Although the health effects of drinking have been a subject of great controversy, a keen examination of the issue reveals that alcohol consumption has more negative effects on health than it can possibly be beneficial to human health.
Drinking of alcohol has been proven to have adverse effects on the health of people with certain health conditions like the IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease), liver problems, and even problems with digestion. That notwithstanding, excessive drinking can lead to development of a myriad of health complications (Tresca 1).
However, the side effects associated with alcohol normally vary from one person to another. These effects can either be short-lived or long-term. Some of these effects are reversible in cases where the person stops taking alcohol. However, continued consumption of alcohol leads to permanent health complications, or death. This paper is an in-depth exploration of the health effects that are associated with drinking alcohol.
Causes of drinking addiction
Research has shown that people who are not addicted to alcohol may be lucky to escape health complications. On the other hand, alcohol seems to have more devastating effects on people who are addicted to alcohol. It is thus of essence that before a discussion of the side effects of alcohol consumption, a detailed analysis of the causes of addiction to alcohol be conducted.
One of the leading causes of addiction to alcohol is peer pressure. Social drinkers find themselves being addicted to alcohol due to the pressure that is characteristic of this kind of drinking. A social drinker may decide that he/she will never take alcohol again, but he/she may later be influenced by his/her friends to take alcohol.
Other causes of addiction to alcohol include psychological disorders like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This is because psychological disorders like the stated PTSD make their victim to live in distress, and thus the victim may result to substance abuse in a bid to escape the depression associated with these disorders. Let us now have a look at the side effects of drinking alcohol.
Side effects of drinking alcohol
Drinking little amount of alcohol has been associated with a couple of health benefits like the lowering of the probability of heart diseases. However, the side effects of drinking beat such benefits. Drinking is associated with a number of side effects affecting mental health. Some of these side effects include insomnia, depression, and even amnesia. Drinking alcohol is also associated with a number of short term side effects that depend on how much a person has taken.
These side effects include unconsciousness, vomiting and dizziness. Among the long-term effects of alcohol consumption, which are the most serious side effects of consuming alcohol, is depression, heart diseases, liver disease and diabetes. Alcohol addiction is also associated with increased risk of developing cancer in a variety of tissues in the body. Some of the tissues that are prone to cancerous growth after consumption of large amounts of alcohol include the throat, the liver, the esophagus, the mouth etcetera.
Alcohol abuse is also associated with a number of neurological effects on its victim. It normally leads to extreme numbness, dementia, twitching of muscles, and other neurological disorders. The neurological disorders are caused by the fact that alcohol interferes with the nervous system, and thus its continued intake may ultimately lead to the aforementioned disorders of the nervous system (Lietz 1). These are very serious conditions that every person who consumes alcohol should be aware of.
Alcohol is also known to have adverse effects on the intestinal lining of the alimentary canal. When a person drinks too much alcohol, the latter irritates the lining of the gastro-intestinal tract. This is the cause of the aforementioned vomiting, and other effects like nausea and even diarrhea.
Worse still, the lining of the gastro-intestinal layer may be irritated to an extent that the victim starts to bleed. The information on this paragraph is particularly useful for people suffering from IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease). This is because people suffering from this disease experience the worst relative irritation of the GI tract by alcohol (Lietz 1). The latter even worsens the condition.
The aforementioned effect of alcohol consumption on the liver is exhibited by liver diseases like liver cirrhosis. When a person consumes alcohol excessively, he/she may develop alcoholic hepatitis. This is the condition that causes liver cirrhosis after an extended period of consuming alcohol. Cirrhosis is characterized by scarring of the liver due to constant healing, which eventually destroys the tissues of the liver.
Cirrhosis, caused by drinking of alcohol, has claimed a myriad of lives since time immemorial. Drinking too much alcohol is also associated with worsening of liver diseases that may exist before the victim starts abusing alcohol. This is caused by the fact that the liver is the organ responsible for removing toxic materials from the body, and also the fact that when a person is intoxicated with alcohol, the liver concentrates on removing alcohol from the body.
This leads to a build-up of undesirable materials like fatty acids in the liver, causing existing diseases to worsen. The liver can also get damaged by alcohol because alcohol can potentially alter or damage the cells of the liver. As stated above, a number of the medications prescribed for GI (Gastro-Intestinal) problems may react badly with alcohol (Marsh 1). This may make the liver unable to function properly in its role of removing toxins from the body.
Women who consume alcohol during their pregnancy make their babies develop a condition known as fetal alcohol syndrome, which is a serious combination of physical and mental disorders. Some of the disorders that such babies develop include birth defects, heart problems, eye defects, small heads, and the like (Lietz 1). These disorders make the child live a stressful life.
Making the personal choice to drink should be based on a clear understanding of the side effects of drinking. It is thus important for any person wishing to start drinking to evaluate the effects of drinking on the stomach, the liver and other body organs, and weigh these effects against the possible benefits that he/she may derive from drinking. However, many people get addicted to drinking even without knowing that they are becoming addicts.
What starts as social drinking or even occasional drinking may result to very serious repercussions like chronic conditions, or even death. Although there has been substantial controversy over this issue, with some people arguing that drinking has some health benefits, research has proven that in most cases, alcohol is harmful to human health. This is especially the case with people who have certain conditions like liver disease, or people who are taking medication that can negatively react with alcohol.
Lietz, Jessica. “Side effects of drinking alcohol”. 1999 – April, 2011,
Marsh, Jennifer. “Alcohol addiction and its side effects”. 2009 – April, 2011,
Tresca, Amber. “Effects of drinking alcohol on IBD”. 2009 – April 2011,