The Impact of Alcohol on the Immune System - Banyan Treatment Center Pompano

The Impact of Alcohol on the Immune System

alcohol and immune system

While you may have heard whispers of alcohol’s effects on the immune system, you probably brushed it off and decided that it wasn’t anything to be concerned with.

You may have even heard of some studies suggesting health benefits of moderate drinking. So, what is the reality? Everyone has heard that excess drinking is bad for you, but alcohol could be more detrimental to your health than you originally imagined.

As an addiction rehab center, we see people enter into our facilities in various states of health. We want to teach you about alcohol and the immune system to help you recognize the full dangers of alcoholism before it is too late.

Does Alcohol Lower Your Immune System?

Research has shown that heavy drinking can cause changes in the immune system that can lead to numerous serious and even fatal problems. Alcoholics can be found to have abnormal levels and poorly functioning immunoglobulins, lymphocytes, neutrophils, and monocytes leading to immunodeficiency. [1] Essentially, alcohol can alter the immune system in ways that can have devastating results, especially if you neglect to get proper alcohol addiction treatment before these problems arise.

Liver Problems

Perhaps the most obvious adverse effect of heavy alcohol consumption is liver problems. This issue could stem from alcohol-triggered autoimmunity where the body begins to attack its own tissues from the excessive drinking. [1] This problem is serious and can be fatal. In fact, chronic liver disease and cirrhosis were the 12th leading cause of death in the United States in 2016. [2] Liver problems can also lead to hepatitis.

Pneumonia & Tuberculosis

Besides just the liver, alcohol abuse can be harmful to the lungs as well. Pneumonia is an example of alcohol’s effects on the immune system. Pneumonia is a painful and sometimes deadly infection in the lungs and being a heavy drinker of alcohol makes it worse. It has been suggested that people who consume large amounts of alcohol have an 83% increased risk of getting community-acquired pneumonia compared to their moderately-drinking counterparts. [3] Pneumonia may also lead to septicemia, an infection in circulating blood. Tuberculosis is a bacterium that also affects the lungs. Evidence also suggests that people who abuse alcohol are more likely to not only suffer from tuberculosis but also to have more severe cases. [1]

If you are already experiencing some of these problems, then it is time to get medical help and to begin a treatment program like PHP. Waiting any longer could lead to serious consequences.

It is clear that with heavy drinking, alcohol and the immune system just do not mix. Take that first step and get help with your drinking problem today at our drug and alcohol treatment center in Pompano.

Call us now at 888-280-4763 to learn more about our programs and to cap off those liquor bottles once and for all.


  1. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism – Alcohol and the Immune System
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – National Vital Statistics Reports-Deaths: Final Data for 2016
  3. Evangelia Simou, John Britton, Jo Leonardi-Bee – Alcohol and the risks of pneumonia: a systematic review and meta-analysis
Alyssa is Banyan’s Director of Digital Marketing & Technology. After overcoming her own struggles with addiction, she began working in the treatment field in 2012. She graduated from Palm Beach State College in 2016 with additional education in Salesforce University programs. A part of the Banyan team since 2016, Alyssa brings over 5 years of experience in the addiction treatment field.

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