Long-Term Effects of Drinking

In terms of the body, it is the liver

that is the most likely organ for

long-term damage as it is

responsible for breaking down

the ethanol in alcohol.

Frequent and excessive drinking

will overload the liver and lead to the development of a

fatty liver and usually to hepatitis and cirrhosis.

Another issue is skin damage - you can often tell

someone who is a heavy drinker because of their red

cheeks and nose due to broken capillaries. In addition,

there are physical signs - the "beer belly" from the

excess calories in beer, particularly.

Drinking too much too often will cause physical damage,

increase the risk of getting some diseases, and make

other diseases worse. Excessive drinking over time is

associated with:

Hepatitis and cirrhosis of the liver

Gastritis (inflammation of the stomach lining) or

pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas)

High blood pressure/Hypertension (which can lead to


Certain types of cancer, including mouth, oesophagus,

and throat

Permanent damage to the brain

Heart failure

Neurological problems such as epilepsy and peripheral

neuropathy (lack of feeling in the hands and feet)

Certain types of vitamin deficiency leading to malnutrition

Emotional Long-Term Effects of Alcohol

We also know about the emotional long-term effects; the

primary effect is the likelihood of alcohol addiction or


Using alcohol as a drug to change your

mood, making you feel, in the short term, good about

yourself will lead in the long term to an addiction. This is

because it becomes your strategy; you are

psychologically reliant on alcohol to feel good.

Over the long-term, it becomes a habit to drink and

therefore the body and mind expects it. It can also signify

boredom because over a long period you have the same

behaviours; variety is often needed for enjoyment and

excitement in life, a task which alcohol can no longer do

for you.

The other issue is hopelessness which can lead to

feelings of helplessness and suicidal thoughts. You come

to believe that you cannot help yourself or anyone else.

Only alcohol can do this for you; you believe that you can

never change your destructive alcohol addiction.

Denial of the problem can lead to both guilt and shame

and make it harder to admit you have a problem,

especially because the problem has gotten worse over


So, the earlier you can deal with any issues with alcohol

the better - for you both emotionally and physically.