Risks

Short-Term Health Risks

Excessive alcohol use has immediate effects that increase the risk of many harmful health conditions. These are most often the result of binge drinking and include the following:

  • Injuries, such as motor vehicle crashes, falls, drownings, and burns.6,7
  • Violence, including homicide, suicide, sexual assault, and intimate partner violence.6-10
  • Alcohol poisoning, a medical emergency that results from high blood alcohol levels.11
  • Risky sexual behaviors, including unprotected sex or sex with multiple partners. These behaviors can result in unintended pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV.12,13
  • Miscarriage and stillbirth or fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) among pregnant women.6,12,14,15

Long-Term Health Risks

Over time, excessive alcohol use can lead to the development of chronic diseases and other serious problems including:

  • High blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, liver disease, and digestive problems.6,16-21
  • Cancer of the breast, mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, and colon.6,22
  • Learning and memory problems, including dementia and poor school performance.6
  • Mental health problems, including depression and anxiety.6,23
  • Social problems, including lost productivity, family problems, and unemployment.6,24,25
  • Alcohol dependence, or alcoholism.6

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


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