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Long-Term Effects of Alcohol Abuse

Long-Term Effects of Alcohol Abuse

Drinking can be a fun or leisurely activity for some people when done responsibly, but for alcoholics, drinking poses a much more dangerous threat.

While the short-term effects of alcohol can seem fun, harmless, and even silly on the outside, the alcohol’s long-term effects are much riskier.

What Are the Long-term Effects of Alcohol?

Alcohol is a toxic substance that affects both the brain and the body in even small amounts. If consumed too heavily and too frequently, this damage can have devastating consequences on your health.

The long-term effects of alcohol on the body include:

  1. Liver problems or liver disease
  2. Stomach ulcers
  3. Increased risk of lung problems
  4. Osteoporosis or thinning bones
  5. Pancreatic problems, including pancreatitis
  6. Heart problems like cardiomyopathy or irregular heartbeats
  7. Alcoholic hepatitis
  8. Increased risk of liver, mouth, esophagus, breast, pharynx, and larynx cancer1
  9. Problems with the immune system or decreased efficiency

While you may want to brush off these physical effects, our Chicago drug rehab has worked with plenty of alcoholics who have faced these health issues and who thought that these problems would never happen to them. In 2015, an estimated 47% of liver disease deaths were related to alcohol.1 This means that about half of these deaths were preventable. Another study found that excessive drinking increased the risk of atrial fibrillation, irregular rapid heartbeat, and congestive heart failure by two-fold or more.2 Your excessive drinking is giving your body a heavy beating, but your brain is not safe either.

The long-term effects of alcohol on the brain include:

  • Behavioral or mood changes
  • Nerve damage
  • Brain development problems
  • Brain damage
  • Memory loss
  • Decreased attention or problems learning
  • Stroke

Still think this will not happen to you? It is estimated that 80% of alcoholics have a deficiency in thiamine, which is a big contributing factor in the development of serious brain disorders like Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome.3 Particularly in adolescents, drinking can affect the development of normal brain anatomy and lead to problems later on in life. Our alcohol treatment center in Chicago works with people in all stages of alcohol abuse, and we see what heavy drinking can do to someone. Save yourself the hospital bills by getting help sooner or later.

If you or someone you love is struggling with alcohol abuse, do not wait for these long-term effects to appear. Our partial hospitalization program in Chicago may be able to get your life or the life of your loved one back on track.

To learn more about our substance abuse programs at Banyan Chicago or to get started on your road to recovery, reach out to us today at 888-280-4763.



  1. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism – Alcohol Facts and Statistics
  2. Reuters – Heavy drinking tied to higher risk of heart attacks
  3. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism – ALCOHOL’S DAMAGING EFFECTS ON THE BRAIN
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.
Long-Term Effects of Alcohol Abuse
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