According to the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, nearly 15 million people in the U.S. (age 12 and older) had alcohol use disorder. The CDC divides the negative impact of excessive alcohol use into two categories: “short-term” and “long-term” health risks.
Short-Term Health Risks are defined as “the immediate effects of excessive alcohol use that increase the risk of harmful health conditions.” This includes:
- Injuries, such as falls, burns, traffic accidents, etc.
- Violence, such as homicide, suicide, sexual assault or domestic violence
- Risky sexual behaviors resulting in unintended pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases
- Pregnancy complications, such as miscarriage, stillbirth or fetal alcohol spectrum disorders
- Alcohol poisoning
Long-Term Health Risks are defined by excessive alcohol use over time, which “can lead to the development of chronic diseases and other serious problems.” This includes:
- Weakened immune system
- Various types of cancer, such as breast, mouth, throat, esophagus, voice box, liver or colon
- Memory-related issues, such as dementia or poor school performance
- Mental health diagnoses, such as depression and anxiety
- Social problems related to family, career or unemployment
- Other medical concerns like high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke or liver disease
Even in small quantities, alcohol can negatively impact mood, balance, memory and reasoning ability. And—once it’s consumed—alcohol really does go “straight to your head.” It is quickly absorbed by the blood and rapidly spreads throughout the body—affecting almost every organ system.
If you’re interested in pursuing recovery from alcohol use disorder, First Step Recovery can help. Contact us today to learn more!