How does alcohol impact your health?


How does alcohol impact your health?

Many of us enjoy a tipple now and then, but too much alcohol can spell serious health concerns

Whether you’re meeting a friend after work, relaxing on a Friday night or heading out for a night on the town, drinking is a key player in many social and leisure activities. According to Alcohol Change, 82% of adults in the UK drank alcohol in the past 12 months, but when does your relationship with alcohol become dangerous?

GOV.UK reports that more than a fifth (21%) of UK adults regularly drink at levels that are dangerous to their health. We’re going to take a closer look at the short term and long term impacts of drinking alcohol to excess, so you know the warning signs.

The short term health risks of alcohol

While drinking can impact your health over time, it also comes with many more immediate risks. These include an increased risk of injuries – such as crashes, falls, drowning and more – as well as an increased risk of violence. Alcohol poisoning is another deadly short term risk of drinking, being a medical emergency that directly results from high blood alcohol levels.

When you drink, you’re also more likely to engage in risky sexual behaviours like unprotected sex or sex with multiple partners.

Alcohol can increase your risk of disease

In the long term, alcohol can cause significant damage to your health. Drinking too much can lead to high blood pressure, which in turn can increase your risk of heart disease, liver disease, digestive problems and stroke. 

Alcohol is also directly related to an increased risk in various types of cancer, many of which can be fatal. These include cancer of the breast, throat, mouth, oesophagus, liver, voice box, rectum and colon.

Alcohol can also weaken your immune system, increasing your chances of getting sick.

The mental impact of alcohol

The affects of drinking too much alcohol aren’t just physical, however. There is also a mental impact to consider, as relying on alcohol can significantly damage your mental health.

Excessive drinking can lead to learning and memory problems, including a poorer academic performance and even conditions like dementia. People who drink in excess are also more likely to suffer from mental health conditions like anxiety and depression. This can create a vicious cycle, as drinking then becomes a crux to help deal with negative thoughts and emotions.

Alcohol and sexual health

You may also notice the impact of alcohol in the bedroom. Drinking too much can damage your libido, which can make sexual activity more difficult and less enjoyable. Both in the short term and the long term, excessive drinking can deter your ability to perform sexually.

Alcohol can increase the chance of developing sexual health conditions like erectile dysfunction. Reducing your drinking can help to improve symptoms of erectile dysfunction, while safe and effective medication can be ordered online from 

The social impact of drinking too much

As well as impacting your health, drinking can also impact your wider life and social activities. Social problems, family problems, job related problems, relationship problems and even unemployment or job termination are all common consequences of relying too heavily on alcohol. Drinking regularly can also increase your risk of developing an alcohol use disorder or alcohol dependence.  

If you fear that excessive drinking might be becoming a problem, be sure to seek out help and support. Whether it’s turning to a family member or friend, or reaching out to a professional or doctor, it’s important to take the vital first step to getting the help you need.

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