Special Report

Excessive Drinking Is Less Than You Think: 23 Ways a Drinking Habit Can Harm You

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6. Diabetes

Heavy drinking over a long period of time may prevent the proper balancing of blood sugar in the body, leading to an increased risk of developing diabetes. Chronic drinking may lead to chronic inflammation of the pancreas, which can hinder the organ’s ability to produce, store, and release insulin — a hormone that regulates blood glucose level — which may potentially lead to diabetes.

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7. Weakening or thickening of the heart

Chronic and heavy alcohol consumption can cause serious damage to the heart by weakening and thickening the heart muscles. The condition, which affects the heart’s ability to pump blood, is called alcoholic cardiomyopathy.

8. Hallucinations

Hallucinations are usually associated as being a side effect of getting sober. People with alcohol dependence may experience complications such as hallucinations if they quit drinking cold turkey. Alcohol-induced psychosis, which is characterized by auditory hallucinations, feelings of paranoia, and fear, can also occur during acute intoxication and in chronic drinkers. Why chronic drinkers may have hallucinations is not clear, and the condition is a rare complication of excessive alcohol consumption.

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9. Hearing loss

There are several ways in which alcohol consumption can impair hearing. Excessive drinking over a long period of time can damage the tiny hair cells in the inner ear, which translate sound and play an important role in maintaining balance. High alcohol consumption over years can also damage the central auditory cortex of the brain, limiting a person’s ability to process sounds.

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10. Heart disease

Chronic heavy drinking is one of the leading causes of heart disease, according to the CDC. In addition to cardiomyopathy (No. 7), alcohol may cause several other complications of the circulatory system, including high blood pressure (when the heart is pumping blood with more force than normal through the arteries), which can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.

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