Many Of Us Enjoy An Evening Tipple For Winding Down Or Letting Loose, But It’s Important To Know Your Limits

In the UK, adults are advised not to drink more than 14 units a week on a regular basis. This is equivalent to 6 pints of average strength beer or 10 small glasses of lower strength wine. We’re told to spread these units across 3 or more days rather than binging them in one evening, and to have several drink-free days every week, all according to the NHS.

And yet many people in the UK find themselves pushing past these boundaries on a regular basis. The odd night on the town or boozy night in is something most of us are guilty of, but when this becomes a habit, it can spell disaster for your health.

It’s important to know the facts when it comes to alcohol, which is why we’re outlining some of the negative side effects of drinking too much.

The Short Term Impact Of Too Much Alcohol

Alcohol can have a temporary impact on your mental and physical state. While drinking alcohol, and in the hours after, you may notice some of the following:

  • Relaxation or drowsiness
  • Changes in mood
  • Euphoria or giddiness
  • Lower inhibitions
  • Impulsive behaviour
  • Slurred speech
  • Mobility and coordination issues
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Head pain
  • Diarrhoea
  • Trouble focusing and making decisions
  • Changes in vision, hearing and perception
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Gaps in memory

The Long Term Impact Of Too Much Alcohol

When we drink a lot of alcohol a lot of the time, it can lead to physical and mental health concerns that don’t simply wear off with a good night’s sleep. Some of the longer term effects of frequently drinking alcohol can include:

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  • Insomnia and other sleep problems
  • Persistent changes in mood, such as increased irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Weakened immune system, causing more instances of illness
  • Changes in libido and sexual function
  • Weight fluctuation and changes in appetite
  • Memory problems and difficulty concentrating
  • Trouble focusing on tasks
  • Increased tension in relationships with loved ones

Physical Side Effects Of Alcohol Abuse

When we drink frequently it can play havoc with our physical health, leading to digestive problems, inflammatory damage, circulatory issues and more.

By impacting your digestive system, heavy drinking can lead to gas, bloating, feelings of fullness, diarrhoea and painful stools, ulcers and haemorrhoids. It can also affect your heart and lungs raising your risk of circulatory health concerns such as high blood pressure, heart attack, heart disease, heart failure and stroke.

Drinking heavily can make you more prone to both illness and injury, by affecting your immune system and bone health respectively, putting you in a vulnerable position and opening you up to the possibility of serious health risks down the line.

And on top of all this, heavy drinking can also impact your sexual health. It can both lower your libido and make it more difficult to achieve orgasm. It can also increase your risk of conditions like erectile dysfunction, as achieving and maintaining erection is more difficult for heavy drinkers.

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Psychological Side Effects Of Alcohol Abuse

The side effects of long term drinking aren’t just physical. It can also lead to changes in the brain that impact your memory and concentration, your impulse control, your mood and even your personality. People who drink heavily are much more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression, and there are even clinically listed mental health disorders born directly from alcohol, including:

  • Alcohol induced bipolar disorder
  • Alcohol induced psychotic disorder
  • Alcohol induced sleep disorder
  • Alcohol induced depressive disorder
  • Alcohol induced anxiety disorder

Drinking heavily can lead to a dependence on alcohol, which in turn can result in alcohol withdrawal when you cut yourself off. If you’re worried about your relationship with alcohol, don’t be afraid to seek out help and support.