What Are the Risks of Drinking Alcohol?

Drinking alcohol causes damage to your health in both the short term and long term, even for moderate drinkers. For individuals who suffer from addiction to alcohol and frequently drink in excess, these risks become higher. Knowing the risks of drinking alcohol is important to help avoid drinking to excess and reduce the likelihood of these risks.

Short-Term Risks of Drinking Alcohol

There are many short-term risks that occur when drinking alcohol. These risks can happen to anyone, including individuals suffering from alcohol use disorder, or individuals who are drinking for the very first time.


When you drink alcohol to excess, your body will undergo changes. These changes include impaired balance, blurry vision, lowered inhibition, and more. This can lead to dangerous and potentially life-threatening injuries, including:

  • Falls
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Drownings
  • Bumping into walls, doors, and objects
  • Burns


Alcohol consumed in excess can cause people to act aggressively. Alcohol can exacerbate anxiety, stress, anger, unresolved conflicts, and more. All of these things can lead to violence. Abusive behavior — whether mental, emotional, or physical — can be directed toward loved ones; physical fights can break out, and sexual assault rates become higher. Violent behavior can also lead to murder and suicide, whether intended or not.

Legal Issues

One poor decision made while intoxicated can impact the rest of your life. This often leads to legal issues such as drunk driving offenses, violent offenses, disorderly conduct, and more. Legal issues stemming from alcohol are often taken very seriously and can have severe financial consequences. Additionally, legal issues can disrupt your life and make it difficult to find a job or a home. The stress of these legal issues can also cause damaging effects on relationships at home or in the workplace.

Risky Behavior

One of the side effects of alcohol is lowered inhibitions. You might act out in ways you normally wouldn’t if you were sober. Behaviors can include risky drinking, risky sexual behaviors, driving while under the influence, and more. When blood alcohol content reaches high levels, you can blackout and have no real control over your actions. This is a life-threatening danger that could lead to severe consequences such as jail, unintended pregnancy, sexually-transmitted diseases, alcohol poisoning, and more.

Long-Term Risks of Drinking Alcohol

Mental Health Conditions

One of the many side effects of alcohol use is increased anxiety, depression, and stress. If you have underlying mental health conditions, alcohol can make these symptoms even worse. In an effort to soothe these negative feelings, you may turn to alcohol to help, when in actuality, it only gets worse.

The only way to break the cycle of alcohol worsening anxiety and depression is by abstaining from alcohol and receiving treatment for the underlying mental health condition. By receiving treatment for one and not the other, the cycle will eventually spark again. That is why it is so important to choose a treatment center that addresses both concurrently in dual diagnosis.

Physical Health Conditions

Alcohol can increase the risk of many health conditions, such as:

  • High blood pressure
  • Liver disease
  • Digestive issues
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Breast cancer
  • Mouth and throat cancer
  • Liver cancer and failure
  • Colon cancer
  • Memory loss
  • Dementia

Problems in Society

One of the many risks of drinking alcohol is societal problems. These can include:

  1. Family problems. Drinking alcohol to excess can cause issues within the family that can to divorce, fractured relationships with children, becoming uninvited to family functions, and many more.
  2. Financial issues. Drinking alcohol is an expensive habit can lead to frivolous impulse spending, expensive legal issues, lost wages, and too much money spent on alcohol.
  3. Homelessness. Alcoholism has the power to completely ruin an individual’s life to the point that they become homeless. Combining mental health conditions, a lost job, a fractured family, and financial issues can easily lead to homelessness.

Alcohol Use Disorder

Above all, one of the biggest risks of drinking alcohol is alcohol use disorder. Alcoholism greatly increases all of the risks of drinking alcohol. Alcohol use disorder is not only a dangerous condition that yields scary negative consequences, but it can also lead to death.

Some of the signs of alcohol use disorder include:

  • Inability to stop or control use
  • Drinking at inappropriate times of the day, such as in the morning or during work
  • Isolation from loved ones
  • Denial
  • Hiding or lying about drinking patterns
  • Loved ones expressing concern

About Cliffside Malibu

The easiest way to avoid the risks of drinking alcohol is to avoid drinking alcohol. However, for millions of people, it is not as easy as it seems. Medical intervention is often required to quit drinking alcohol for good and reduce the risks of all the dangers that alcohol presents.

Since no two addictions are the same, Cliffside Malibu offers an individualized treatment plan for every client. We are committed to providing evidence-based treatment through a continuum of care model including medically supervised detox, residential treatment, day treatment, and outpatient services. Our program also includes family therapy and holistic therapy, as well. Whether an individual is suffering from substance abuse and/or alcohol addiction, our programs are structured to create a supportive environment where healing can begin.

In addition to world-class treatment, Cliffside Malibu offers luxury accommodations, a serene environment, five-star dining, and plentiful amenities. We understand that addiction treatment is a rigorous process. Therefore, we provide for your comfort and relaxation at every turn, allowing you to rejuvenate, and meet the demands of treatment with your greatest energy and attention.

For more information on Cliffside Malibu, visit cliffsidemalibu.com