American Addiction Centers National Rehabs Directory
Call (888) 341-7785

What Kind of Damage Does Alcoholism Cause to Your Body?

Many people have a drink from time to time; and in small quantities, alcohol can actually be good for you. It can stave off disease and help you relax, or it can taste nice with a meal. People even have a drink when they’re meeting new clients or celebrating an occasion. The problem with alcohol occurs when you drink too much; more than two alcoholic drinks per night can be a sign of alcoholism in some people.

Over the long term, you can develop a variety of health conditions due to excessive drinking. Some of the things you’d need to look out for include heart disease, strokes, breast cancer, oral cancers, and cirrhosis of the liver. Of course, you may also have mental problems, memory issues, and reduced fertility. Not drinking, of course, doesn’t mean you’ll never have those problems. But, it does mean you’ll have a lower chance of suffering from them.

Alcohol and its effects are well-documented. Studies done have proven how toxic alcoholism can be to the body, and it’s important to understand just how toxic it is. In fact, just a few drinks a week can lead to serious bodily harm.
The amount of alcohol that counts as one drink is also much less than many people think. Consider this: 5 ounces of red wine (one serving) can have up to 12 percent alcohol content, which is much more than a can of beer, which could have between 2 and 10 percent alcohol content in 8 to 12 ounces (one serving). In the end, if you drink 25 ounces of wine, you’ll be ingesting much more alcohol than if you had 25 ounces of beer.

Drinking more than three drinks per day can have a direct effect on your heart. Drinking that much could contribute to the development of high blood pressure, alcoholic cardiomyopathy, strokes, congestive heart failure, and more..

A study published by the British Medical Journal (BMJ) in 2011 showed that alcohol consumption caused around 13,000 cancer cases in the UK that year, which equated to 9,000 men and 4,000 women. Similar research criteria were met in the United States and other countries, and the results did not change. On top of this, the experts argued that only 10 grams of alcohol per day could increase the risk of breast cancer by 7 to 10 percent. That is a huge increase from hardly any alcohol intake, considering a normal drink could be 10 to 30 times that amount.

As far as your fertility is concerned, you might as well be shooting blanks. Alcohol, even when taken in smaller doses, can make women less likely to conceive and men less likely to have a strong sperm count. So, if you’re trying to get pregnant and having trouble, you may want to reduce your alcohol intake as the first step. You’ll want to stay off the drink, too, since alcohol can lead to permanent damage to a developing baby and can cause fetal alcohol syndrome.

“It’s important to remember that a lower dose of alcohol doesn’t mean you’ll have no risk. No amount of alcohol is without risk, and different people will react differently to the substance.”On top of these issues, you can be prepared to deal with a spotty, bloated face, cellulite, digestive problems, like ulcers, depression, problems sleeping, and memory problems. None of these are particularly attractive, and quite a few of those can cause other serious issues in your day-to-day life, so it’s worth considering the consequences.

So, what can you drink, since drinking isn’t always bad? Well, that really depends on what you’re drinking and how much. For men, less than 14 drinks per week is acceptable by the NIAAA, but no more than four of those can be in one day. Women, on the other hand, should have less than three drinks per day and no more than seven drinks per week. It’s not easy to get someone to stop drinking alchol but it’s always possible, call us now to learn more.

It’s important to remember that a lower dose of alcohol doesn’t mean you’ll have no risk. No amount of alcohol is without risk, and different people will react differently to the substance. If you have serious or chronic medical conditions, like cirrhosis, hepatitis C, heart conditions, chronic pain (that you take medication, like NSAIDs, for), or mental disorders, you will be at a higher risk for complications.

If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, alcohol can make it difficult to get pregnant or can hurt the fetus or growing child. If you drive, you won’t want to drink beforehand. Drunk driving is the reason behind many accidents, so it’s best to avoid any alcohol if you plan to drive. Also, if you take medications, make sure you can take them with alcohol. Some will interact, which can cause serious, if not life-threatening, problems. To help an alcohol addict, call our helpline at for more information about alcohol rehab centers and treatment options.

Take Our “Am I Addicted to Alcohol?” Self-Assessment

Take our free, 5-minute “Am I Addicted to Alcohol” self-assessment below if you think you or someone you love might be struggling with drug addiction. The evaluation consists of 11 yes or no questions that are intended to be used as an informational tool to assess the severity and probability of a substance use disorder. The test is free, confidential, and no personal information is needed to receive the result.