Chronic Alcoholism Health Risks

Chronic Alcoholism Health Risks

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A weekend of drinking too much isn’t likely to do lasting damage to a relatively healthy individual. However, if you find yourself overindulging regularly, you’re more likely to succumb to chronic alcoholism health risks, both physically and psychologically.

What is Chronic Alcoholism?

Chronic alcoholism involves a pattern of heavy drinking, or binge drinking, whereas a person routinely brings their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 g/dL or above.

Binge drinking is when a person consumes a significant amount of alcohol within the span of two hours. This is roughly five drinks for men and four drinks for women.[1] Both women and men can become physically and psychologically addicted to alcohol and increase alcohol consumption to satiate their cravings.

Chronic Alcoholism Health Risks

Several maladies are associated with chronic alcoholism that can cause long-lasting and sometimes irreversible effects.

Some of the health risks related to this type of alcohol consumption include the following:

Diseases of the Liver

There are three main alcohol-induced liver diseases: fatty liver disease, alcoholic hepatitis, and cirrhosis.

The role of the liver is to eliminate the toxins from the body. If alcohol is consumed too often and too fast, the liver may not be able to keep up, resulting in a poorly functioning liver and even scarring of the liver tissue.

While it is typically thought that these diseases occur sequentially (starting with fatty liver disease, progressing to alcoholic hepatitis, and then finally cirrhosis), recent studies indicate that some individuals progress to cirrhosis without showing any signs of alcoholic hepatitis.[2]

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Health Risks of Chronic Alcoholism

Heart Disease and Alcohol Use

Alcohol has been shown to have severe adverse effects on the cardiovascular system, including the formation of blood clots, hypertension, and plaque build-up in the arteries. [3]

These complications can occur over time and occur suddenly due to alcohol’s effects on the electrical and chemical signals on the heart. [3]

Nervous System Damage

Alcohol is detrimental to your brain’s communication pathways, resulting in difficulties thinking clearly, speaking, movement, decision making, and even nerve damage. Up to 46.3% of individuals who abuse alcohol will suffer from alcoholic neuropathy, [4] which can last from months to years, depending on the severity.

Mental Health Conditions

It is not uncommon for those suffering from chronic alcoholism to experience psychiatric conditions such as depression or anxiety. [5] In an individual patient, it can be difficult to determine if alcohol caused the depression or if depression led to alcoholism. Oftentimes, an individual will receive a dual diagnosis and must undergo treatment for both conditions.


Excessive alcohol use has shown a direct link with multiple types of cancers. Alcohol critically damages your cells and can result in cancers* of the

  • Throat
  • Mouth
  • Liver
  • Colon
  • Stomach
  • Breast

*This is not an exhaustive list of the types of cancers medical experts associate with alcohol use.

Alcohol is also an immunosuppressant, meaning that the body struggles to fight carcinogens from tobacco or other substances that the body may be exposed to regularly. [5]


Your body requires adequate amounts of red blood cells to deliver oxygen to the cells in your body. Excessive use of alcohol has been linked to reducing the quantity and function of red blood cells, leading to anemia.[6]

Anemia can result in inflammation, fatigue, rapid heartbeat, paleness, dizziness, leg cramps, headaches, and difficulty breathing.

Can You Heal From the Effects of Alcohol?

Intervention increases your chances of mitigating the long-term effects of alcohol abuse. With holistic, specialized treatment plans and the supervision of recovery specialists, you can take back control of your life and health and begin to heal from the effects of chronic alcoholism.

Get Your Chronic Alcoholism Health Risks Under Control with Alcohol Addiction Help from Desert Cove Recovery

If you are suffering from any of the above chronic alcoholism health risks, please call a team member. At Desert Cove Recovery, we offer individualized treatment plans for those suffering from alcoholism. We welcome you, no matter where you are in your journey towards recovery. Call us or contact us online.

We are here to help you achieve the life you deserve, recovering from alcohol and substance abuse.