Alcohol and Illness

Is there a risk of death when drinking alcohol?

Although alcohol is a socially acceptable drug, many people enjoy alcohol casually and without any second thoughts. Unfortunately, most people are unaware of the damage and harm they can put themselves at risk too.

In Northern Ireland alone, alcohol-related deaths have doubled in numbers since 1994, and in the UK in 2014 there were 8,697 recorded alcohol-related deaths.

Side Effects

Many people are prone to immediate side effects when drinking alcohol. Conditions such as nausea, dizziness, headaches and an upset stomach are common. Side effects lead to vomiting, distorted vision, hearing and breathing difficulties as you increase your intake of alcohol.

Binge drinking can result in anxiety, memory loss and blackouts; Long-term and heavy drinking can result in serious long-term side effects such as brain damage. These effects will distort your behaviour and the ability to remember and can cause serious mental health problems.

Here are just some negatives that alcohol can have on your body:

  • LUNGS – You have an increased chance of getting a lung infection, suffer from collapsed lung/s and have a higher risk of pneumonia.
  • STOMACH –Your stomach produces more acid than usual which can inflame the lining of the stomach and cause vomiting. Severe pain and diarrhoea can occur, and in more serious cases, bleeding which all stops food from being absorbed properly
  • KIDNEYS – Drinking heavily can result in a higher blood pressure, a leading cause of chronic kidney disease
  • WEIGHT GAIN – Alcohol contains almost as many calories as fat, consuming an excess can result in rapid weight gain
  • LIVER – Continued excessive drinking can cause the liver to become inflamed, leading to alcoholic hepatitis, liver failure and even death.
  • HEART AND CIRCULATION – Drinking alcohol can result in higher blood pressure which increases the danger of heart attacks & stroke. 
  • SKIN – Alcohol dehydrates your body and dries out your skin, resulting in dry, flaky appearance making skin look red and/or blotchy.
  • MENTAL HEALTH – Although people use alcohol as a coping mechanism to relieve stress, alcohol actually worsens your mood and even creates cases of anxiety, depression, personality disorders and dangerous behaviour. The Mental Health Foundation reported that 65% of suicides are linked to excessive alcohol consumption. Around 33% of suicides involving young people and adolescents take place when the person is under the influence of alcohol. 70% of men who commit suicide drank alcohol before taking their life.

Your body and vital organs are all at risk when you drink alcohol regularly, are a heavy drinker, or binge drink. By gradually reducing and/or stopping your alcohol intake you can significantly decrease your chances of getting long term side effects and serious health problems.

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