Alcohol and Your Health
Immediate Health Risks
Excessive alcohol use, particularly binge drinking, can have immediate effects on your health, including:
- Accidental injuries such as traffic injuries, falls, burns, and unintentional firearm injuries.
- Accidental drowning
- Violence, including violence to intimate partners and children. About 35% of victims report that offenders are under the influence of alcohol.
- Risky sexual behaviors, including unprotected sex, sex with multiple partners, and increased risk of sexual assault. These behaviors can result in unintended pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases.
- Miscarriage and stillbirth among pregnant women, and a combination of physical and mental birth defects among children that last throughout life.
- Alcohol poisoning, which is a medical emergency that results from high blood alcohol levels. Alcohol poisoning can cause loss of consciousness, low blood pressure and body temperature, coma, respiratory depression, or death.
Long-Term Health Risks
Over time, excessive alcohol use can lead to chronic diseases and other problems, such as:
- Neurological problems, including dementia, stroke and neuropathy.
- Cardiovascular problems, including myocardial infarction, cardiomyopathy, atrial fibrillation and hypertension
- Psychiatric problems, including depression, anxiety, and suicide.
- Social problems, including unemployment, lost productivity, and family problems.
- Cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, colon, and breast.
- Liver diseases, including alcoholic hepatitis and cirrhosis.
- Persons with the Hepatitis C virus may experience worsening of liver function and interference with medications.
- Other gastrointestinal problems, including pancreatitis and gastritis.
Source: Centers for Disease Control Fact Sheets - Alcohol Use and Health