Long-term drinking of alcohol can have disastrous effects on the human body.
Some of the effects of alcohol consumption are acute, while other are short term and still others take many
years of heavy drinking to evolve.
For many individuals having an occasional drink is enjoyment and does not lead to any serious harmful
effects on the body.
Moderate use of alcohol is considered to be one drink per day for females and seniors and up to two drinks a
day for males.
What is considered to be a standard amount of alcohol is a one 12-ounce bottle of beer or a wine cooler, a
one 5-ounce glass of wine or when it comes to distilled spirits, 1.5 ounces of 80 proof.
The health consequences of misusing alcohol are many and they are often serious and far-reaching.
In the most serious of cases the misuse can become life threatening and if left unchecked, can lead to
Those who are heavy drinkers are more prone to certain types of cancer, in particular those that develop in
the throat, the larynx (or voice box), the liver and the esophagus.
Heavy drinkers are prone to develop cirrhosis of the liver, which is often fatal.
Brain damage can occur as a result of alcoholism as can high blood pressure, an increased chance of a heart
attack or stroke and problems with the functioning of the immune system.
Women who consume alcohol during their pregnancies increase their chances of doing harm to their developing
Babies born to women who drink during their pregnancies fall victims to Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and are
commonly born with organ abnormalities, forms of mental retardation, hyperactivity and a variety of behavioral
and learning related problems.
It is highly recommended that pregnant women avoid alcohol even in small quantities during their
pregnancies. Nursing mothers should also do the same.
The cognitive abilities of the brain are affected by alcohol consumption as is attention span, coordination and
the ability to sleep properly. These are all acute effects of alcohol consumption.
Alcohol also negatively impairs memory and concentration. On a long-term basis, brain cells die off as a result
of heavy alcohol consumption as do the cells of the brain that provide the rest of the body with adequate nutrients
Did You Know
Alcoholism is a progressive and potentially fatal disease. Alcoholism itself is not
curable but it is possible to recover completely. Recovering from alcohol is to abstain from all
forms of alcoholic beverages and medications that contain alcohol such as cough medicines.
Alcoholism is considered a chronic illness. As with any chronic illness, it affects
entire families. As a result, the recovery process also affects the entire family and network of
friends of the alcoholic. The good news is that these people can serve as a good support network to
enable the alcoholic to abstain from drinking alcohol. The same way a family would support a
chronically ill person is how the alcoholic should be treated because alcoholism is chronic.
Anyone who is an alcoholic will be an alcoholic for the rest of his or her
lives. Even though there is no cure for alcoholism,
there is hope for the alcoholic. That is where
recovery comes in - the abstinence from all alcohol on the
part of the addicted person. This is where the
control part of the disease comes into play. It is
important to be able to control the desire to have alcohol and to choose not to drink
Unfortunately, the sheer nature of being an alcoholic is defined by the lack of an
ability to control ones drinking. In order to enter
the recovery phase and thus control the disease itself, the alcoholic must come to the place where
he or she is able and willing to take control and stop reaching for alcohol.
Research has shown that the alcoholic cannot willfully control his
drinking and therefore should be abstinent. The alcoholic has to accept responsibility for
his addiction and recovery.
Heavy consumption of alcohol over time weakens the work of the immune system making it more difficult
for diseases, infections and other illnesses to be fought.
On a short-term basis this means that a person who misuses alcohol will be more susceptible to head
colds and other respiratory related infections.
In order to help the loved one work through their alcohol addiction, the family members must
accept that they did not cause the alcoholism, they cannot cure the alcoholism, and they cannot
control the alcoholism.
Change your environment. If your work or social life constantly put you in a situation where
you are tempted by alcohol it is strongly reccommended that you remove yourself from that
The typical example being an alcoholic working in a bar. Change jobs or you may even want to
The misuse of alcohol long-term can lead to gastric ulcers and duodenal ulcers as well as cancers of the
lips, esophagus, throat, larynx, liver and stomach.
On a short-term basis alcohol wrecks havoc on the gastrointestinal system because it serves to block the
absorption of the nutrients the body requires for proper functioning.
This absorption blockage can lead to malnutrition among people who are addicted to alcohol. Cirrhosis of the
liver and pancreatic cancer are two other very often fatal long-term effects of alcohol abuse.