Understanding the Impact of Alcohol on Our Bodies and Well-Being

Alcohol consumption has always been a part of our lives, often associated with celebrations and social gatherings. However, it’s important to be aware of the harmful effects excessive drinking can have on our bodies and overall well-being.

Binge Drinking

While alcohol may be enjoyed by many, it’s crucial to recognise that heavy daily drinking or binge drinking (excessive intake over a short period) can have detrimental effects on the body. Even smaller amounts of alcohol have been linked to the development of diseases. The impact on your body is wide-ranging and extensive.

For many people, particularly in Ireland, all celebrations, birthdays, graduations, social events, milestones and even dining experiences directly involve and sometimes even revolve around alcohol. Even religious events such as weddings, communion and confirmation parties and funerals all involve the consumption of alcohol for many.

There are numerous factors that influence the impact of alcohol on your health. These factors encompass age, gender, body size, genetics, metabolism, past drinking experiences, and other social elements. Additionally, elements like the quantity of alcohol consumed, choice of alcoholic beverages, drinking patterns, and even the quality of the alcohol itself play a role in determining its effects. It’s important to consider these factors when assessing the potential impact of alcohol on your well-being.

Short-Term Effects of Alcohol

Even just the excessive consumption of alcohol on a single occasion or binge drinking can have immediate effects on your body, which can elevate the risk of many health conditions. Short term effects of alcohol include:

  • Injuries or accidents – e.g. car crashes, drownings, falling, burns and fires
  • Reduced inhibitions
  • Violence – e.g. murder, suicide and sexual assault
  • Alcohol poisoning – can be a life-threatening emergency
  • Altered Behaviour – e.g. Risky or violent behaviour including hazardous sexual behaviours such as unprotected sex or sex with multiple partners
  • Interpersonal Conflict
  • Risks to pregnant women – e.g. Miscarriage and stillbirth or fetal alcohol spectrum disorders
  • Hangover

These short-term effects of alcohol can vary in severity based on the quantities of alcohol consumed, hydration and food consumption.

Long-Term Effects

Persistent and excessive alcohol consumption can result in severe long-term health issues. The World Health Organisation (WHO) identifies over 200 diseases and injuries associated with alcohol consumption. Some of the long-term effects include:

  • High blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, stroke, liver disease, and digestive problems
  • Cancer – breast, oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, oesophagus, liver, and colorectum
  • Diabetes
  • Learning and memory problems e.g. dementia
  • Violence – e.g. domestic and public
  • Crime
  • Mental health problems e.g. depression and anxiety
  • Social Dysfunction e.g. lost productivity, unemployment, family breakdown and family issues
  • Alcohol tolerance and dependence or alcoholism
  • Nutrition-related issues – e.g. folate deficiency and malnutrition
  • Overweight and obesity
  • Risks to unborn babies
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Self-harm including suicide

The negative impact of alcohol extends beyond physical health, affecting employment, finances, and relationships with friends and family. If you find yourself consuming more alcohol than usual due to disruptions in daily routines or heightened stress levels, it’s crucial to be aware of your intake. Consider monitoring your alcohol consumption to ensure a healthier approach. Remember, support is available if you or a loved one are facing alcohol-related challenges.

Tabor Group

Tabor Group is a leading provider of residential addiction treatment services in Ireland. We provide support and care to hundreds of clients suffering from addictions to alcohol, substances, gambling and eating disorders. For more information on Tabor Group’s services click here.