Long-Term Effects of Alcohol: The Risks

There are many long-term effects of alcohol. These are different from the short-term effects of alcohol as they are typically diseases or health issues. Alcohol contributes to over 200 diseases and injury-related health conditions. It is the third leading preventable cause of death as 88,000 people a year die from alcohol-related causes every year in the US.

Long-Term Effects of Alcohol: What They Are

Health Conditions

Many health problems can be long-term effects of alcohol. These include liver cirrhosis, cancer, and mental health problems. Other examples are stomach ulcers, vitamin deficiencies, and pancreatitis. Also, there can be damage to the heart muscle and immune system dysfunction. Alcohol can lead to health problems all over your body. This is because alcohol affects every body system.

These health conditions can be very serious. For example, cirrhosis is a condition in which scar tissue replaces healthy liver cells over time. One major side effect of this is that the scar tissue can actually block the flow of blood through the liver. Also, 70 – 80% of all pancreatitis cases come from long-term alcohol abuse. This is an inflammatory disease that leads to the breakdown of the pancreas. The pancreas is important, as it produces insulin and helps break down food.


There are other long-term effects of alcohol that can come from injuries. These injuries usually are unintentional. Examples include drowning, accidents, falls and burns. Since alcohol can cause irritability and mood changes, assaults can occur. These can lead to injuries as well.

Swimming while drinking can lead to drowning, since alcohol can cause a loss of coordination and judgment. For the same reasons, alcohol can also lead to falling and getting injured. Driving while intoxicated can cause auto accidents. These can be dangerous to both the person who is intoxicated as well as their passengers. It can also be harmful to the other people on the road. It is dangerous to drink and drive. Instead, get a DD or a ride share.

Addiction and Dependency

Some people drink large amounts on a regular basis. In this case, a long-term effect of alcohol can be addiction and dependency. This can happen because over time, a person’s tolerance level will increase. This causes the body to require more alcohol to achieve the same effect. The body will adapt to the presence of alcohol. This is what leads to addiction.

A person with an alcohol addiction will have a strong craving for alcohol. They will keep using it even though it impacts their health, personal relationships, and ability to work. If they stop drinking alcohol, withdrawal symptoms can occur. These include tremors, anxiety, depression and insomnia. Signs of this can begin 4 – 72 hours after the last drink. This is called withdrawal, and can last up to about 5 days. Many people will take a drink to stop this from happening. There are detox programs and groups such as AA that can help with this.

As you can see, there are many negative long-term effects of alcohol. They can be both health and injury related effects. If you are going to drink, do so responsibly. The long-term risks can be really bad.