What Are the Effects of Drinking Alcohol Every Day?

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Alcohol, or ethanol, is a widely used chemical substance linked to various levels of intoxication. Daily alcohol use can lead to adverse physical and mental health effects. WIth the risk of developing alcohol use disorder, understanding the effects of drinking alcohol every day can allow you to make the most informed health decisions.

If you are consuming alcohol daily and you find it difficult to stop using alcohol despite negative consequences, you may be experiencing alcohol use disorder. Ending daily alcohol use can improve your health and wellness, though it is not always easy to quit without help. Here at Guardian Recovery, we provide you with evidence-based, comprehensive care to help you navigate and recover through your substance use. Contact us today to learn more and begin your recovery journey.

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Short-Term Effects of Drinking Alcohol Every Day

There are many short-term effects associated with drinking alcohol every day. These short-term effects, with time, can develop into serious long-term consequences. Understanding these short-term consequences can influence early interventions, as these have been found to be effective in combating negative alcohol outcomes.

Alcohol & the Gastrointestinal Tract

The gastrointestinal tract is a collection of organs, part of the digestive system, that liquids and foods pass through. The gastrointestinal tract consists of the mouth, throat, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, rectum, and anus. (1) The gastrointestinal tract is the first point of contact for alcohol once it is consumed in the body. Alcohol use has various negative effects on the gastrointestinal tract.

Alcohol use can irritate the muscles between the esophagus and stomach, increasing the likelihood of heartburn. (2) Alcohol use can also irritate the lining of the esophagus, increasing the chances of ulcers and cancer. (3) Daily alcohol use can lead to diarrhea due to its impact on both the small and large intestines. Gastroesophageal reflux disease, also known as GERD, is a severe condition that causes the contents in the stomach to travel back up the esophagus. (4) Symptoms of GERD include heartburn, nausea, and chest pain. (5) Alcohol is known to irritate and exacerbate the symptoms of GERD.

Alcohol & the Heart

The heart is a crucial organ in the body, as it pumps blood throughout the body. (6) Regular alcohol use can lead to high blood pressure or hypertension. (7) Over time, high blood pressure can put so much strain on the heart that it can lead to stroke, coronary heart disease, or heart attack. (8) If you currently have or have had any heart conditions in the past, it is important that you do not consume alcohol as it can be dangerous. Chronic alcohol use has also been linked to sudden cardiac death, or SCD. (9) SCD happens when the heart suddenly stops beating. (13) Alcohol use has been found to be one the main causes of SCD.

Alcohol & the Kidneys

There are two kidneys in the body, each filtering blood. The kidneys remove all waste that has built up in the body, and it produces urine from extra water. (10) Regular alcohol use and binge drinking can lead to kidney failure. (11) Frequent alcohol use can affect that excretory system and cause frequent urinations. (12) Kidney damage, kidney stones, and urinary tract infections are all effects of alcohol use. This is due to the kidneys not being able function properly, or receive the necessary hormones when alcohol is involved.

Alcohol & the Liver

The liver is an important organ that performs various bodily functions. These functions include controlling chemical levels in the blood, filtering chemicals ingested from food, storing nutrients, removing waste, creating bile, and breaking down medications. (13) Excessive alcohol use can cause alcohol-related liver disease. (14) The first stage of alcohol-related liver disease is alcoholic fatty liver disease, caused by fats building up in the liver. (15) Alcohol hepatitis is the second stage, and the symptoms include jaundice, loss of appetite, and vomiting. (16) Alcohol hepatitis is severe and can be life threatening. Cirrhosis, the third stage, occurs when the liver has developed permanent scarring and damage. (17) Symptoms do not present until the liver has reached serious damage. Symptoms include tiredness, unwanted weight loss, abdominal pain, vomiting, personality changes, confusion, itchy skin, edema, jaundice, and darkened urine. (18) A doctor may recommend cutting back or completely stopping alcohol use to alleviate these symptoms.

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Alcohol & the Vascular System

The vascular system, also known as the circulatory system, includes vessels that carry blood, oxygen, and nutrients throughout the body. (19) The main role of the vascular system is to maintain blood levels and remove wastes. The arteries, within the vascular system, carry blood from the heart (20), while veins carry blood to the heart. (21) Regular alcohol use affects the vascular system by leading to high cholesterol. (22) Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in the body. When the body has too much cholesterol, the arteries become clogged and narrow. (23) This can lead to blood clots, which in turn can lead to heart attack or stroke.

Physical Effects of Chronic Alcohol Abuse

Chronic or excessive alcohol use can cause serious physical effects to the body.

These physical effects include: (24)

  • Cardiomyopathy — Stretching of the heart muscle.
  • Arrhythmias — Heart beats that become irregular.
  • Fibrosis — Scarring of tissues.
  • Impairments within the immune system.

