There are many health problems that can develop as a result of drinking too much alcohol.
Some of these include:
Sleep problems - Although alcohol can help us to fall asleep, it stops us from going into deep sleep, which we need to feel refreshed and alert. Even small amounts of alcohol can affect sleep.
Early ageing - When we get dehydrated and don't sleep properly our skin and hair gets damaged. Alcohol also expands blood vessels, causing thread veins.
Weight gain - Alcohol can be high in calories, for example four pints of beer (3.6% abv) in a day amounts to 700 calories. This is over a third of a man's recommended daily intake of calories. A single 175ml glass of wine can contain 200 calories.
Fertility and impotence - Alcohol can reduce male fertility by lowering sperm counts and testosterone levels. More than 80% of men who drink heavily are believed to have serious sexual side effects, including impotence, sterility or loss of sexual desire.
Lack of vitamins - Alcohol can suppress the appetite and give us energy but drinking without eating meals has a direct effect on the balance of vitamins in the body. This can cause a lot of health problems.
Liver disease - Heavy drinking can cause fatty liver, hepatitis, cirrhosis and cancer of the liver.
Mental health problems - Although alcohol can lift our mood in the short term, it's a depressant drug, which can cause anxiety and depression.
Other health risks - More generally, drinking just a bit more than you should over time, can seriously harm your liver. Binge drinking especially is a risk factor in developing heart disease and alcohol is the leading cause of throat and mouth cancer, second only to tobacco.
Alcohol is also linked to bowel and liver cancer. Drinking too much can also cause bone disease, stroke, inflammation of the pancreas, an irritable stomach and type 2 diabetes.
Our Sensible Drinking booklet has more information and is available in the sidebar of this page. Sensible Drinking is just one in a range of free Alcohol Support and Information leaflets and booklets that can be downloaded here.