Beer, wine, and hard liquor all contain alcohol. If you drink any of these, you use alcohol. Your drinking patterns may vary, depending on who you are with, what you are doing, and other things.
You probably already know that abusing alcohol (drinking too much) can cause many health problems. But even [responsible drinking patterns -60-NEW] can lead to health problems and other problems in your everyday life.
Alcohol Use and Your Health
Long-term abuse of alcohol increases your chance of:
You likely already know that alcohol can affect your thinking and judgment each time you drink. Long-term alcohol abuse damages brain cells. This can lead to lasting damage to your memory, thinking, and the way you behave.
Numbness or painful"pins and needles" feelings in your arms or legs
Problems with erections in men
Leaking urine or having a hard time starting to pass urine
Drinking during pregnancy can harm the growing baby. Severe birth defects or fetal alcohol syndrome may occur.
How Alcohol Use Can Affect Your Life
Often, people who are sad, depressed, nervous, or often worried drink to make themselves feel better or to block these feelings. But alcohol can:
Make these problems worse over time
Make sleep problems worse
Increase the risk of suicide
Families are often affected when someone in the home abuses alcohol. Violence and conflict in the home is much more likely when a family member is abusing alcohol. Children who grow up in a home where alcohol abuse is present are more likely to:
Do poorly in school
Be depressed and have problems with anxiety and low self-esteem
Have marriages that end in divorce
Drinking too much alcohol even once can harm you or others. It can lead to:
Risky sex habits, which may lead to unplanned or unwanted pregnancy infections (STIs), and sexual assault or rape
US Preventive Services Task Force. Recommendation statement: Screening and behavioral counseling interventions in primary care to reduce alcohol misuse. Rockville, MD; April 2004. Accessed February 19, 2012.
David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.