Mental Effects of Long-Term Alcohol Use

Alcohol use can affect how the brain communicates and causes psychological dependence. (25) This can lead to mental health effects such as memory loss, social impairments, difficulties with learning, anxiety, and depression. Alcohol use disorder is one of the main effects of long-term alcohol use. (26) Comorbid mental health diagnoses, such as anxiety disorders (27) and depressive disorders, are common with alcohol use disorder. (28) Guardian Recovery provides dual diagnosis treatment if you or a loved one are experiencing alcohol use disorder in combination with any co-occurring supplemental disorders.

Diseases Caused by Long-Term Alcohol Use

With alcohol affecting the gastrointestinal tract, the heart, kidneys, liver, and vascular system, there is no surprise that long-term alcohol use can lead to chronic diseases. There have been twenty-five chronic diseases identified by the International Classification of Disease that are caused by alcohol use. (29) Many of these diseases can be treated if they are identified early on, while others may be too severe to treat.

Diseases that have a direct link to alcohol use include: (30)

  • Dementia
  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Pancreatitis
  • Seizures
  • Anemia
  • Liver disease
  • Lung disease
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Some cancers

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If you consume alcohol every day, or regularly, you are allowing your body to become accessible to various mental and physical health concerns. If alcohol use is impacting your social, occupational, or other important areas of your life, you may be experiencing alcohol use disorder. Identifying alcohol use disorder in oneself may be difficult. If you are finding it difficult to stop your alcohol use, engaging in risky behaviors, or you are needing to consume more alcohol to experience the same effects, it may be time to seek professional help.

Here at Guardian Recovery, we provide intervention and detoxification services to aid you in safely beginning the steps to sobriety. Therapeutic and life skills training sessions are provided here at Guardian Recovery to ensure that you have the necessary tools and coping strategies to maintain your sobriety and wellness. Contact us today for more information and to receive a free, no obligation health insurance benefit check.

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Disclaimer: Does not guarantee specific treatment outcomes, as individual results may vary. Our services are not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis; please consult a qualified healthcare provider for such matters.

  1. https://www.cancer.gov/publications/dictionaries/cancer-terms/def/gastrointestinal-tract
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6826790/#:~:text=Alcohol%2Dinduced%20digestive%20disorders%20and,%2C%20flatulence%2C%20and%20abdominal%20pain
  3. https://guardianrecovery.com/drug-and-alcohol-detox-and-recovery/does-alcohol-cause-esophageal-cancer/
  4. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/acid-reflux-ger-gerd-adults
  5. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/acid-reflux-ger-gerd-adults/symptoms-causes
  6. https://www.britannica.com/science/heart
  7. https://www.bhf.org.uk/informationsupport/heart-matters-magazine/medical/effects-of-alcohol-on-your-heart
  8. https://guardianrecovery.com/drug-and-alcohol-detox-and-recovery/can-alcohol-cause-a-heart-attack/
  9. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1467026/
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK507854/
  11. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/kidney-disease/kidneys-how-they-work
  12. https://www.kidney.org/news/kidneyCare/winter10/AlcoholAffects#:~:text=Alcohol%20causes%20changes%20in%20the,and%20organs%2C%20including%20the%20kidneys
  13. https://guardianrecovery.com/drug-and-alcohol-addiction/why-does-alcohol-cause-frequent-urination/
  14. https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/theliver.htm
  15. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/alcohol-related-liver-disease-arld/
  16. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/alcohol-related-liver-disease-arld/
  17. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK470217/
  18. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/liver-disease/cirrhosis
  19. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/liver-disease/cirrhosis/symptoms-causes
  20. https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/circulatory-system
  21. https://kidshealth.org/en/teens/heart.html#:~:text=The%20circulatory%20system%20is%20made,waste%20products%2C%20like%20carbon%20dioxide
  22. https://kidshealth.org/en/teens/heart.html#:~:text=The%20circulatory%20system%20is%20made,waste%20products%2C%20like%20carbon%20dioxide.
  23. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7230699/
  24. https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/cholesterol/about-cholesterol
  25. https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/cholesterol/about-cholesterol
  26. https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohols-effects-health/alcohols-effects-body
  27. https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/brochures-and-fact-sheets/understanding-alcohol-use-disorder
  28. https://guardianrecovery.com/drug-and-alcohol-detox-and-recovery/the-relationship-between-alcohol-and-anxiety/
  29. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3908707/
  30. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/alcohol-misuse/risks/

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Reviewed professionally for accuracy by:

Ryan Soave

L.M.H.C.

Ryan Soave brings deep experience as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, certified trauma therapist, program developer, and research consultant for Huberman Lab at Stanford University Department of Neurobiology. Post-graduation from Wake Forest University, Ryan quickly discovered his acumen for the business world. After almost a decade of successful entrepreneurship and world traveling, he encountered a wave of personal and spiritual challenges; he felt a calling for something more. Ryan returned to school and completed his Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling. When he started working with those suffering from addiction and PTSD, he found his passion. He has never looked back.

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Cayla Clark

Cayla Clark grew up in Santa Barbara, CA and graduated from UCLA with a degree in playwriting. Since then she has been writing on addiction recovery and psychology full-time, and has found a home as part of the Guardian Recovery team.

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