Drinking alcohol every day can have serious consequences on your health. It can cause lasting damage to the stomach and digestive lining, leading to what research calls leaks. It can also cause fibrosis or scarring of liver tissue, alcoholic hepatitis, and even liver failure. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines heavy drinking as more than 8 drinks per week for women and 15 drinks for men.
Moderate alcohol consumption is defined as two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women. When researchers compared groups of binge drinkers and heavy drinkers with moderate drinkers, they discovered that an alcohol-induced gene modification process called methylation changed two genes in the body of people in the first group. One of those genes, known as PER2, affects the body's biological clock, and the other, POMC, regulates the stress response system. This finding provides evidence that heavy drinking can actually alter genes and that these specific epigenetic changes in these specific genes are associated with an increased desire to drink alcohol.
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) cites several studies that show that alcohol increases the risk of certain types of cancer, including those affecting the mouth, throat, liver, and breasts. Heavy drinkers are five times more likely than non-drinkers to get esophageal cancer. Even moderate alcohol consumption almost doubles the chances of mouth and throat cancer. Common health effects of excessive alcohol consumption include damage to the heart, liver and nerves, as well as memory problems and sexual dysfunction.
Research has linked alcohol abuse to numerous health problems, from liver disease to depression and cancer. Alcohol use disorder is powerful and affects many people. It is important to know exactly how much alcohol you are drinking. The CDC defines a beverage as 12 ounces (oz) of any beer with an alcohol by volume (alcohol by volume) of 5 percent or less, an amount exceeded by many craft beers, 5 oz of wine, or 1.5 oz of distilled beverages such as vodka or rum.
These serving sizes are often inflated by shedding, so you may be drinking more than you think. Drinking more than the limits recommended by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism places you in the category of “at-risk drinking”. If you drank alcohol every day (and still do), the effects last longer and are more dangerous than you think. This is because alcohol reduces the effectiveness of the immune system, which increases the likelihood of getting an infection. In addition, chronic alcohol use can contribute to the development of many different mental health conditions or worsen existing psychiatric illnesses. If you think that you or a loved one needs treatment for alcohol addiction, do not wait to seek help, as the consequences can be dire.
Adults in good health may participate in more social activities and enjoy moderate amounts of alcohol, but alcohol has nothing to do with making them healthier.