Substance Use

What Happens When You Drink Alcohol Everyday?

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Drinking alcohol every day can have a significant and lasting impact on your life. From physical to mental, emotional, and social consequences, the effects of drinking alcohol daily are far-reaching.

But what exactly happens when you drink alcohol every day? Let’s explore the physical, mental, emotional, and social implications of daily drinking.

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Moderate Drinking and Alcohol Use Disorder

According to the CDC, to mitigate the potential for alcohol-related harm, the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that adults of legal drinking age choose either: (1) (2)

  • Not to drink
  • Set a limit of two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women

The Guidelines also recommend that people do not drink: (2)

  • If they are pregnant or could be pregnant
  • If they are under the age of 21
  • If they have certain medical conditions, like liver disease or pancreatitis
  • If they are overcoming an alcohol use disorder or their drinking has become difficult to manage
  • Taking medication that may interact with alcohol, including prescription or over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and herbal supplements

Women who are breastfeeding should exercise caution and leave time for alcohol to clear their system before breastfeeding again.

Short-Term Physical Effects

The short-term physical effects of drinking alcohol every day are usually felt within minutes after consuming it and include: (3)

  • Impaired coordination, leading to clumsiness or difficulty walking
  • Slurred speech
  • Slowed reaction time
  • Blurred vision
  • Increased risk of injury due to falls or accidents
  • Fatigue or drowsiness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Headaches, dizziness, or lightheadedness
  • Decreased inhibitions, which can lead to risky behavior like driving while intoxicated
  • Blackouts

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), when individuals are intoxicated, alcohol-related blackouts may cause them to forget events that took place during this period. (4)

After drinking a large amount of alcohol, the brain temporarily stops memories from transferring to long-term storage. This creates “memory gaps.”

Long-Term Effects of Alcohol

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the long-term effects of alcohol include these health conditions: (5)

  • Liver damage (cirrhosis) (6)
  • A weakened immune system makes it harder for your body to fight off infections and diseases
  • High blood pressure, increases your risk for heart attack or stroke
  • Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas), which can cause abdominal pain and diabetes if left untreated
  • Weight gain due to consuming empty calories
  • Heart disease
  • An increased risk for certain types of cancers, such as breast cancer and mouth cancer

The above health risks that heavy drinkers could see in the long term will be explained in more detail below.

Liver Damage and Pancreatitis

Heavy drinking poses a significant risk of liver damage and pancreatitis. Chronic alcohol consumption can lead to liver inflammation, fatty liver disease, and, ultimately, cirrhosis. (6

Pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas, is also linked to excessive alcohol intake, impacting digestion and nutrient absorption.

Cardiovascular Complications

Long-term heavy drinking contributes to cardiovascular complications. It may elevate blood pressure, increase the risk of heart disease, and disrupt normal heart function. (7)

These complications can manifest in conditions like arrhythmias, cardiomyopathy, and an increased likelihood of strokes.

Increased Cancer Risk

Heavy alcohol consumption heightens the risk of various cancers. (8) Commonly associated with alcohol use are cancers of the liver, esophagus, throat, and mouth.

Prolonged alcohol exposure contributes to DNA damage and an elevated susceptibility to cancer development.

Immune System Impairment

Excessive alcohol intake weakens the immune system. This impairment makes the body more susceptible to infections and hampers its ability to defend against illnesses. (9)

Chronic drinkers often experience more frequent and severe infections due to compromised immunity.

Weight Gain and Malnutrition

Heavy drinking is associated with weight gain and malnutrition. Alcoholic beverages often contain empty calories, contributing to weight gain. Simultaneously, excessive alcohol consumption can interfere with nutrient absorption, leading to malnutrition even when caloric intake is high.

This dual impact has adverse effects on overall health and well-being.

Mental Health and Behavioral Effects

Alcohol consumption can have serious mental health problems and emotional effects on the drinker, including:

Cognitive Impairment

Cognitive impairment is one of the most common side effects of drinking alcohol regularly. This includes difficulty concentrating, memory problems, and an inability to think clearly or process information quickly. (10)

In extreme cases, this cognitive impairment can permanently damage certain areas of the brain.

Anxiety and Depression

There is an increased risk of developing anxiety disorders or depression due to the changes in brain chemistry caused by alcohol consumption. Alcohol affects neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, that regulate moods and emotions. (11)

Long-term use can cause these levels to become imbalanced, leading to feelings of hopelessness or despair that could eventually develop into clinical depression when left untreated.

