What Happens When You Drink Alcohol Everyday, then Stop? [LEARN MORE]

Drinking too much alcohol every day even when you stop can harm your health.

Too much drinking has caused more than 140,000 deaths and 3.6 million years of potential life lost (YPLL) each year in the United States from 2015 – to 2019, shortening the lives of those who died by an average of 26 years.

What Happens When You Drink Alcohol Everyday Then Stop?

Long-term consumption of alcohol leads to body cancer, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, liver disease, and digestive problems

What is a Standard Alcohol Drink?

In the United States, for example, a standard drink contains 0.6 ounces i.e. 14.0 grams or 1.2 tablespoons of pure alcohol.

Usually, this level of pure alcohol can be found in:

  • 5 ounces of 80-proof (40% alcohol content) distilled spirits or liquor (e.g., gin, rum, vodka, whiskey).4
  • 5 ounces of wine (12% alcohol content).
  • 8 ounces of malt liquor (7% alcohol content).
  • 12 ounces of beer (5% alcohol content).

In summary, US standard drink = 12oz beer (5% ABV), 8 oz malt liquor (7% ABV),5oz wine (12% ABV),1.5oz 80-proof (40% ABV) distilled spirit

What is Excessive Alcohol drinking?

Excessive consumption of alcohol includes heavy drinking, binge drinking, and any drinking by people younger than age 21 or by pregnant women.

  • Binge drinking, the most common form of excessive drinking, is defined as consuming:

For Men

Having 5 or more drinks during a single occasion

For Women

For women, 4 or more drinks during a single occasion.

  • Heavy drinking, is defined as consuming:

For Men

Having 15 or more drinks per week

For Women

For women, 8 or more drinks per week.

From experience, I have found out that most people who drink excessively aren’t necessarily alcoholic dependent or alcoholics.

What Is Moderate Drinking?

Moderate drinking in men is 2 drinks or less per 24 hours.

For women, moderate drinking is 1 drink or less in a day.

The following set of people should never drink alcohol, including those who are:

  • Less than age 21
  • Pregnant or may be pregnant
  • Faced with certain medical conditions.
  • Driving, intend to drive, or participate in other activities requiring coordination, skill, and alertness.
  • Taking certain prescription or over-the-counter medications that can interact with alcohol.
  • Recovering from alcoholism or are unable to control the amount they drink.

By adhering to the Dietary Guidelines, you can reduce the risk of harm to yourself or others.

Short-Term Health Risks

Excessive alcohol use has immediate effects that increase the risk of a lot of harmful health conditions.

These are most often the result of binge drinking and include the following:

Alcohol poisoning triggers high blood alcohol levels. This is an emergency case.

Injuries, such as fights, vehicle crashes, falls, burns, and drownings

Violence, including sexual assault, suicide, homicide, and intimate partner violence

Risky sexual behaviors, including sex with multiple persons or unprotected sex. These behaviors can result in unintended pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV and STI.

Short-Term Effects of Drinking Alcohol Every Day

Frequent intake of alcohol on a daily basis can lead to multipole internal organs and systems failing, causing painful symptoms that could lead to long-term consequences such as:

  • Alcohol and the Gastrointestinal Tract

The gastrointestinal (GI) tract refers to the hollow organ that leads from the mouth, via the stomach and small intestines, and finally to the colon.

Because the GI tract is the first recipient of alcohol in your body, alcohol irritates it and makes it suffer inflammation, or redness and swelling.

Chronic alcohol consumption leads to inflammation (a process by which your body recruits cells from the bloodstream to heal damage), which then damages the tissues and triggers various cancer forms.

  • Alcohol and the Heart

Alcohol causes body fluid loss, thereby pushing your heart to work harder to push the same amount of blood.

At the same time, this can increase blood pressure, and alter conduction (electrical signals) in the heart to maintain a steady heartbeat.

Prolonged heavy alcohol use has been linked to sudden cardiac death (SCD), especially in older men.

Heavy alcohol use has also been linked to sudden cardiac death (SCD), especially in older men. During SCD, the heart cells cannot keep a regular rhythm, and it causes the heart to stop suddenly. While SCD is not the same as a heart attack, SCD is the largest cause of natural death in the United States.

  • Alcohol and the Kidneys

Alcohol in the body increases how much urine the kidney produces. This explains why you tend to use the bathroom more when you drink alcohol.

The second way alcohol reduces fluid in your body is by making the cells in other parts of the body retain more water. These might be muscle, fat cells, or skin.

