While most of us are familiar with the potential damage heavy drinking can have on a person’s liver over time, there are many more health consequences of consuming alcohol that are less widely known. Drinking in moderation on occasion likely won’t cause long-lasting damage, but if you frequently consume alcohol it can quickly become a health risk. Here are five health potential health impacts of alcohol you may not know about.
1. Bloating and Weight Gain
Since drinking causes inflammation and dehydration, alcohol bloating is a common symptom experienced by those who drink too much or too often. Alcohol is also known to cause weight gain. Most drinks are high in either starches, sugars, or both. Drinking them fills you with empty calories that are of no nutritional benefit. Unfortunately, alcohol may also be detrimental to the body’s ability to burn the excess fat that is built up as a result of drinking.
2. Skin Problems
The dehydrating effects of alcohol can also have an adverse effect on the skin. Puffiness, redness, and dryness are common skin complaints of those who drink heavily. If you are noticing these issues suddenly develop, however, be aware that there may also be another underlying skin condition to blame. It is important to speak with a doctor about any new health problems that arise regardless of what you suspect the cause to be.
3. Mental Health Problems
Alcohol is known to reduce inhibition, which can lead to poor decision-making that has serious consequences. However, lesser known is the potential for alcohol to make problems such as depression or anxiety worse. If alcohol is being used as a coping mechanism for those suffering from mental illness, it increases the chance for an addiction to develop in addition to worsening the already existing symptoms.
Alcohol addiction is a problem that isn’t talked about enough. Once a person starts to rely on alcohol to feel good, they can become addicted in much the same way a person would to a recreational drug. They may go through unpleasant withdrawal symptoms when they don’t drink and experience an intense urge to drink too much and too frequently.
5. Chronic Health Issues
Drinking alcohol is hard on your body, and can lead to some very serious health issues down the road. Problems like certain cancers, heart disease, and weakening of your immune system may not seem connected to alcohol, but drinking too much can increase your chances of all of these.
Know the Risks of Alcohol Consumption
If you aren’t recovering from (or at risk of developing) alcohol addiction, it is likely safe for you to enjoy a drink on occasion. However, knowing the risks of alcohol consumption is important for anyone who chooses to partake in it. Alcohol abuse leads to a long list of problems beyond those that are discussed in this list. With the potential health risks in mind, it’s easy to see why everyone should avoid binge drinking and consider taking a break from alcohol on occasion.