What Are Some of the Side Effects to Casual Drinking?

The hazards of excessive drinking and alcoholism are well known. Bodies can only process a little bit of alcohol at a time, so excessive drinking can lead to health problems like liver failure and end in death. Overindulging in alcohol puts a lot of strain on the body and drinking too much too often means that the body can’t handle it and could shut down.

However, it’s not only alcoholics and binge drinkers who are at risk. It is assumed that casual or social drinking is much safer, and for the most part it is. A couple of drinks a day, and binge drinking occasionally is much more tolerable to the body. But that doesn’t mean that there are no side effects to casual drinking. Most drinkers are not aware that drinking more than 14 units of alcohol a week as a matter of routine can cause a variety of long term health issues including cancer and heart attack.

Casual drinking can have many side effects and it is important to learn the health risks that it brings.

Being Dehydrated

The most immediate side effect of drinking, even casual drinking, is dehydration. Just one night of drinking can put an individual at the risk of being dehydrated. Hangover headaches are the direct result of dehydration, and it affects the entire body and brain’s abilities to function properly.

Different Forms of Heart Disease

Many years of casual drinking can lead to different forms of heart disease. Heart disease can be defined as any condition that negatively affects heart functioning, and the functioning of blood vessels to the heart. Heart disease can lead to heart attack.


There are several different ways in which alcohol consumption and diabetes are related. If an individual suffers from diabetes then even casual drinking can make it difficult for them to control insulin levels. This is because drinking can lead to low blood sugar. A casual drinker who has diabetes can have difficulty maintaining a healthy level of blood sugar. That makes them more likely to develop diseases related to diabetes such as kidney damage and heart disease. For a casual drinker who doesn’t have diabetes, the drinking can lead to fatty liver disease, which actually increases the risk of getting type 2 diabetes.

Gaining Weight

Weight gain is a possible side effect of casual drinking, which can lead to low blood sugar. Apart from that there are other health effects associated with weight gain, including depression and heart disease.

Nutritional Deficiencies

When an individual drinks alcohol, it reduces their body’s ability to absorb nutrients. Even in casual drinkers there can be be vitamin and mineral deficiencies. There is a tendency among casual drinkers to either eat less, or eat more carbohydrates, which can lead to nutritional deficiencies as well as weight gain.

It is clear that casual or social drinking is not as safe as it seems, and even just a couple of drinks a few times a week can cause a lot of unhealthy side effects. And that’s not taking into account the other dangers of casual drinking such as impaired judgment or negative interactions with medications.


Recovery is hard work but you don’t have to do it alone. Call The Villa to find out how we can support your goals for sober living.