What Are the Long-Term Effects of Alcohol Abuse?

In many ways, alcohol is an accepted part of our country’s social fabric. From tailgate parties, work gatherings, and holiday parties to black-tie galas, alcohol is a major part of those functions. While many people can drink alcohol responsibly and have a great time, some may drink too much. While these people feel they can “handle their cups,” their excessive drinking can cause long-term effects, which can severely impact their health and their life.

In this article, the long-term effects of alcohol use will be discussed, as well as the health effects of alcohol abuse. If your drinking has become unmanageable, call Sequoia Recovery Centers today. We offer a wide variety of evidence-based programs and services that are personalized to meet your specific needs. We help give you the tools you need to break free from alcohol abuse so you can live a healthy and happy life. Call us today and learn more.

How Much is Too Much?

When we talk about the long-term effects of alcohol use, the discussion centers around the question of how much alcohol is considered too much. According to the CDC, excessive drinking includes binge drinking, heavy drinking, and any drinking by pregnant women or those under the age of 21. The most common type of excessive drinking is binge drinking which the CDC defines as the following:

  • For women, 4 or more drinks during a single occasion.
  • For men, 5 or more drinks during a single occasion.
  • For those who engage in heaving drinking consistently over a long period, that is defined as follows:
  • For women, 8 or more drinks per week
  • For men, 15 or more drinks per week

It is important to note that people who binge drink or engage in heavy drinking are not alcoholics or seen as alcohol dependent. Some individuals engage in what is known as gray area drinking, where they may drink to excess in short periods and then have significant periods where they don’t drink at all. No matter the pattern of drinking, the health effects of alcohol abuse create significant risks to chronic drinkers.

What Are the Long-Term Effects of Alcohol Abuse?

The long-term effects of alcohol abuse can be seen as a ticking time bomb. While myriad effects are visible to others, long-term effects of health abuse are not readily seen and are often detected when it is too late. The following are the common long-term effects of alcohol abuse seen in heavy drinkers:

Liver Damage

The liver is the main organ that flushes toxins, including alcohol, from the body. However, alcohol can kill liver cells and lead to scarring called cirrhosis. Long-term heavy use of alcohol can cause fatty liver and lead to liver disease.

Heart Disease

Long-term alcohol consumption increases the risk of blood clots and the formation of cholesterol in the body. Chronic alcohol use also makes it harder for the heart to pump blood and increases the risk of developing heart disease.

Brain and Nervous System Problems

Alcohol affects the brain’s communication pathways and makes it harder to think and speak, remember things, and make decisions. Heavy drinking also can cause mental health issues like depression and dementia.


There is a clear link between heavy alcohol use and many types of cancers. Common cancers associated with heavy alcohol use include liver cancer, breast cancer, and cancer of the esophagus.

Digestive Problems

Alcohol inflames the stomach lining, which causes heartburn and nausea. Long-term alcohol use increases the risk of developing ulcers and chronic stomach, esophagus, and gut inflammation. It can also make it harder for your intestines to digest essential nutrients like B12 and thiamine.

Overcome Alcoholism Today With Help From Sequoia Recovery Centers

The long-term effects of alcohol abuse can be life-threatening and must be taken seriously. If you or a loved one needs help with problem drinking, you must find immediate help. Sequoia Recovery Centers has built their reputation for offering clients a broad spectrum of extensively tested and effective evidence-based treatment programs. With an experienced and compassionate staff and multiple levels of care, Sequoia Recovery Centers will transform your life. Call our drug and alcohol detox center in Spokane today to learn more about how we can help you or a loved one overcome alcohol abuse.

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