Short-term and Long-term Health Risks Associated With Alcohol Use Disorder

Alcohol use disorder is a medical condition associated with the inability to control the urge to drink alcohol despite the adverse effects patients may experience. The results of alcohol abuse can vary depending on the victim’s age, gender, or health condition. Since it can cause severe physical and mental health issues, victims can visit an alcohol rehab institution for recovery and self-discovery. Here are the short- and long-term health risks of alcohol use disorder.

Short-Term Health Risks

The short-term health risks associated with alcohol use can depend on the amount of alcohol and frequency of drinking. Some effects can be related to the individual’s characteristics like weight, body fat percentage, sex, and whether they have eaten before alcohol intake. Short-term health effects can be treatable under alcohol rehab programs. Some short-term health effects of alcohol abuse can include:

Alcohol Poisoning

Drinking too much alcohol or taking it too fast can increase its composition in the blood, reaching toxic levels. Alcohol poisoning can have serious complications like breathing difficulties, seizures, or comas.


Since alcohol is a diuretic, it can cause the brain to remove fluids in your blood system much quicker. Higher renal activity within the kidneys can cause excessive urination. The alcohol user can lose vital fluids and electrolytes, resulting in hangovers, headaches, fatigue, and nausea.

Reduced Coordination and Reaction Time

Alcohol can slow down the nervous system, affecting coordination and reaction time. This impairs fine motor skills and balance, increasing the risk of accidents and injuries.

Impaired Judgment

Alcohol intake can affect the brain’s functioning, impairing its ability to process information. This can lead drunk individuals to make poor choices and engage in risky behavior.

Long-Term Health Risks

Continued alcohol use can have more chronic effects on different body organs or systems. Here are some long-term health risks of alcohol use disorder:

Mental Health Issues

Alcohol use can alter the brain’s structure and chemistry, impairing mood-regulating neurotransmitters. This can cause mental health issues like anxiety, depression, and insomnia.  Liver diseases can impair cognitive functioning, leading to brain damage, dementia, and memory loss. 

Digestive Issues

Excessive alcohol use can cause mucosal damage and kill gut bacteria, causing digestive issues. Digestive problems like ulcers, gastritis, and pancreatitis can cause discomfort. Patients can also experience malnutrition since alcohol affects internal absorption. 

Liver Disease

Harmful alcohol levels can cause fat build-up in the liver, affecting its functioning. This can cause liver diseases like cirrhosis, fatty liver, alcohol hepatitis, and liver cancer. Liver diseases impair liver cell metabolism, affecting alcohol and substance processing. 

High Blood Pressure

Excessive alcohol use can affect muscles in the blood vessels, causing them to become narrower. This can increase the risk of hypertension and other cardiovascular diseases. Patients can also experience inflammation, arrhythmias, and clotting, which can cause stroke and irregular blood flow.

Seek Treatment in an Alcohol Rehab Center

Alcohol use disorder can negatively affect the victim’s health in the short and long term. Despite the adverse effects, the victims often cannot control or stop drinking alcohol. Alcohol rehab centers have programs that can help treat alcohol dependence and withdrawal. Victims can enjoy rehabilitation and self-discovery within the treatment program.

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