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Alcoholism Effects on Body: The Dangerous and
Potentially Life Threatening Physical Effects of Alcoholism

The alcoholism effects on body and physical effects of alcoholism are numerous and often potentially life threatening. There are a number of diseases attributed directly to alcoholism that can not only destroy your body, but mind as well.

Liver Disease

The first major effect alcoholism has on your body is destruction of the liver, which can result in liver disease. There are two types of liver disease that can be attributed to alcoholism. Chronic liver disease progresses through various stages over a number of years typically - and eventually ends up with you developing Cirhossis, which means that if you don’t stop drinking, death is almost inevitable.

Acute liver disease or acute alcoholic hepatitis is caused by heavy drinking over a number of months – but is reversible with no long-term side effects if you quit drinking and recover completely. Juandice is often a symptom, and continued drinking can lead to cirhossis.


Heavy drinking and alcoholism is also increasingly being linked to the development of a number of different cancers. Excessive drinking is one of the leading causes of liver cancer, because it leads to cirrhosis, from which liver cancer develops.

Studies are also showing more of a link between alcohol consumption and breast cancer. Moderate and heavy drinkers are more at risk. Alcohol is also one of the major causes of mouth cancer, especially for those that also smoke. Bowel cancer is another where you are far more at risk dependent on your alcohol consumption.

Heart Disease

Alcoholism is also prevalent is putting you at risk for a number of heart diseases. Coronary heart disease becomes a risk if you engage in regular binge drinking. A period of heavy alcohol consumption can also lead to something called ‘holiday heart syndrome’ which is an irregular heart rhythm which increases the risk of heart attacks.

High Blood Pressure/Hypertension is another potential damaging health effect of alcoholism that has also sorts of undesirable consequences like stroke and kidney failure. In fact more than 17,000 people die from Hypertension complications in the US each year.

Cardiomyopathy, is an enlargement of the heart, characterised by weakness to the heart which causes increased breathlessness and requires specialised care and treatment.


Acute pancreatitis, often caused by a period of heavy drinking, is usually identified by intense stomach pain, with other symptoms being nausea, vomiting and fever - usually comes and goes quite quickly, but in severe cases can lead to serious illness like kidney or respiratory failure and end up in death.

Chronic pancreatitis is the result of many years of heavy drinking and is when your pancreas is constantly inflamed, also resulting in severe stomach pains, and means your pancreas is irreversibly damaged meaning you will have to take special medication for the rest of your life to help you digest food, and to help you maintain your blood sugar levels.

This also means diabetes is common for those with chronic pancreatitis because your pancreas can no longer make insulin and that your chances of developing pancreatic cancer increase significantly.

Mental Health

Depression and other mental health problems like anxiety are also commonly associated with alcoholism because consistent alcohol abuse alters your brain chemistry. In severe cases of alcoholism, a total mental ‘melt down’ is often the result with the alcoholic barely able to function or perform any normal daily activities at all, meaning families, relationships and jobs are literally destroyed.

The bottom line is that alcoholism effects on body can cause irreparable and severe damage, which often aren’t highlighted when looking at the consequences of a life of alcoholism. Living a life of sobriety and trying to incorporate a healthy lifestyle will usually reverse damaging health effects described above, so if you can relate to any of the above, make sure you get proper help sooner rather than later.

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