The Cumulative and Harmful Effect of Excessive Drinking

Excessive drinking

When people drink alcohol, they consume a substance that has known risks but no known health benefits. There is no amount or level of drinking that is beneficial. Yet, alcohol companies are still some of the largest companies at the helm of one of the largest corporate sectors in America.

Why is something that is so unhealthy so popular? And it’s not just that drinking too much is unhealthy. It’s also that drinking repeatedly is unhealthy. What people need to understand is that there is a cumulative and harmful effect that comes from regular alcohol consumption.

Alcohol addiction in America is a huge problem and must be addressed. But even just moderate drinking that is repeated over time can have harmful effects on the heart, lungs, brain, liver, pancreas, and immune system.

How important is it that people cut back on their drinking? Very important.

Alcohol Addiction in America

Unfortunately, alcohol misuse is quite prominent in the U.S. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, about 14.4 million adults ages 18 and older meet the qualifications for alcohol dependence. Only about seven or eight percent of that number receives treatment each year, and there’s every reason to believe that more people are becoming addicted to alcohol faster than alcohol addicts are getting treatment for their addiction. One step forward, two steps back.

Alcohol misuse is also highly lethal. Not only do more than 14 million people struggle with alcohol addiction in the U.S., but about 88,000 people die from alcohol-related causes every year. Almost 10,000 of those annual deaths are caused by drunk driving alone. Many more are caused by cirrhosis of the liver, alcohol poisoning, or other alcohol-related health problems.

Without a doubt, alcohol misuse is a highly lethal and very concerning problem in America today.

The Effect of Alcohol Consumption on the Body

Even if some people believe that moderate alcohol consumption is okay, they need to consider the cumulative effects of consuming alcohol. There is no denying that alcohol consumption harms the human body. When people drink, even if they don’t drink to excess, but they drink with some degree of frequency, doing so takes a toll.

There is harm when people drink to excess just on one single occasion, and that harm is exacerbated when people drink to excess repeatedly. And there is also harm when people drink in moderation but do so frequently over time.

Here’s a brief look at how alcohol affects different parts of the body:

  • The brain. Alcohol consumption inhibits brain function. Once alcohol enters the bloodstream, it hinders the brain’s communication pathways significantly. Alcohol slows the brain down, hampering reaction time, and essentially making it more difficult for the individual to think clearly and move with precision and coordination.
  • The heart. Drinking too much, even on just one occasion, can damage the heart. Drinking in moderation but repeating alcohol consumption over time is also damaging to the heart. Alcohol can cause a range of heart problems such as cardiomyopathy (the stretching and drooping of heart muscle), arrhythmias (an irregular heartbeat), stroke, high blood pressure, etc.
Leaver affected by alcohol abuse
  • The liver. The liver is severely affected when people drink to excess. Heavy drinking can lead to various liver diseases like steatosis (fatty liver), alcoholic hepatitis, fibrosis, cirrhosis of the liver (one of the leading causes of alcohol-related death).
  • The pancreas. Excessive alcohol consumption takes a toll on the pancreas. When people drink to excess, that can cause pancreatitis, a dangerous inflammation and swelling of the blood vessels in the pancreas.
  • Cancer. There is a great deal of scientific consensus that there is an association between alcohol and multiple types of cancer. The National Toxicology Program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services lists alcohol as a known carcinogen, implicating alcohol in various cancers such as head and neck cancer, esophageal cancer, liver cancer, breast cancer, and colorectal cancer. Based on data sets from 2009, about 3.5 percent of all cancer deaths in the United States were alcohol-related. That accounts for approximately 19,500 deaths.
  • The immune system. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has also reported that alcohol consumption harms the immune system, weakening it and making those who drink more likely to succumb to illnesses and diseases. Chronic drinkers are more likely to succumb to pneumonia and tuberculosis, and even people who don’t drink often but who drink too much on any given occasion will be less able to ward off infections for up to 24 hours after drinking.

Alcohol consumption, even in moderate quantities, has known health risks and no known benefits. If someone you know is drinking to excess, it’s crucial to get them help as soon as possible.

Alcohol Addiction Rehab

If you have a loved one who is engaging in any level of drinking that they cannot control, it’s time to get them help. If their drinking patterns have begun to harm their life or the lives of those around them, it’s time to get them help.

At Narconon, the viewpoint is not that people are addicts for life. The Narconon program seeks to help people get their lives back, forever sober, and totally free of drug and alcohol addiction. At Narconon, it is possible to regain a sober and drug-free life. Narconon offers unprecedented results with a unique program found nowhere else on Earth.

Narconon’s mission is to:

“Provide an effective path for rehabilitation from drug abuse and to assist society in preventing the scourge of drugs worldwide.”
Sober happy man

“Provide an effective path for rehabilitation from drug abuse and to assist society in preventing the scourge of drugs worldwide.”

For over fifty years, Narconon has helped thousands of people regain control of their lives and walk away from drugs and alcohol for life. If you or someone you care about is drinking to excess, contact Narconon today. Don’t let your loved one drink themselves to death. Make the call to Narconon, and take the first step towards helping your loved one turn their life around.




After working in addiction treatment for several years, Ren now travels the country, studying drug trends and writing about addiction in our society. Ren is focused on using his skill as an author and counselor to promote recovery and effective solutions to the drug crisis. Connect with Ren on LinkedIn.