What Happens I Drink Alcohol Every Day? Long Term Effects On Your Health

Compare Rehab UK | What Happens I Drink Alcohol Every Day? Long Term Effects On Your Health

Is drinking alcohol every day harmful?

Drinking alcohol daily has lasting adverse consequences for your physical and mental health.

When it comes to alcohol, drinking every day can have significant short- and long-term effects on a person’s mental and physical health. Many of the effects of daily drinking can be reversed with early intervention, but they become more challenging to treat as time goes by. It’s critical to recognise alcohol abuse and treat alcoholism as early as possible to avoid irreversible damage to the brain and body.

Alcohol has a wide range of effects on the body, including the heart, kidneys, gastrointestinal tract, circulatory system, and liver. There are different short- and long-term consequences for each of these systems. The following are some key takeaways:

  • Alcohol can affect the GI tract, heart, kidneys, liver, and vascular system in the short term.
  • Chronic alcohol abuse can include arrhythmias, cirrhosis, and risk of stroke.
  • Alcohol abuse can contribute to or worsen mental health conditions over time.
  • Chronic drinking can lead to diseases like cardiovascular disease and cancers.
  • Seeking professional rehab care can help anyone recover from alcohol addiction.

The Impact of Drinking Alcohol Every Day

Daily alcohol consumption impacts various internal organs and systems, resulting in unpleasant side effects that may have long-term consequences.

Alcohol and the Gastrointestinal Tract

The first stop for alcohol in your body is the gastrointestinal tract. The gastrointestinal (GI) tract is a hollow organ that runs from the mouth to the colon, passing via the stomach and small intestines. Alcohol irritates the lining of your gastrointestinal tract, causing inflammation, oedema, and redness.

Inflammation is the process the body uses to recruit cells from the bloodstream to heal damage. Inflammation aids in the healing of injured tissue in the near term. Chronic alcohol consumption destroys tissue, resulting in cancer, autoimmune illness, and cell death. The consumption of alcohol may aggravate the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

Alcohol and the Heart

Because alcohol dehydrates the body, the heart must work harder to pump the same blood volume. It can also raise blood pressure and change the conduction (electrical signals) in the heart, which keeps the heartbeat stable.

Heavy alcohol consumption has also been connected to SCD, particularly in older men. SCD causes the heart to stop suddenly because the heart cells can’t keep a steady rhythm. SCD is a leading cause of natural death, even though it is not the same as a heart attack.

Alcohol and the Kidneys

Alcohol is a diuretic, which means it causes the body to lose fluid in various ways. The first is by increasing the amount of urine produced by the kidneys, which is why people who have consumed alcohol use the restroom more frequently.

The second way alcohol reduces fluid in the body is by increasing the water retention of cells in other body parts. These cells could be from the skin, muscle, or fat.

As a result, there is less water in the blood. The kidneys are thus forced to filter a more concentrated fluid, exposing them to additional poisons. Kidney function deteriorates over time, and toxins are left unprocessed, causing damage to other organs.

Alcohol and the Liver

Daily alcohol consumption requires extra work from the liver. The liver produces metabolic enzymes that digest and break down toxins such as alcohol, which is where alcohol goes once it passes through the GI tract.

Alcoholism can cause fibrosis or scarring of the liver tissue if consumed regularly. It can also lead to alcoholic hepatitis, which is liver inflammation. These disorders develop in combination with long-term alcohol addiction, eventually leading to liver failure.

How your liver breaks down alcohol in your body

When you drink., here’s what happens in your liver, where alcohol metabolism takes place.

Oxidation is the mechanism by which your liver detoxifies and eliminates alcohol from your blood. Alcohol decomposes into water and carbon dioxide once the liver has completed the process. Alcohol can harm cells and, eventually, organs if it builds up in the body. This is prevented by oxidative metabolism.

When you consume too much alcohol for your liver to handle in a timely manner, the toxic material begins to harm your body, starting with your liver. Alcohol’s oxidative metabolism produces chemicals that prevent fat oxidation in the liver, resulting in fatty liver.

Drinking too much alcohol causes liver damage and, eventually, cirrhosis. About 90% of people who consume more than one and a half to two ounces of alcohol per day develop fatty liver, which is an early stage of alcoholic liver disease. So, if you drink that much or more most days of the week, you’re most likely suffering from fatty liver.

If you totally abstain from drinking alcohol, fatty liver is usually completely reversible in four to six weeks. Cirrhosis, on the other hand, is irreversible, and even abstinence from alcohol is likely to result in liver failure.

If you have a yellow tinge to your skin, pain in the upper right area of your abdomen, or unexplained weight loss and you drink heavily, contact your doctor immediately.

Alcohol and the Vascular System

People who consume a lot of alcohol tend to have a bad diet. A poor diet might result in cholesterol levels that are greater than usual. Cholesterol is a typical and healthy component of the blood that transports important chemicals throughout the body, but it can malfunction.

