What Are the Long-Term Effects of Alcohol?

Most people associate drinking alcohol with a fun night out or a hangover the next morning. Few people consider the long-term effects of regular alcohol consumption. Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant circulated through your entire body and affects every organ it encounters.

While the effects of alcohol abuse vary person-to-person based on age, gender, amount of alcohol consumed and other factors, the general message remains the same: when long-term alcohol abuse becomes an addiction, you need recovery coaching to help before you damage your body.

Hills & Ranges, a luxury drugs and alcohol detox centre in Melbourne, compiled this list of ways alcohol abuse affects different organs in your body. Now is always the right time to get help before symptoms set in.


Alcohol alters your brain function. These changes can be permanent with long-term abuse, affecting the limbic system, cerebellum and cerebral cortex. Furthermore, alcohol can exacerbate pre-existing mental illnesses, like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and PTSD, among others. As your brain function changes, you develop an addiction. This dependency is why you will experience symptoms of alcohol detox when you do try to stop drinking.


Alcohol is hard on the liver, and consumption can lead to irreversible liver damage. The liver metabolizes alcohol to make it digestible, but it can only handle small amounts at a time. Excess alcohol can cause fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis, fibrosis and cirrhosis.


Heavy drinking can damage your heart on a single occasion and long-term. When you drink excess alcohol that the liver cannot metabolize, it sends alcohol-contaminated blood to the heart. This can cause cardiomyopathy, arrhythmias, stroke and high blood pressure.


A healthy pancreas produces hormones to regulate blood sugar and help your body digest food. Alcohol causes the pancreas to produce harmful chemicals. Over time, this may lead to pancreatitis or deadly inflammation of the pancreas.


Kidneys filter harmful substances out of the blood, like alcohol. Your kidneys have to work harder to filter out excess alcohol in the blood, which leads to high blood pressure and kidney disease.


Alcohol disrupts the digestive system, and your stomach produces more stomach acid as a result. Short-term, this causes acid reflux, inflammation, nausea, vomiting, internal bleeding, ulcers and diarrhea. However, repetitive short-term symptoms from long-term alcohol abuse can lead to stomach cancer.

How to Reverse Damage from Long-Term Alcohol Abuse

Even knowing the dangers of long-term alcohol abuse, people who develop substance abuse disorder cannot just stop. Organ damage from alcohol abuse typically stems from substance abuse disorder, not long-term consumption of one glass of wine each night.

Addiction is why people experience symptoms of alcohol detox when they go to a detox centre in Melbourne, like Hills & Ranges. We work closely with each patient to develop a personalised recovery coaching plan to kickstart a more fulfilling life path. To learn more about your treatment options, call us on 1800 954 749.

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