Miscarriage, stillbirth, or fetal alcohol spectrum disorders among pregnant women

Over time, excessive use of alcohol can lead to the development of chronic diseases and other serious problems that can significantly reduce quality of life and ultimately lead to death.

Significant health consequences from long-term heavy alcohol use include:

  • Alcoholic Liver Disease: cirrhosis of the liver, fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis
  • Alcoholic neuropathy
  • Anemia
  • Brain damage leading to learning, memory, and motor problems and dementia
  • Cancer of the mouth, breast, throat, esophagus, liver, and colon
  • Cardiovascular disease such as high blood pressure, cardiomyopathy, stroke, and heart attack
  • Digestive problems
  • Gout
  • Mental health problems including depression and anxiety
  • Pancreatitis
  • Seizures
  • Social problems such as damaged relationships, lost productivity, family problems, and unemployment
  • Suppressed immune response

Center For Disease Control Alcohol Fact Sheet>

WebMD: 12 Health Risks of Chronic Heavy Drinking>

NIAAA: Alcohol’s Effects on the Body>

American Liver Foundation: Alcohol-Related Liver Disease>