Cholesterol is a large molecule that transports lipids to different parts of the body, and lipids are used to build cell membranes. When too much cholesterol is in the blood, the molecules scratch the inner membranes of veins and arteries, causing mechanical damage, and various cells in the blood are recruited to help heal the damage.

Since the blood is designed to clot when it repairs the damage, it can inadvertently build a clot on the inside of the vascular system. If the clot continues to form, it has the potential to break off and move to other regions of the body, resulting in a heart attack, pulmonary embolism, or stroke.

Effects of Long-term Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol is a toxic substance that has various adverse effects on practically every organ of your body.

Physical Effects of chronic heavy drinking

Alcohol has substantial long-term effects on the body’s many organs. The following are some of the physical symptoms and effects:

  • Arrhythmias
  • Cirrhosis (widespread fibrosis)
  • Steatosis (fatty liver disease)
  • Fibrosis (development of scar tissue)
  • Stroke
  • Weakened immune system

Psychological Effects of Long-Term Alcohol Abuse

The above group of physical symptoms, on the other hand, appears typically in that order only when alcohol is involved. Because the psychological and emotional repercussions of regular alcohol abuse are less defined than the physical effects, this set of mental health symptoms can be caused by various factors.

Daily alcohol use causes a wide range of psychological symptoms, including:

Chronic alcohol use can also contribute to the development of various mental health issues, such as depressive disorders and anxiety disorders, or worsen existing psychiatric illnesses. Co-occurring disorders are when a person has both an alcohol addiction and a mental health problem simultaneously. Fortunately, dual-diagnosis treatment can take care of both conditions simultaneously.

Diseases Caused by Long-Term Alcohol Abuse

Chronic diseases are exacerbated by continued damage to the GI tract, heart, kidneys, liver, and vascular system. Some are curable, but once diagnosed, the majority are irreversible. As a result, early detection and treatment of alcohol misuse are critical.

Diseases associated with chronic alcohol abuse include:

  • Anaemia
  • Cancers (breast, colorectal, head and neck, and liver)
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Cirrhosis (widespread fibrosis)
  • Dementia
  • Depression
  • Gout
  • High blood pressure
  • Infectious disease
  • Nerve damage
  • Pancreatitis
  • Seizures

Alcohol abuse, particularly heavy drinking, has been related to a variety of health problems, ranging from liver disease to depression and cancer, according to research. A study that interviewed 2,136 people in a poll about health problems caused by their alcohol consumption concluded that:

  • 1 in 3 reported depression (38%)
  • 1 in 3 reported high blood pressure (31%)
  • 1 in 6 reported liver disease (17%)
  • 1 in 10 reported cirrhosis (scarring of the liver) (12%)
  • 1 in 10 reported cardiovascular diseases (11%)
  • 1 in 7 reported a weakened immune system (15%)
  • 1 in 10 reported nerve damage (11%)
  • 1 in 12 reported pancreatitis (8.4%)
  • 1 in 11 reported seizures (9%)
  • 1 in 13 reported cancer (7.8%)

Alcohol Dependence And Addiction

In any given year, millions of individuals worldwide become dependent or addicted to alcohol. Although many adults who drink do not develop a serious problem, a significant number of people develop a physical and psychological dependence on alcohol.

These problems are issues that arise with time. Even though alcohol is the direct cause of addiction, the reasons why a person develops a drinking problem might be complex.

If you drink on a daily basis, one of the most crucial things to ask yourself is why. People sometimes claim to drink to relieve stress or to feel more at ease in social situations, but these can also be warning signs of serious problems.

Are You Concerned About Your Daily Drinking?

Many adults identify as “moderate” or “social” drinkers. Moderate drinking is defined by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) as drinking no more than two drinks a day for men and one for women.

Seek professional help If you:

  • feel unable to control your drinking
  • are unable to stop drinking
  • drink to avoid or numb feelings
  • experience withdrawal effects (e.g. tremors, headaches, anxiety, sweating, insomnia)
  • can’t imagine yourself not drinking on a daily basis

These signs indicate you have a drinking problem. Many individuals who suffer from alcoholism or addiction know that their drinking habits are unhealthy. Denial is also prevalent. However, it becomes more difficult to sustain as the problem worsens.

Alcohol Addiction

Getting Help For Alcohol Addiction

If you are concerned about your drinking habits or someone else’s, the first step is to reach out to a professional. At Compare Rehab UK, we have a free and confidential helpline that operates 24 hours a day, answering questions about alcohol use, addiction, and rehab treatment options.

The treatment centres we recommend operate at several locations nationwide and offer various rehab programs that can be customised based on the severity of your drinking and other personal needs.

Please don’t hesitate to contact one of our experts. To learn more about alcoholism treatment and therapy, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us on 0800 999 1083.

Last Edited: September 19th, 2022
Clinically Reviewed: July 16, 2022
Compare Rehab UK | What Happens I Drink Alcohol Every Day? Long Term Effects On Your Health
Clinical Reviewer


BACP accredited psychotherapist with 16 years experience working in mental health specialising in psychodynamic person-centred therapies treating those with a range of mental health disorders including anxiety, depression, OCD and Addiction.