The vast majority of us will enjoy a daily drink or a weekly session with our friends without worrying about the effects it’s having on our health. After all, it’s only a problem if you’re an alcoholic isn’t it?
Believe it or not however, most people who have alcohol-related health problems are not alcoholics - they’re simply people who have regularly drunk more than the recommended levels for some years. Although there are no guaranteed safe levels of drinking, if you drink less than the recommended daily limits, the risks of permanently damaging your health are reduced.
Most people who regularly drink more than the recommended amounts don’t even see the harmful effects at first. Alcohol’s hidden harms usually only emerge after a number of years and by then, serious health problems may have already developed.
Just a few of these can include liver problems, reduced fertility, high blood pressure, increased risk of various cancers and heart attacks. The effect that alcohol has on your health will depend on how much you drink so naturally, the more you drink, the greater the health risks.
- Compared to non-drinkers, if you regularly drink above higher-risk levels:
- You could be 3-5 times more likely to get cancer of the mouth, neck and throat
- You could be 3-10 times more likely to develop liver cirrhosis
- Men may be four times more likely to have high blood pressure and women twice as likely
- You are twice as likely to have an irregular heartbeat
- Women are around 1.5 times more likely to get breast cancer
Other common side-effects of drinking too much alcohol include feeling tired or depressed, gaining weight, having trouble sleeping and being more argumentative.
If you think that you or someone you know could have a problem with alcohol abuse, please feel free to visit our Alcohol Addiction Treatment and Rehabilitation page for more information about the signs, symptoms and different types of treatments that are available.