Mood and Emotional Changes

Mood changes are also a common effect of regular alcohol consumption. People who drink heavily may experience irritability, depression, or even anger when not drinking.

These mood swings can be difficult for both the person struggling with addiction as well as their friends and family members.

Sleep Quality

Sleep quality is intimately linked to mental health. Alcohol intake, even in small amounts, can disrupt sleep patterns. While it might induce drowsiness initially, it often leads to fragmented and restless sleep.

Consistently poor sleep quality contributes to mood disorders, increased stress, and diminished cognitive function. (12)

Alcohol Dependency

The relationship between alcohol and mental health is intricate, and dependency exacerbates these complexities. Alcohol dependency can lead to heightened brain damage, which can bring anxiety and depression, and even contribute to the development of mental health disorders. (13)

Breaking this cycle often requires a multifaceted approach involving both addressing alcohol use and providing mental health support. Seeking professional help is vital for managing these intertwined aspects of well-being.

Social and Relationship Consequences of Daily Drinking

Excessive alcohol consumption or binge drinking can lead to serious social consequences.

People who drink heavily may face issues such as:

1. Relationship Problems

Drinking alcohol heavily can lead to relationship problems, both in the short and long term. In the short term, people who drink too much may become more aggressive or behave inappropriately while under the influence of alcohol.

This can cause arguments with family members or friends and lead to strained relationships.

In the long term, heavy drinking can take priority over other activities and relationships as a person becomes increasingly dependent on alcohol.

According to a study published in the National Library of Medicine, family members can be a tremendous source of motivation and encouragement for someone battling AUD, helping them recognize that seeking treatment is the right decision. (14)

Further, family support during recovery plays an integral role in long-term success, providing active assistance when needed.

2. Financial Difficulties

Heavy drinking often leads to financial difficulties due to spending too much money on alcohol or related expenses, such as cab fares after nights out drinking.

Additionally, legal issues related to excessive drinking, such as DUI charges or fines for public intoxication, can be costly and put a strain on finances.

3. Legal Problems

Excessive consumption of alcohol is illegal in many places around the world, and those caught breaking these laws face serious consequences, including:

  • Fines
  • Jail time
  • Community service hours
  • License suspension and revocation
  • Probationary periods

Recognizing the Signs of Alcoholism

Recognizing signs of alcoholism is crucial for early intervention. Look out for:

  1. Increased Tolerance: Needing more alcohol to feel the same effects.
  2. Withdrawal Symptoms: Experiencing discomfort when not drinking. (15)
  3. Loss of Control: Being unable to limit alcohol consumption.
  4. Neglecting Responsibilities: Failing to fulfill work, school, or family obligations.
  5. Social Isolation: Withdrawing from friends or family.
  6. Continued Use Despite Consequences: Drinking despite negative impacts on health or relationships.
  7. Loss of Interest: A decrease in interest in activities once enjoyed.

If you suspect someone is struggling, approach them with care and empathy. Choose a private setting, express concern, and offer support.

Encourage seeking professional help when signs are evident of alcohol or substance abuse, as early intervention improves outcomes.

Treatment and Recovery Options for Alcoholism

Various treatment options exist for alcoholism, catering to diverse needs:

  1. Inpatient Rehabilitation: Intensive residential programs offering 24/7 support.
  2. Outpatient Programs: Flexible treatment allows individuals to stay at home while attending therapy.
  3. Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT): Medications like disulfiram or naltrexone combined with therapy. (16)
  4. Behavioral Therapies: Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and motivational enhancement therapy (MET) help change patterns of thinking. (17)
  5. Support Groups: 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) provide community support.

New methods, such as virtual therapy and telehealth, increase accessibility. Recovery stories underscore the resilience of individuals, emphasizing that recovery is possible. Statistics show that seeking professional help for addiction treatment significantly improves long-term recovery outcomes. 

Tailoring treatment to individual needs increases the likelihood of sustained recovery and improved health problems.

Don’t Let Alcohol Affect Your Life: Get Help Now

Drinking alcohol every day can have serious consequences on your physical, mental, and emotional health as well as your social life. The effects of drinking alcohol every day are not always immediately apparent, but they can be long-lasting and even irreversible. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol dependence, seek help right away.

At Zinnia Health, our experienced, compassionate healthcare members understand the difficulties of alcohol addiction and can guide you through every step in your recovery journey. Get the assistance you need by calling our helpline 24/7 at (855) 430-9439, which also provides hotlines for alcohol abuse, to speak with our knowledgeable admissions and support team.


Call us
Ready to get help?
(855) 430-9439
Why call us? Why call us