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What Happens When You Drink Alcohol Every Day?

Depending on the amount of alcohol you drink, drinking this regularly is likely to cause a serious issue for you, potentially leading to a fatal alcohol overdose or developing cancer. If you can’t stop or reduce your drinking, you should talk to a treatment professional about the best way to get help.

Struggling with Alcohol Addiction? Get Help Now

Drinking alcohol every day is problematic. It will damage your organs, potentially cause a variety of mental health problems, and can worsen your risk of alcohol poisoning and addiction.[1] 

What Happens When You Drink Alcohol Every Day?

Alcohol is a drug, and its excessive use causes over 140,000 deaths a year.[1] Some notable dangers of drinking every day include the following:

Liver damage, Heart Damage & More

Chronic drinking (where one drinks regularly) and binge drinking (where a woman drinks four or more standard drinks in a single occasion and a man drinks five or more) can seriously damage critical organs in the body. Regular alcohol use can greatly increase a person’s risk of liver disease, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, digestive problems, and more.[1]

Overall Deterioration of Physical Health

Fundamentally, drinking excessively (which drinking every day would often qualify as) will have a net negative impact on an individual’s health. They will weaken their immune system and are likely to become physically dependent on alcohol. They also have a much greater chance of developing various types of cancer, including breast, liver, colon, voice box, esophageal, and rectum cancer.[2] 

Worsening Mental & Behavioral Problems

Alcohol doesn’t just affect physical health. Its regular use has also been linked to learning and memory problems, potentially causing a significant decline in school or work performance and sometimes leading to the development of dementia.[3] Many people who drink heavily also become depressed or experience other mental health issues, like developing an anxiety disorder.[4] 

Heightened Overdose & Addiction Risk

Excessive drinking, without giving the body time to process the alcohol already in the system, can lead to alcohol poisoning, which can be very dangerous. It’s possible to overdose on alcohol, lose consciousness, and potentially experience such severe respiratory depression that the body physically can’t draw in enough air to support its needs. Some people also vomit while unconscious, which can cause them to choke if not safely positioned to account for this possibility.[1]

Addiction is also a serious risk if you regularly drink alcohol. Despite being legal, alcohol is actually a very addictive, dangerous substance if not consumed in careful moderation.[5] A person may start to feel they need to drink, even as their drinking negatively impacts their own life and the lives of those important to them. 

This can also cause a dangerous spiral, where a person’s quality of life starts to deteriorate, so they retreat more often to alcohol use to try and cope with their problems. That’s why it’s important to try to recognize when you have a problem with alcohol early and get it addressed as soon as possible.[1] 

How Does Drinking Daily Impact Relationships in Your Life?

If someone has a problem with alcohol, it will eventually begin to impact important relationships in their life. If they spend significant time acquiring, drinking, and recovering from alcohol use, it can make it hard to meaningfully connect with people or to meet important responsibilities in life. This is especially true if a person struggles not to come to work or school intoxicated or needs to take breaks in their day just to drink.  

From partners and children to peers and friends, virtually every relationship will likely be affected by alcohol abuse over time. Once the person enters treatment, family therapy may be part of the treatment program in order to repair relationships that have been harmed during active addiction.

Can the Damage From Drinking Daily Be Reversed? 

Regardless of how severe your drinking has been in the past, your health can usually significantly improve if you stop drinking. If you’ve struggled with alcohol abuse, talk with a doctor about how to regain control. 

Don’t simply attempt to stop drinking cold turkey on your own, as this can result in dangerous (even life-threatening) withdrawal symptoms.[6] An addiction treatment professional can manage the withdrawal process, keeping symptoms under control and ensuring you make it through detox safely.

With that said, not all damage from heavy, chronic drinking is reversible. Severe damage to your organs, especially your heart, liver, or brain, may improve when you stop drinking for a long time, but it won’t necessarily be able to return to how you were before you started drinking.[7] 

Some health conditions may also not be reversible, though they can be better managed and have the best chances of improving if you get help and stop drinking. If you develop cancer, you will need to get treated for that cancer, and it may become life-threatening, even if you stop drinking.[5]

Stopping your drinking also can’t undo some social damage, although it certainly can help you start to repair relationships or make healthy new ones. For example, alcohol abuse can lead to unemployment, divorce, and even homelessness. If you struggle with these issues, stopping your drinking is likely an excellent first step, but more will need to be done.[5]

A Note on Alcohol Withdrawal

Importantly, alcohol withdrawal can be quite severe if you’ve been drinking for a long time or engage in heavy drinking when you do drink. In the most severe cases, it can even be life-threatening, resulting in the development of delirium tremens

If you want to quit drinking every day, talk with a professional. They can assess your risk of severe withdrawal and offer advice on how to safely stop drinking. The risks are highly manageable—they just require professional assistance. 

Updated March 10, 2024
  1. Alcohol use and your health. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Published April 14, 2022. Accessed February 25, 2024.
  2. Rumgay H, Murphy N, Ferrari P, Soerjomataram I. Alcohol and cancer: Epidemiology and biological mechanisms. Nutrients. 2021;13(9):3173.
  3. Wiegmann C, Mick I, Brandl EJ, Heinz A, Gutwinski S. Alcohol and dementia – What is the link? A systematic review. Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment. 2020;16:87-99.
  4. Smith JP, Randall CL. Anxiety and alcohol use disorders: comorbidity and treatment considerations. Alcohol Research: Current Reviews. 2012;34(4):414-431.
  5. Risks: alcohol misuse. UK NHS. Published October 4, 2022. Accessed February 25, 2024.
  6. Bharadwaj B, Kattimani S. Clinical management of alcohol withdrawal: A systematic review. Industrial Psychiatry Journal. 2013;22(2):100.
  7. Zahr NM, Pfefferbaum A. Alcohol’s effects on the brain: Neuroimaging results in humans and animal models. Alcohol Research: Current Reviews. 2017;38(2):183-206.
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