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  • Writer's pictureDahlia Foundation

Health Complications From Alcohol Abuse

Updated: Nov 2, 2023

Drinking too much – on a single occasion or long-term – can take a serious toll on your health. Some effects of alcohol may have a minor effect on your health, while others can be severe or life-threatening.

Short-term effects of alcohol abuse can be just as dangerous as long-term effects. For instance, drinking can impact your reaction time, causing you to have slow reflexes and coordination. That’s why drinking and driving is extremely dangerous. Getting behind the wheel of a car can alter your perception of speed and distance, putting yourself and others at risk.

Several short-term effects of alcohol abuse may produce:

  • Slow reaction time

  • Poor reflexes

  • Reduce brain activity

  • Lowered inhibitions

  • Blurry vision

  • Difficulty breathing

  • Restlessness

Additionally, consuming too much alcohol can affect your long-term health. Some side effects may lay dormant for years before they surface. Because of this, professional medical care is required for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Here are some of the long-term health conditions caused by alcohol:

  • Brain defects

  • Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome ( a neurobiological disease)

  • Liver disease

  • Diabetes complications

  • Heart problems

  • Increased risk of cancer

  • Vision damage

  • Bone loss

In 2013, 45.8% of liver disease deaths among Americans ages 12 and older involved alcohol. Alcohol abuse increases the risk of developing cancers of the mouth, esophagus, liver and breast. Excessive drinking negatively impacts heart health. Heart disease is currently one of the leading causes of death for alcoholics. An estimated 88,000 people die each year from alcohol-related causes. It is the fourth leading preventable cause of death in America. Alcohol abuse is treatable. An increasing number of rehab facilities are specializing in alcohol addiction programs and therapies.

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