Alcohol abuse can cause serious short term hangovers but in the long-term it can also lead to health problems associated with weight gain, insomnia, skin conditions and liver damage.

How does alcohol affect short-term health?

The short and long term effects of regularly drinking can lead to serious health problems. People who consume alcohol are more susceptible to both mental and physical health illnesses.

When they reduce their drinking, some of the symptoms may improve.

Short-term effects of alcohol can include physical, emotional and mental health changes:

  • Anxiety
  • Diarrhoea
  • Insomnia
  • Shaking
  • Sickness or vomiting
  • Skin conditions
  • Stomach problems
  • Depression
  • Difficulties with making decisions
  • Memory loss
  • Sweating
  • Weight gain

What are the physical effects that have a long-term health impact?

Some effects of excessive drinking are not reversible and can lead to serious damages to the brain and physical body.

Long-term effects of alcohol can include:

  • Brain damage
  • Cancers
  • Dementia
  • Pancreatitis
  • Foetal alcohol syndrome
  • Heart attack
  • Liver damage
  • Fertility problems
  • Raised blood pressure
  • Osteoporosis
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Stroke

Why drinking can lead to weight gain?

Alcohol can contribute to weight gain due to the high number of calories it contains and  alcohol can prevent the body from burning fat. The system wants to eliminate alcohol as quickly as possible, and this process becomes a priority for the body thus the body neglects absorbing nutrients and burning fat.

From all types of excessive drinking, binge drinking is associated with weight gain. People with binge drinking habits may also have over-eating habits and they may lack exercise, leading to obesity.

Why can drinking lead to disrupted sleep patterns?

Drinking before bed can make some people feel sleepy and they might indulge for more than one evening in consuming alcohol hoping for a better night’s sleep. However, excessive drinking can disrupt the sleep pattern, leading to insomnia or restless sleep. Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it pushes the body to eliminate the extra fluid, sometimes leading to dehydration.

What are the effects of alcohol on skin appearance?

Alcohol can damage the skin. Excessive drinking can dehydrate the body and can make the skin look tired and dry. As the skin becomes very dry, the oil glands release more oil to compensate for the water loss. The extra oil produced by the skin can result in acne and spots.

Many people who are drinking regularly acquire red-looking skin, also called the alcohol flush. This skin condition affects only some people, and it depends on the genes of the person who consumes alcohol.

Why can giving up drinking shrink the waist?

Many alcoholic drinks contain a larger amount of calories than some people realize. A pint of lager counts the same calories as a packet of crisps, and a standard glass of wine is as high in calories as a piece of chocolate. Giving up drinking can help you lose weight and shrink your waistline.

Alcohol and associated diseases

Excessive drinking can gradually affect the body and its organs. Long-term drinking can affect the nervous system, heart, brain, liver, and pancreas. Heavy drinking is also responsible for high blood pressure and increased blood cholesterol levels. Many people with alcohol addiction can experience strokes, heart attacks, and diabetes.

When consumed in large amounts, alcohol becomes a problem, and people with addiction can become aware of this by monitoring their behaviour. Alcohol can impair judgement leading to unwanted accidents, fights, falls, or even road accidents.

Benefits of reducing alcohol intake

Becoming conscious of the amount of alcohol you consume can help you on various levels. Changing your habits is not easy, but you can benefit even from cutting down a little bit.

The damaged liver can regenerate if alcohol addiction is not severe, memory and decision making can improve, and you can also decrease the chances of developing life-threatening diseases.

Consuming no alcohol also means you are anxiety-free, you are not dealing with a hangover, and you can live a healthy life.

If you are dealing with alcohol addiction, contact Castle Health today for advice and specialised treatment. Our specialists can help you overcome addictive habits and can guide you to rediscover the fulfilling life you are looking for.

Strategies for cutting down alcohol consumption

Cutting down the amount of alcohol you consume can help you regain self-control and make the first step toward sobriety. These self-help strategies can help you change your drinking habits:

Alcohol-free days

You may start by setting certain days of the week where you do not drink. Scheduling specific alcohol-free days is a healthy way to drink less and raise self-esteem as you rediscover the power of abstinence. These alcohol-free days can help you spread the amount of alcohol over a long period than consuming it all in a day or two. Try this simple strategy to change your binge habits.

Alcohol units

There is no safe drinking level, but you can benefit from low-risk drinking. To keep the risk low, you should not drink more than 14 units over a week. One large glass of wine contains 3 units, and a pint of cider or beer contains between 2-3 units. Keep in mind these numbers next time when you reach for your daily alcoholic drink.

Alcohol-free drinks

Trying non-alcoholic drinks is also a healthy way to reduce the amount of alcohol you consume. The wide choice of non-alcoholic drinks helps you try various options, not only sodas or fruit juices, but also alcohol-free wines, alcohol-free beers, and mocktails.

How to Get Help?

People with alcohol addiction have a compulsive need to drink even if they know their habit can result in serious social, physical, or mental problems. Once alcohol dependence has developed, people have difficulties in staying sober without getting professional help.

It is not recommended to stop drinking alone. Patients at the Castle Health clinic are monitored 24/7 and helped to manage even the most severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Our treatment centre offers a safe environment where recovery is possible. After detox, patients can benefit from inpatient or outpatient rehab treatment and learn new coping skills to avoid drinking and build healthy habits.