Alcohol entails risks in the short and long term. If you drink a lot of alcohol for a long time, you may become addicted.
In the short-term
Those who drink alcohol may feel tired, nauseous and thirsty the next day. If you drink a lot, it may happen that you are unable to remember anything afterwards (black out).
Alcohol may increase the desire to make love, but it reduces sexual performance.
It is never a good idea to drink alcohol when you are pregnant . This can damage your unborn child. Even when you are breastfeeding, you should not drink.
When you are drunk, it is difficult to assess risks. In traffic, but also at work and during leisure time, it may lead to accidents, wrong decisions, etc.
Alcohol can provoke aggression and lead to fights, but also intimate partner violence for example.
In the long term
Alcohol abuse affects the entire body. This is known to include damage to the liver, the pancreas and the brain.
Alcohol abuse may contribute to various forms of cancer. It may also lead to memory disorders and damage to the nervous system.
Too much alcohol is bad for the heart. It increases blood pressure, which increases the chance of a heart attack. It may also increase the level of bad cholesterol.
Alcohol may also cause one to put on weight. On the other hand, alcoholic beverages contain few nutritious substances. This creates shortages. Those who drink a lot may, in the long run, lose weight, become malnourished and weakened.
Although many people feel that alcohol helps them to sleep better, it is actually a bad sedative. After drinking alcohol, you sleep less deeply. The feeling of being able to fall asleep more easily quickly disappears. There is a risk that people will drink more and more in order to be able to sleep.
Alcohol abuse may give rise to both physical and mental addiction:
- Physical dependence means that your body needs more and more alcohol to feel the same effect. Those who drink a lot and suddenly stop, feel sick.
- Mental dependency means that one has the feeling of no longer being able to function without alcohol.
Breaking the habit
Alcohol also has physical affects. After a period of drinking a lot of alcohol, suddenly stopping or significantly reducing consumption may be accompanied by shaking, sweating, nervousness, agitation, anxiety, vomiting and insomnia. This can lead to life-threatening situations, e.g. owing to epileptic attacks. For this reason, it is best to get break the habit under doctor's guidance.
When the physical addiction is over, the strong urge for alcohol may still cause difficult moments. These psychic withdrawal symptoms gradually decrease, but may last for many months. Professional guidance may help you in dealing with this.