How alcoholism effects your health can be quite severe. The health issues associated to alcoholism can range from anemia, to more serious problems like blood clotting, liver poisoning, and heart conditions. Alcoholism increases the risk of cancer in the esophagus, liver, mouth and pancreas. It can cause both hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia. Alcohol can lead to liver disease, kidney disease, and heart disease. If the alcoholic continues to drink over long periods of time, they can become vulnerable to serious health conditions such as liver failure and brain damage.

Alcoholism Effects on the Brain

Alcohol causes a myriad of physical and psychological problems on a person’s brain. Alcoholism can affect one’s mood and can cause depression, anxiety and certain disorders such as obsessive compulsive disorder, panic attacks and sleep disorders. Alcohol can cause memory loss, confusion and affects sensation, perception, and motor skills. Alcohol cuts the supply of oxygen that is needed in the brain. As a result, a lack of oxygen will damage the cells in the brain. Over time, alcohol can cause permanent brain damage.

Alcoholism Effects on the Stomach and Esophagus

Fifty percent of cancers affecting the esophagus and other parts of the mouth are related to alcoholism. In addition, alcoholism weakens the esophagus and the stomach which can cause vomiting and tears to its tissue. Alcohol also irritates the gastro-intestines which can produce ulcers and erosion to its lining.

Too much alcohol can end up irritating your stomach. Over time, this irritation may result in gastritis, a condition where your stomach becomes inflamed. With gastritis, you may experience bleeding, acid reflux and other digestive problems.

Alcoholism Effects on the Heart:

Alcoholism can result in a variety of heart disease including elevated blood pressure, irregular heart beats and can even lead to heart failure. Alcohol raises blood lipids and can cause strokes.
Alcoholism Effects on Muscle Tissue:
Some types of arthritis are linked to alcoholism. Furthermore, alcoholism can result in muscle atrophy. Muscle atrophy is a condition where the muscles of the body deteriorate. Muscle atrophy induced by alcohol not only makes one feel weak, it can also be painful.

Alcoholism Effects on the Kidneys:

Alcoholism can lead to enlarged kidneys and can cause kidney failure. Renal failure is another very serious consequence associated with alcohol abuse. The reason why this happens is because the kidneys get overworked when a person drinks alcohol. This throws off their functioning, which causes problems in the whole body. Alcohol has a diuretic effect which increases the release of the body’s fluids during urination which can cause dehydration.

Alcoholism Effects on the Liver:

Cirrhosis is a well-known consequence associated with alcoholism. It occurs when the liver develops too much scar tissue. Alcohol can also cause a fatty liver and alcoholic hepatitis.

Alcoholism Effects on the Lungs:

Believe or not, alcohol can cause many problems with your lungs ranging from pneumonia to the collapse of a lung. Alcoholism can also cause severe lung infections.

Alcoholism Effects on the Pancreas:

Alcoholism may cause your pancreas to leak digestive enzymes, resulting in inflammation. The pancreas starts to attack itself, thinking that the enzymes are a foreign body. Alcohol can also lead to certain types of pancreatic cancers.

Alcoholism Effects on the Reproduction System:

Alcoholism affects reproduction because of how it interferes with a person’s hormone production. With men, this means a lower production of sperm. For women, they may experience problems with ovulation, a process that is controlled through estrogen and other feminine hormones.

Alcoholism can cause Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome results in physical and behavioral abnormalities to the fetus during pregnancy.

Alcoholism Effects on the Small Intestines:

In this area of the body, alcohol irritates the lining of the cells. As a result, the small intestines have trouble absorbing and processing the nutrients that pass through it.

Alcoholism Effects on Nutrition

Alcoholism causes malnutrition. Alcohol is a carbohydrate and produces energy in the body’s system. However, alcohol contains very few nutrients. Alcoholism decreases the appetite. The more a person drinks, the less they will eat. Typically, alcoholics do not consume enough nutrient rich calories. Furthermore, alcohol affects the body’s capacity to metabolize nutrients effectively. Alcohol impairs the absorption of vitamins and minerals needed for healthy organ functioning.

Apart from the physical conditions that alcohol can cause on the body, alcoholism has serious and often devastating affects on one’s social status and personal relationships. Alcoholics are more likely to abuse their spouses, go through divorce or have troubles maintaining consistent employment. In the most serious cases, alcoholism can lead to the loss of one’s home, children and all family ties.

Alcoholism affects the family the most, often putting a great deal of strain on the family system. Unfortunately, those that are closest to the alcoholic will make excuses and try to cover up for the alcoholic. Feelings of shame and embarrassment plague the families of alcoholics. Denial also plays a powerful role and the children of alcoholics often suffer the most. This is particular true when the children of alcoholics have to take on the role of caretaker or are the subjects of physical and emotional abuse.

Author's Bio: 

Carolyn Naiman has a Masters in psychology and is a contributing editor to To learn more about the signs of alcoholism and Alcoholism Causes, please visit her website.