Drug Rehabilitation Blog

Chronic Heavy Drinking

What Are the Health Risks of Chronic Heavy Drinking?

Drinking frequently and in large doses can be a sign of alcohol abuse, and chronic heavy drinking can lead to a significant number of serious health risks. In general, this should not come as a shock to anyone. Many people are still unaware of the exact risks they take when they choose to overindulge in a few alcoholic beverages, and there are many. The risks you take do not only include liver disease or the possibility of a car crash. Let’s go over ten of the significant health hazards that are caused by consuming large amounts of alcohol on a regular basis.

Health Risks of Chronic Heavy Drinking

Most alcoholics or frequent drinkers never think about the health risks of their behavior.  If the drinking continues, the following issues might arise:

  • Cancer

Alcohol in large quantities is simply not good for any parts of the body because it breaks down tissues and is abrasive. Excess drinking or binge drinking has been clinically linked to breast, esophagus, colorectal, pharynx, mouth and liver cancers. Much of this also has to do with the fact that alcohol converts to acetaldehyde once it enters the body, and this is a major carcinogen.

  • Anemia

Anemia is categorized as an abnormally small number of red blood cells, and this can be caused by heavy drinking. Anemia causes shortness of breath and fatigue.

  • Dementia

No one is exactly sure how or why dementia occurs in some individuals, but several clinical tests have shown that heavy drinking can lead to the exacerbation of dementia. Also, even in patients who do not currently have the illness, chronic binge drinking can shrink the same areas of the brain that dementia does, and it also causes memory loss just as dementia does.

  • Gout

Gout is a form of arthritis, and it is measured by the amount of uric acid in the body. The more uric acid crystals that build up in your joints, the worse your gout is and the more pain you will experience. Alcohol may not always be the cause of gout conditions, but it has been known to exacerbate it.

  • Cardiovascular Disease

A recent study found that chronic heavy drinking leads to double the risk of heart attacks and strokes. The reason for this is because binge drinking causes blood platelets to create blood clots in the heart, brain or blood stream by clumping altogether. Heart rhythm disorders are also linked to alcoholism.

  • High Blood Pressure

When a person goes on a drinking binge, their blood pressure may be raised momentarily. This high blood pressure could last just a few hours. But when binges become weekly or daily affairs, the high blood pressure could become a chronic issue. Blood vessels dilate and constrict in reaction to large amounts of alcohol.

  • Cirrhosis

The liver is responsible for filtering all the things that you eat and drink. When someone consumes a significant amount of alcohol, their liver has to deal with it, but the liver wasn’t made to do this job over and over. With time, binge drinking causes you to get a fatty liver. A fatty liver will later turn into cirrhosis, and without a transplant, this is a fatal disease.

  • Depression

Often, heavy drinkers binge drink because they are depressed. Alcohol itself is a depressant, so drinking because of depression begets more depression. It turns into a big cycle of self-medication that just does not work. The only way to get out of it is to stop drinking by going to an inpatient rehab center.

  • Pancreatitis

One of the most harmful things about excessive alcohol consumption is that it irritates the lining of the stomach, but it can also irritate the lining of the pancreas. Pancreatitis is the effect, and it can cause serious diarrhea as well as recurring stomach aches.

  • Nerve Damage

Alcoholic neuropathy is a type of nerve damage that is caused by alcoholism. Someone with this kind of neuropathy will experience numbness in the feet, legs, hands, and arms as well as painful pin prick feelings in those same areas. Also, this nerve damage can exacerbate erectile dysfunction, constipation, and incontinence.

Chronic heavy drinking can affect the entire body. If you have a problem with chronic heavy drinking, please enroll in a treatment program. Inpatient rehab treatment centers offer more supervision than outpatient treatment programs. Inpatient treatment takes you out of the environment in which you can obtain alcohol at any time. Therefore, it is much easier to focus on your recovery and to form habits which do not include drinking alcohol. Don’t let chronic heavy drinking ruin your health and your life.



  • Jonathan

    Wow! I actually was very unaware of all of the health risks that come with drinking too much. I knew that it could damage your brain and your liver and that was about it. The fact that there are so many other health conditions that can result from drinking too much is rather interesting and enlightening.

    Each of the conditions make sense because you realize that drinking does that but you don’t really look at it and confront it when you are drinking. Only when you are placed with the facts before you do you actually realize it.

    It would be wise to know this article well and be able to call any of these conditions to mind when trying to get a person to stop binge drinking. Who knows, the right one may just be enough for the person to stop right there.

  • Walter

    I knew that there were a lot of different problems that could arise from drinking alcohol in excess, but I did not know that there was such a wide variety of effects. It is interesting to see how it can affect the mind as well as the other organs of the body. It is also of note that neuropathy is a horrible condition and I did not know that there was the ability to get this awful condition from drinking. I have known of people having neuropathy and it is not a good idea if heavy drinking can cause that then there should definitely be a reason right there to not drink heavily. Also, it is just a scary thought that something so simple and readily available can do such unrestrained damage to the human body. It is really astonishing that there are this many different problems that can come up from drinking heavily. I would just please recommend that no one drink that much. Keep it in moderation!

  • Patty F.

    Wow this is an informative article, I had no idea there are so many other health conditions that can result from drinking too much is rather interesting and enlightening. I knew that drinking to much can affect your liver well damage it actually. I was unaware of all the risks that a person takes when they choose to overindulge in a few alcoholic beverages. So interesting and so scary at what can happen to ones body just from drinking. Its astonishing that there are this many different problems that can come up from drinking heavily. This is a great and like I said very informative article and with great facts that one can give to another if they are struggling with alcoholism so they know what can happen to their body.

  • Write a Comment

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Enabling vs. Empowering: How to Know the Difference in Addiction Recovery

    Addiction has been one of the largest problems within our nation for many years. This is easily understood when viewing the …

    Is There a Connection Between Diabetes and Alcoholism

    Many of the substances that continue to fuel the addiction epidemic in our nation are actually legal. One of these would …

    Should Doctors be Held Accountable for Patients’ Opioid Addictions

    There is an abundance of debate as to whether or not doctors should be held accountable for their patients’ opioid addictions. …