How Alcoholism Affects the Body

Drinking alcohol directly influences the body and over time can harm (and even kill) it. The dangers of alcoholism are apparent, not just because of its effects on everyday areas of life (jobs, relationships, finances) but because of its effects on the body. Prolonged alcohol use can lead to serious and potentially fatal consequences, making alcoholism treatment all the more important.

So how exactly does alcoholism affect the body? The answer is not a simple one. Let’s examine the many dangers of alcoholism below:


Alcoholism has a direct impact on the way the brain functions. Heavy drinking can cause disruptions in the brain’s communication pathways and cause a dramatic change in mood and behavior. Short term effects are difficulties with communication and coordination, but long term effects include destroyed brain cells and shrinking of the frontal lobes, which impairs thinking skills.


The dangers of alcoholism are apparent when examining its effects on the heart. Damage to the heart can happen as a result of high blood pressure, which is often caused by heavy drinking. High blood pressure can lead to heart disease, a devastating and sometimes fatal group of heart conditions. If a person decides to seek and successfully complete alcoholism treatment, however, blood pressure will gradually return to normal and the heart will not continue to be damaged.


When a person drinks alcohol, the pancreas begins to naturally produce toxins. These toxic substances can eventually cause pancreatitis, which is a serious inflammation and swelling of the blood vessels in the pancreas.

Mouth, Esophagus and Throat

The substances in alcohol that physically come into contact with organs in the body, like your mouth, tongue, throat and esophagus, can cause damage over time. Specifically, heavy, long-term drinking can increase risk of mouth, esophagus, throat, liver and breast cancer, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.


The liver is responsible for breaking down and metabolizing alcohol, so naturally it can be damaged by significant amounts and long-term use. Over time, alcoholics can experience severe liver inflammation (alcoholic hepatitis) or liver scarring (cirrhosis). Liver diseases caused by alcohol can be fatal.

Immune System

Yes, alcoholism has an impact on the body’s immune system. In fact, heavy drinking has been shown to weaken the body’s ability to fight off diseases and illness, which is why alcoholics are more likely to come down with conditions like pneumonia and tuberculosis than people who don’t drink.

You can see clearly how alcoholism affects the body – from the heart and brain to the liver and immune system. There is no question that heavy, long-term drinking is harmful to the body and makes evident the dangers of alcoholism. Don’t do this to your body. Seek the alcoholism treatment you need to get back on track towards health today.

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