Alcohol addiction is a complex addiction that has significant implications for both individuals who are struggling with alcoholism, as well as wider society.

Alcohol addiction is not only excessive drinking; it is a chronic and potentially life-threatening disease which is characterised by an uncontrollable craving for alcohol, loss of control when consuming alcohol, and withdrawal symptoms when undergoing an alcohol detox.

There are several dangers associated with alcohol addiction, ranging from its devastating impact on physical health and mental well-being to its social and economic consequences.

The risks of alcohol abuse should not be disregarded, as 5.7% of all hospital admissions are related to alcohol in the UK. This highlights how dangerous and risky alcohol is on your health and the scale of the issue in the UK.

If you are wondering is alcohol addiction dangerous, it is key to know the risks of drinking, the impact alcohol can have on your body and social life, as well as the repercussions of alcohol on the NHS.


What Are the Dangers of Alcohol Addiction?

Alcohol addiction can lead to several dangers that are caused as a result of excessive drinking. From the physical toll alcohol abuse takes on the body, including the risk of organ damage and cancer, to its impact on mental health which can cause or worsen conditions like depression and anxiety, alcohol addiction can be very dangerous.

The main dangers of alcohol addiction include:

Health problems – Short and long term health problems can be caused by alcohol addiction and binge drinking. Alcohol poisoning and regular binging episodes can lead to organ problems and an increased risk of cancers.

Poor mental health – Alcohol addiction can lead to depression and anxiety as well as other mental health conditions. There is a strong link between the two disorders as many people drink alcohol to self-medicate, and as alcohol is a depressant, it can cause bad mental health.

Poor decision making – People who are drunk are much more likely to make bad decisions such as crossing busy roads, having unprotected sex and committing petty crimes.

Increased chance of injury and accidents – Alcohol causes problems with balance and coordination which can result in accidents such as falls or broken bones. In 2021 there were nearly 980 thousand estimated admissions where the primary reason for hospital admission or a secondary diagnosis was linked to alcohol, highlighting how dangerous alcohol abuse can be.

Relationship problems – Alcohol abuse can also result in relationship strain and other social impacts with family, friends and partners.

Financial issues – Financial burdens are another danger of alcohol addiction, as job loss or poor work performance can often result from alcoholism.

Shortened life expectancy – Alcohol addiction not only diminishes the quality of life but can also shorten lifespan, making it a serious and potentially life-threatening condition that requires intervention and treatment.


Why is Alcoholism so Dangerous?

Alcohol is dangerous because many people do not realise how risky drinking large quantities can be for their health and well-being. Alcohol is a drug and has a very high mortality rate despite the widespread belief that alcohol is harmless.

Not only can alcohol cause direct alcohol poisoning and bad health, but alcohol is a causal factor in more than 200 disease and injury conditions. This highlights how dangerous alcohol use is and why it is so important to manage your alcohol intake.

The recommended amount of alcohol to drink per week is 14 units or less over 3 days or more, and binge drinking is not recommended as it can be detrimental to your health. As well as the health risks associated with alcohol consumption, it can also be dangerous to withdraw from alcohol without professional help.


Long Term Health Problems Caused by Alcoholism

Alcoholism can lead to serious and lasting health problems, which is what makes it so dangerous. It can harm important organs like the liver which can lead to liver disease and weaken the heart which can cause heart issues.

Your brain may also be affected by drinking large quantities of alcohol long term which can cause memory problems and difficulties thinking on the spot. Alcoholism can even increase the risk of certain types of cancer, such as throat and bowel cancer.

These long-term health problems show why it’s crucial to seek help and support if you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol addiction.

Other common problems caused by alcohol addiction include:

  • Liver disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Increased risk of cancers
  • High blood pressure, with risk of stroke, heart attack, and heart disease
  • Dementia and Korsakoff syndrome
  • Vision problems
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety
  • Poor circulation

It is key to factor in the long-term health risks of heavy drinking when considering, is alcohol addiction dangerous? These health problems can be very risky and bad for your health and impact your lifespan, so seeking addiction treatment as soon as possible is important.


Short Term Problems Caused by Alcohol

Drinking too much alcohol can cause various health problems in the short term. Being drunk can make you feel dizzy, clumsy, or even vomit and can make you say or do things you wouldn’t when sober, which can lead to risky situations.

Alcohol can also mess with your memory and concentration, which can make it hard to think clearly and increase the chance of arguments and fights. Drinking too much, especially quickly, can be very dangerous so it’s important to keep an eye on how much you’re drinking and know your limits to stay safe.

Short term health problems can include blackouts, alcohol poisoning and injuries, which is another reason why alcohol addiction and alcohol abuse is so dangerous.


Is Alcohol Detox Dangerous?

Not only is alcoholism unsafe, but recovering from alcohol addiction without medical support can also be extremely dangerous, especially if serious withdrawal symptoms are experienced.

Delirium tremens and seizures are amongst the most dangerous forms of withdrawal that can be experienced by people who have had a long and severe alcohol addiction history. This is why a medically assisted detox is recommended over a home detox, as medical professionals can manage symptoms and ensure the process is as safe as possible.


Signs You Require Alcohol Addiction Treatment

There are a number of signs that your alcohol addiction is dangerous and you require professional treatment to overcome it. The main signs that you have a drinking problem that requires treatment include:

  • Drinking daily or very frequently
  • Regularly binge drinking
  • Struggling to stop drinking/feeling out of control
  • Drinking at inappropriate moments
  • Struggling to maintain hobbies/work/social commitments
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms

If you experience any of the above symptoms or want to take back control of your life, get in touch with our expert team today. We can help you recover from alcohol addiction safely – just phone 0800 880 7596.

John Gillen - Author - Last updated: October 17, 2023

John is one UK’s leading professionals in the addiction recovery industry. Pioneering new treatment techniques such as NAD+ and ongoing research into new therapy techniques such as systematic laser therapy, John is committed to providing the very best treatment for people throughout the UK and Europe. During his extremely busy schedule, John likes to regularly update our blog section with the latest news and trends in the industry to keep visitors to our site as well informed as possible on everything related to addiction treatment.