Effects of Alcohol on the Body

alcohol effects on the body

Most people are aware that drinking can cause long-term health problems, including organ and tissue damage, mental health disorders and malnutrition. However, you may not have realized that alcohol use can increase your chances of receiving a diagnosis of a severe illness in the future.

Types of Cancer Associated With Alcohol Abuse

Frequent heavy drinking can endanger your physical health in various ways. For example, there is a proven link between alcohol abuse and the following types of cancer.

  • Liver: Alcohol use can cause liver damage like cirrhosis, but it can also make you more susceptible to developing liver cancer than teetotalers.
  • Esophagus: The risks of developing esophageal cancer increase correspondingly with alcohol use. Esophageal cancer is a highly aggressive form of the disease that is usually fatal – the five-year survival rate for all people who receive this diagnosis is approximately 5%.
  • Throat and mouth: Because alcohol affects the throat and mouth tissues, it’s more likely heavy drinkers will develop cancer in these areas than people who avoid drinking alcohol. If you also smoke, you are increasing these risks even further, since alcohol can make it easier for toxic chemicals from cigarettes to affect your cells.
  • Rectum and colon: Though men who routinely drink to excess are more vulnerable to developing colorectal cancer, women are at risk from heavy drinking too.
  • Breast: Women’s odds for receiving a breast cancer diagnosis increase in tandem with alcohol use, especially if you have a family history of this disease.

Other Health Problems Linked to Alcohol Use

If you choose to drink alcohol, you should understand that you are leaving yourself more vulnerable to many other mental and physical health concerns down the road. Here are some things to consider.

  • Alcohol can quickly permeate body cells, where it can damage your DNA and cause harmful mutations and damage.
  • Over time, alcohol impairs the body’s ability to absorb essential nutrients and vitamins from food. Many alcoholics are undernourished as a result, and can develop illnesses associated with poor nutrition.
  • Because alcohol is primarily empty calories, problem drinkers tend to be overweight. Obesity links to an array of health problems, including diabetes, heart disease and hypertension.
  • People who drink to manage the symptoms of underlying mental health conditions such as depression, PTSD, anxiety or bipolar disorder often find that their emotional well-being declines due to alcohol abuse.

Is It Time to Quit Drinking?

If you have admitted that you have a problematic relationship with alcohol, you may have already tried to quit before, only to realize that you can’t do it alone. Since addiction alters brain chemistry, you will need medically managed detox, followed by residential treatment and 12-step support, to overcome addiction and reclaim your health.

New Found Life has been helping save people’s lives since 1993. Our Long Beach rehab is an integral part of the Long Beach community. We provide effective, stigma-free addiction treatment services that addresses each client’s unique needs. Our admissions staff is here for you 24/7 when you are ready to talk to someone who can help.