People often drink alcohol when socialising in society. However, it's easy to forget the harmful effects of excessive drinking on our bodies. When alcohol is continuously drunk without moderation or control, compulsive behaviours and binge drinking can easily occur.
Alcohol has a significant influence on both our mental and physical well-being, no matter how young or old. At OYNB, we aim to help people take back control of their lives by overcoming alcohol addiction.
In this blog, we’ll explore 22 ways in which substance abuse, like alcohol, can affect your body negatively. We’ll build your awareness of how drinking alcohol can have health risks over a short and long period of time to help you protect your future self. Let’s jump right into it.
Fact 1: A Damaged Liver
Drinking an excessive amount of alcohol takes a toll on the liver, leading to issues like fatty liver, hepatitis, and cirrhosis. Hindering the liver's crucial role in detoxifying the blood can lead to complications such as increased brain pressure and bleeding.
While medical intervention might reverse some liver damage, continued alcohol consumption reduces the chances of recovery.
Listen to your body and seek medical help if you begin to experience jaundice (yellow eyes and skin), swelling and pain in the abdominal area, and swollen ankles and legs, as these are common signs of liver disease.
Fact 2: Pancreatitis: A Declining Pancreas
The pancreas, important for digestion, can become inflamed from excessive alcohol consumption, which leads to pancreatitis. This painful condition underscores the far-reaching consequences of alcohol on the digestive system.
Fact 3: Decrease In Heart Performance
Long-term alcohol use can have an extremely harsh impact on the cardiovascular system. High blood pressure, cardiomyopathy, and an increased risk of heart attack are just a few of the cardiovascular issues associated with long-term alcohol abuse.
Fact 4: Weakened Immune System
A robust immune system is our first line of defence against infections. Chronic alcohol use, however, weakens this defence mechanism, making the body more susceptible to a range of illnesses. Without this shield, your body can become an invitation to infections, which can last longer and be more severe than usual.
Fact 5: Increased Risk Of Cancer
The link between alcohol and cancer is undeniable. From the liver to the breast and oesophagus to the mouth, the risk of developing various cancers escalates with sustained and excessive alcohol consumption.
Fact 6: Unreversible Damage To The Brain
Alcohol affects vital organs in the body that we need for optimal function, like the brain. Conditions such as dementia and Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome highlight the potential for long-term brain damage associated with heavy drinking or persistent alcohol consumption.
Fact 7: Neurological Issues (Numbness, Tingling, and Weakness)
Chronic alcohol use can result in neuropathy, a condition that manifests as numbness, tingling, and weakness in the extremities. This neurological toll further underscores the impact that alcohol has on the body.
Fact 8: Increased Chances Of Digestive Problems
Irritating the digestive tract, alcohol paves the way for issues such as gastritis, ulcers, and acid reflux. These digestive problems add to the cumulative toll on the body's overall well-being and can have a leading effect on other illnesses, such as liver disease, cardiovascular disorders, and compromised immune function.
Fact 9: High Risk Of Malnutrition
Heavy drinkers often experience nutritional deficiencies from a poor diet and impaired nutrient absorption. The vicious cycle of malnutrition worsens the physical impacts of excessive alcohol consumption and can lead to other complications like muscle weakness, bone health issues, cardiovascular problems or a weakened immune system.
Fact 10: Increased Dehydration
One of the short-term effects of alcohol consumption is an increase in the production of urine. This often leads to dehydration as your body quickly loses its liquid.
While people commonly overlook this, the consequences underscore the importance of ensuring adequate hydration, especially after a night of heavy drinking.
Dehydration causes your blood to thicken, which can make you more susceptible to a stroke if you already have narrow or obstructed blood vessels.
Fact 11: Weight Gain Through Liquid Calories
There can be a lot of calories and sugar included in alcoholic beverages. Without monitoring consumption, this can lead to weight gain. Not only does this affect the physical state of your body, but it also affects your health.
Fact 12: Increased Sleep Disturbances
While alcohol may initially induce sleep, it disrupts the sleep cycle, contributing to poor sleep quality. Sleep is vital to the body as it allows it to repair and rest. Understanding this relationship helps those seeking improved sleep and overall well-being.
Fact 13: Likelihood Of Mental Health Issues
The relationship between alcohol and mental health is intricate. Beyond its immediate effects, alcohol contributes to long-term mental health disorders, including depression and anxiety.
Fact 14: Increased Injuries From Declining Body Coordination
Impaired coordination and judgement from alcohol significantly increase the risk of accidents and injuries. Acknowledging this risk is essential for personal safety and the safety of others.
Fact 15: Alcohol Can Be Severely Addictive
Chronic alcohol use can lead to dependence and addiction, creating a barrier to regaining control of one's life. Recognising the signs and seeking support are important steps towards breaking free from the chains of addiction.
Fact 16: Likelihood Of Hindering The Development Of Unborn Babies
Pregnant women who consume alcohol risk harming the developing foetus, leading to Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). This irreversible condition highlights the importance of making informed choices during pregnancy.
Fact 17: Impaired Sexual Function
Long-term alcohol use can lead to sexual dysfunction and reproductive issues. This can cause issues with intimacy during relationships and negatively affect physical desires and love lives.
Fact 18: Weakened Bone Health
Alcohol's interference with bone health increases the risk of fractures and osteoporosis. A person who does not drink alcohol is less likely to sustain injuries compared to someone who drinks alcohol regularly. This hidden consequence highlights the need to be careful with your body.
Fact 19: Increased Skin Issues That Go Beyond Cosmetic Concerns
Alcohol can cause skin problems, including redness, flushing, and an increased risk of skin infections. Not only does this become noticeable to those around you, but it can cause you to feel negative about yourself, causing mental health issues.
Fact 20: Significantly Reduced Vision
Alcohol's effects on vision and coordination contribute to an increased risk of accidents and falls. This aspect of alcohol's impact emphasises the importance of responsible drinking for personal safety. Reduced vision can become a problem when driving or noticing dangerous situations.
Fact 21: Reduced Muscle Strength
Chronic alcohol use can lead to muscle atrophy and weakness. This can lead to increased muscle injuries and excessive body pain. This pain can make participating in ordinary activities more challenging.
Fact 22: Social and Legal Consequences
Excessive alcohol consumption often leads to social problems, strained relationships, and legal issues such as DUI (driving under the influence).
Understanding the bigger impact of excessive drinking is important for people wanting to regain control over their alcohol consumption and establish healthier and more profound relationships.
Regain Your Power And Let Us Help You Take Back The Control Over Your Life
The short and long-term effects of alcohol consumption can be detrimental to your physical body and mental health.
Understanding these hard facts about alcohol's impact on the body is the first step towards regaining your power and having control over your alcohol consumption.
At OYNB, we stand by those on their journey to take control over their lives by offering support, resources, and a community that understands the challenges and triumphs associated with this journey.
If you're looking to prioritise your health and well-being, we are here to help you every step of the way. Start today by booking a free discovery call, calling our compassionate team on 020 7305 7006 or emailing us at [email protected].
An entrepreneur and former senior oil broker, Ruari gave up drinking after excessive consumption almost cost him his marriage, and worse, his life. Going alcohol-free improved his relationships, career and energy levels, leading to him founding OYNB to provide a support network for others.