VETERANS: The Bluffs is proud to offer a specialized Veterans Treatment Program. Call (850) 374-5331

5 Health Risks Of Heavy Drinking

health risks of heavy drinking The Bluffs Addiction Campuses
Live Out Your Best Future

Take the first step toward addiction treatment by contacting us today.

Excessive drinking is a far-reaching problem that includes a number of health risks. Take a look at five health risks associated with heavy drinking:

1. Alcoholic Liver Disease

When someone consumes alcohol, the liver is the main organ that metabolizes it. This puts the liver at high risk for damage. Many people who suffer from chronic, heavy drinking also suffer from alcoholic liver disease. First, excessive drinking changes the way the liver metabolizes fats. This allows excess fat to accumulate in the liver, causing a condition called alcoholic fatty liver disease. This is reversible if caught early. Alcohol use also causes alcoholic hepatitis, which is inflammation of the liver. This inflammation can cause scar tissue to develop. If this is left untreated, the scar tissue can turn hard and lead to cirrhosis of the liver, a potentially fatal disease.

2. Cancer

Many types of cancer are linked with excessive alcohol consumption, including:

  • liver cancer
  • stomach cancer
  • esophageal cancer
  • larynx cancer
  • mouth cancer
  • colo-rectal cancer
  • breast cancer

[inline_cta_one] Alcohol and acetaldehyde in alcoholic drinks are responsible for this increased risk.

3. Digestive System Problems

Heavy drinking can disrupt the digestive system, causing problems with acid reflux, stomach ulcers, and gastritis, which is painful inflammation of the stomach lining. Alcohol interferes with the normal production of stomach acid and can delay the stomach or bowels from emptying. Ulcers from alcohol consumption, when paired with the effects of chronic liver disease, are quite dangerous and may cause internal bleeding.

4. Damage To The Brain

Alcohol has a near-immediate impact on the brain, causing blurred vision and problems with memory. It slows reaction time and limits an individual’s normal reflexes. These typical signs of intoxication occur because alcohol interferes with neurotransmitters and receptors in the brain. In other words, drinking alcohol affects the brain’s underlying chemistry. Alcohol also depresses the central nervous system. Although intoxication is a short-term condition, repeated exposure to alcohol can create long-term damage to the brain. For people under the age of 24 who still have developing brains, heavy alcohol use can stunt development. In older adults, excessive alcohol consumption speeds up the aging process in the brain, which can lead to premature problems with dementia.

5. Cardiovascular Disease And Stroke

People who drink heavily are at risk for high blood pressure because alcohol causes the body to release hormones that constrict blood vessels. Long-term use of alcohol can increase blood pressure for an extended period, leading to heart problems like angina and heart failure. Similarly, people who drink heavily have a high risk for stroke, especially after a period of binge drinking. Binge drinking causes blood pressure to fluctuate while also triggering more platelet activity, increasing the risk for stroke.

The Impact Of Drinking Varies From Person To Person

Everyone who drinks excessively is at risk for health problems, but each individual will react to alcohol differently based on their body chemistry, size, and overall health. Genetic factors and gender can also impact how much alcohol affects an individual. Even though the effects may vary, many studies have found that alcohol causes negative health outcomes, and the NIH warns it is one of the leading preventable causes of death.

Facts About Heavy Drinking

Heavy drinking has several serious consequences. Take some time to understand some important facts about alcohol use disorder:

  • The CDC estimates alcohol use to be the fourth leading preventable cause of death in the United States.
  • Women who drink eight or more drinks a week and men who drink 15 or more a week are considered heavy drinkers.
  • One out of every six adults admits to binge drinking four times a month, and this behavior affects people ages 18 to 34 most frequently.
  • Men are twice as likely to participate in binge drinking than women.

Treating Alcohol Use Disorder

Because alcohol use takes a significant toll on the body, getting help is critical to preserving your health and life. If you or someone you love is struggling with alcohol use, professional treatment, such as alcohol rehabilitation, is the best way to break free from the constant pull of alcohol. At The Bluffs, we understand the dangers of alcohol use and the challenges of dependency. When people are ready to make a change, we offer a free, confidential consultation to help determine the right course of action. Reach out today to take the first step towards a life free of heavy drinking.

The Bluffs is a private alcohol, substance abuse and mental health treatment facility located in central Ohio.

The central Ohio location means we are also just a short drive (or even shorter flight) from Pittsburgh and other parts of Pennsylvania, New York, West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana and Michigan.

We offer alcohol and drug detox services, dual-diagnosis addiction treatment, medication-assisted treatment (MAT) and more.

Our goal is always to minimize the out-of-pocket costs for patients coming to The Bluffs. We work with many major health insurance plans and providers such as America’s Choice Provider Network, Anthem, Beacon Health Options, BlueCross BlueShield, First Health Network, Humana, Magellan Health, Medical Mutual of Ohio, Mercy Health, OhioHealth, Prime Healthcare, UPMC Health Plan, and the Ohio Department of Veteran Services

Contact The Bluffs Now

Recent Posts

 The Bluffs Addiction Campuses
Prescription Drugs

Is Vyvanse Addictive?

Vyvanse, a prescription medication used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and binge eating disorder, has gained significant popularity in recent years. However, many

Read More »
promethazine cough syrup The Bluffs Addiction Campuses
Prescription Drugs

Does Promethazine Get You High?

Promethazine is a prescription medication commonly used to treat allergies, motion sickness, nausea, vomiting, anxiety before surgery, and post-operative pain management. It’s a useful and

Read More »
Addiction is a powerful force that can wreak havoc on even the most stable relationships The Bluffs Addiction Campuses
Resources for Loved Ones

Healthy Relationships In Recovery

Addiction is a powerful force that can wreak havoc on even the most stable relationships. As individuals grapple with substance abuse, the ripple effects extend

Read More »