Effects on the body

How alcohol affects your body and mind

Increased risk of heart attack or stroke

Drinking too much on a regular basis increases your chance of having high blood pressure, which is one of the most likely things to cause a heart attack or a stroke. It can also weaken your heart muscles, which means that your heart can’t pump blood as well, which can lead to heart failure.

Increased risk of liver disease

Your liver is responsible for all sorts of important jobs in the body, including breaking down food into energy, fighting infections and helping your body get rid of waste. It’s important to look after your liver as you can’t always tell your liver is damaged until you’ve developed serious health issues.

Drinking too much alcohol on a regular basis can cause liver disease. When the liver tries to break down alcohol, it can cause stress and damage which leads to inflammation. Alcohol can also damage your intestines, which allows toxins to enter your liver which can then lead to inflammation. The more alcohol you drink, the more likely you are to develop liver disease.

Increased risk of cancer

The longer term effects of alcohol can include an increased risk of cancers, specifically bowel, breast, mouth, throat and pancreatic cancer.

Anxiety and depression

Drinking regularly can make you feel down or even lead to feelings of anxiety or depression, which make stress harder to deal with. This is because regular drinking interferes with neurotransmitters in our brains that are needed for good mental health.

Alcohol irritates your digestive system

Even drinking a little bit of alcohol makes your stomach produce more acid than usual, which can cause inflammation of the stomach lining (known as gastritis). This triggers stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhoea and even bleeding in heavy drinkers.

Brain Damage

Drinking too much alcohol for a long period of time can change the way the brain works. This can lead to serious issues such as problems with memory, thinking, mood, learning and even changing someone’s personality.

Alcohol can make you gain weight and look older

Every time you drink alcohol it dehydrates your body and your skin. Drinking too much can deprive your skin of vital vitamins and nutrients. Over time, this can lead to your face looking bloated and puffy – as well as your stomach. It is thought that the toxins in alcohol help the build up of cellulite.

Acid reflux

Drinking alcohol can cause digestive problems like acid reflux, which is a condition where stomach acid burns your throat.

Peptic ulcers

Alcohol can also lead to the development of a peptic ulcer. This is an unpleasant, painful, open sore in your stomach lining. Not only this, but drinking can also make it more difficult to digest food and absorb vital nutrients, particularly proteins and vitamins.