This overworks your kidneys since your blood has less water in it. The kidneys in their bid to keep up begin to filter a more concentrated solution and are exposed to harmful toxins.

Over time, kidney function declines, and toxins are left unfiltered to damage other organs.

  • Alcohol and the Liver

Daily consumption of alcohol is additional work for the liver.

Once the liver becomes scarred from alcohol abuse, it can lead to fibrosis, or hepatitis (inflammation of the liver).

If you don’t desist from taking alcoholic drinks, you might suffer liver failure, eventually.

  • Alcohol and the Vascular System

Most alcoholics have a poor diet. A poor diet can lead to abnormal cholesterol levels.

Cholesterol is a normal and healthy part of the blood that moves the needed molecules around the body, but these molecules can malfunction.

Too much cholesterol in your system will scratch the inner membranes of your arteries and veins, causing mechanical damage, and plenty of cells come to the requirements in their bid to repair the damage.

Since the blood is designed to clot when it repairs the damage, it can mistakenly build a clot on the inside of the vascular system.

If this clot buildup doesn’t stop, it might eventually break off and travel to other parts of the body, which can lead to heart attack, stroke, or pulmonary embolism.

If this clot continues to build, it can break off and travel to other parts of the body, which can lead to heart attack, pulmonary embolism, or stroke.

Long-Term Health Risks

  • Excessive alcohol consumption, in the long run, can cause a wide variety of chronic diseases and other life-threatening conditions such as:
  • Heart disease, high blood pressure, digestive problems, stroke, and liver disease
  • Cancer of the throat, mouth, breast, voice box, esophagus, colon, liver, and rectum
  • A weakened immune system increases your chances of getting sick
  • Learning and memory issues, including poor school performance and dementia
  • Mental health challenges, including depression and anxiety
  • Social issues, including family problems, unemployment, and job-related problems
  • Alcohol use disorder, or alcohol dependence.

By not drinking too much, you can reduce the risk of these short- and long-term health risks.

  • Physical Effects of Chronic Alcohol Abuse

Continuous prolonged consumption of alcohol can cause the following on the different human organs:

  • Arrhythmias
  • Weakened immune system
  • Cirrhosis (widespread fibrosis)
  • Fibrosis (development of scar tissue)
  • Stroke
  • Steatosis (fatty liver disease)

Mental Effects of Long-Term Alcohol Abuse

The emotional and mental effects of daily alcohol intake are less specific than physical effects but are more evident.

The following signs would show up in that combination when alcohol is involved:

Worsened Mental Side Effects

Daily alcohol use has a wide range of mental symptoms, including:

  • Anxiety
  • Antisocial behaviors
  • Cravings
  • Panic
  • Sleep disorders
  • Depression
  • Irritability

Worsened Mental Health Conditions

But, that’s not all. In fact, chronic alcohol use can add to the many developments of new and old mental health conditions or worsen existing psychiatric illnesses, including depressive disorders and anxiety disorders.

When someone is both having a difficult time with mental health conditions and alcohol addiction at the same time, it is referred to as co-occurring disorder.

The good news is, that your doctor can use a dual-diagnosis treatment to address both conditions at the same time during treatment.

What Happens When You Drink Alcohol Everyday, then Stop

Diseases Caused by Long-Term Alcohol Abuse

Chronic diseases caused by long-term alcohol abuse include repeated damage to the

  • GI tract
  • Kidney
  • Liver
  • Heart, and
  • Vascular systems

Some of these can be treated, but the majority of them cannot be reversed once they are diagnosed. So, it is very crucial to recognize and treat alcohol abuse early.

Diseases associated with chronic alcohol abuse include:

  • Gout
  • High blood pressure
  • Anemia
  • Dementia
  • Depression
  • Infectious disease
  • Nerve damage
  • Pancreatitis
  • Seizures
  • Cancers (breast, colorectal, head and neck, and liver)
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Cirrhosis (widespread fibrosis)

What Happens When You Drink Alcohol Everyday Then Stop?

  • Better mental health
  • You’d sleep better
  • Your skin will look better
  • Better looking skin
  • You’d maintain or lose your weight
  • Improved energy levels and better sleep
  • Better relationships and newer, better habits

Author: Dr. Janet Hicks

Dr. Janet Hicks is an addiction medicine physician trained and certified to provide comprehensive care for addiction and substance-related disorders, including the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of such health conditions. With more than 25 years of experience, Doctor Janet Hicks helps you by providing all information required to educate yourself about substance detox and recovery.

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