Long-term impacts of alcohol on your health
Drinking alcohol less often and remaining within the Australian Alcohol Guidelines reduces your risk of serious disease.
Alcohol use increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. In the longer term, alcohol can cause abnormalities of heart rhythm, high blood pressure and weakened heart muscle, which can lead to heart attack and stroke.
You can learn more about alcohol and cardiovascular disease here.
Alcohol is also a cause of cancer. There is strong evidence that alcohol can cause breast cancer, as well as cancer of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, oesophagus, bowel and liver.
Every drink you have increases the risk of these conditions.
Read more about the high cost of alcohol to your health, here.
Short-term impacts of alcohol on your health
Drinking alcohol less often and remaining within the Australian Alcohol Guidelines reduces your risk of injury and other short-term harms.
Intoxication impairs co-ordination, slows reflexes and can lead to accidents and injury. It can result in hangovers, poor mood and increased anxiety.
Alcohol also adds to calorie intake, making it more difficult to avoid weight gain.
Stress, anxiety and mental health
Drinking less alcohol can improve your mood.
Alcohol is a depressant and is associated with mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety.
Drinking alcohol increases the production of cortisol, which affects our ability to deal effectively with stress. It also depresses the central nervous system, slowing brain functioning.
You can learn more about the impact of alcohol on your mental health here and here, as well as healthy ways to ease stress and anxiety here.
Drinking less alcohol can improve the quality of your sleep.
Drinking alcohol, even in small amounts, disrupts your body’s capacity to enter deep restorative sleep. If you wake up in the night after drinking, it’s because alcohol increases production of epinephrine, a stress hormone that increases heart rate and stimulates the body.
Alcohol is also a diuretic, which means you need to get up in the night to use the bathroom.
You can learn more about how alcohol affects sleep here.
Here are some ideas for getting a good night’s sleep.