Let’s face it. Heavy drinking is little more than a socially acceptable form of suicide. And alcohol consumption is on the rise.

As a society, we know alcohol kills. In fact, between 2020 and 2021, more than 178,000 people in the United States died from excessive alcohol use. That’s over 3 times the number of lives claimed by suicide in the same year.

Sadly, we know heavy drinking destroys not only lives but also families and entire communities as well.

Yet, we still promote going out and getting hammered on a Friday night as a great way to celebrate achievements. We treat suicidal people with caution and care while shrugging off our heavy-drinking coworkers as totally normal.

Here are 4 deadly dangers associated with alcohol consumption that we all need to be reminded of.

1. Liver Damage

shutterstock_348764906 fatty liver alcohol consumption

For both men and women, exceeding 50 grams of alcohol daily is enough to cause serious liver damage. That’s just five 12 oz. beers.

Drinking higher than that amount overloads your liver with the toxic enzyme acetaldehyde. This enzyme damages your liver cells, causing permanent scarring. Alcohol also damages your intestine, flooding your liver with toxins normally contained by your gut.

These effects lead to a number of diseases, including fatty liver disease (now called steatotic liver), hepatitis, cirrhosis, and an autoimmune disorder.

2. Increased Cancer Risk

Earlier this year, researchers released groundbreaking information highlighting alcohol’s connection to several types of cancer. That includes cancers of the mouth and throat, esophagus, larynx, liver, colon, rectum, bowel and breast.

This risk, of course, especially applies to heavy drinkers. One study revealed that for every two drinks you consume daily, your risk of bowel cancer increases by 8%.

It turns out that alcohol acts as a solvent, making it easy for environmental carcinogens (of which there are a ton) to get into your body.

3. Dehydration

alcohol consumption dehydration

Once inside your body, alcohol acts as a diuretic, making your body flush out far more water than the alcoholic beverage provided it. This is because booze blocks the hormone ADH, which tells your kidney to reabsorb water.

This dehydration affects both your skin and hair. Could that be why we can sometimes “just tell” when someone overconsumes? Over time, it also leads to severe and permanent brain damage.

But dehydration isn’t the only way alcohol attacks your brain…

4. Mental Illness

With time – once the relaxed, calming effect has worn off – booze acts as a depressant. This is because of the way alcohol messes with your brain chemistry, throwing off the delicate balance of neurotransmitters that help you function normally.

For people who drink heavy regularly, this effect can become permanent. Eventually, alcohol consumption in any amount will lose any calming effect and instead produce anxiety or aggression.

Are you wondering if you should to drink less alcohol? Have a look at this post for 5 signs that may be true.

Check out the video below for more information on how alcohol affects your health.

Centers for Disease Control
ABC Science
Cleveland Clinic
Journal Alcohol Research
Total Beauty
Johns Hopkins Medicine