Prolonged heavy drinking and binge drinking have a variety of adverse effects on the body. Alcohol is toxic to the body’s cells when consumed in amounts other than those recommended.
Chronic Liver Disease
Alcohol is the most common cause of chronic liver disease in the UK. Alcohol-related liver disease includes fatty liver, hepatitis and cirrhosis. Cirrhosis which is an irreversible form of liver disease occurs in 15 to 30% of heavy drinkers. Women in particular are more at risk of liver disease and are likely to develop complications at an earlier stage than men. Liver disease and cirrhosis of the liver are also increasingly prevalent in younger age groups. More.
Men and women may experience fertility problems. Alcohol is toxic to sperm and heavy drinking reduces sperm count and quality. Women trying to conceive should also avoid alcohol.
Many cancers are directly related to chronic heavy alcohol use. This includes cancer of the mouth, throat, oesophagus, breast, bowel, liver.
Anxiety & Depression
Prolonged alcohol consumption commonly leads to mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.
Heavy drinkers will also experience the withdrawal symptoms of nausea and vomiting, heart palpitations, sweating, ‘the shakes’, and difficulty sleeping.
A blackout results in an inability to recall details of events that have occurred during a drinking bout. Blackouts occur even after a few drinks and the degree of memory lapse increases with the amount consumed. One particular form of alcohol-related acquired brain injury is the condition Korsakoff’s syndrome which is characterised by persistent memory and learning problems and caused by a deficiency of vitamin B1.
Alcoholic Brain Damage
Chronic heavy drinkers are at risk of more progressive and persistent brain damage leading to generalised cognitive impairment. This may present as loss of memory and difficulty with problem-solving.
Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS)
Alcohol use during pregnancy is potentially damaging to the developing fetus and even frequent consumption of moderate amounts may cause a condition known as Fetal Alcohol Effects or with heavy consumption the full-blown Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. These children suffer from a variety of cognitive disabilities.
Our bodies have a remarkable ability to heal over time, and abstinence provides the ideal conditions for this. There are no easy solutions or quick fixes – abstinence is challenging and takes dedication, but it works.
An abstinence-based rehab programme equips patents with the tools and knowledge to ensure a fulfilling life without alcohol or drugs. A combination of individual therapy, group therapy, CBT and other specialised therapies, exercise & fitness and a healthy diet, in peaceful, private surroundings all assist in this process.
Page last reviewed and clinically fact-checked | March 8, 2021