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
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,
Permanent damage to the brain
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
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.