Nov 30, 2012 | By Tim Stoddart

Health Side Effects of Casual Drinking


It’s well-known that excessive drinking and alcoholism can cause severe health problems, such as liver failure, and lead to death. We can only process a little bit of alcohol at a time, so overdoing it puts too much strain on our bodies. If we drink too much too often, it won’t be long before our bodies stop being able to handle the strain and begin to shut down on us.

Casual drinking, or social drinking, is thought to be much safer, and it is. Drinking only one or two drinks per day, and binge drinking only once in awhile, is more tolerable to our bodies than frequent excessive alcohol consumption. That doesn’t mean, however, that casual drinking won’t cause any side effects to our health. Casual drinking can affect us in many different ways, and it’s important to understand the health risks that come with it.


Dehydration is often the most immediate side effect of drinking, and even casual drinkers are at risk of becoming dehydrated after just one night of drinking. Dehydration affects the abilities of your entire body and brain to function properly, and it’s the reason for hangover headaches.

Heart Disease

Casual drinking over many years can lead to many different forms of heart disease. Heart disease refers to any conditions that negatively affect the functioning of the heart and blood vessels to the heart. Heart disease can lead to a heart attack. If someone has diabetes, they’re even more likely to develop heart disease, and casual drinkers are also more at risk for diabetes.


Alcohol consumption and diabetes are related in several different ways. If a person has diabetes, even casual drinking can make it difficult for them to control their insulin levels. Drinking can lead to low blood sugar levels, which can be very dangerous. If a casual drinker has difficulty maintaining healthy levels of blood sugar, it makes them more likely to develop diabetes-related diseases, like kidney damage and heart disease. In a person without diabetes, casual drinking can eventually lead to fatty liver disease, which increases their risk of getting type-2 diabetes.

Weight Gain

Casual drinking can lead to weight gain, and weight gain can result in low blood sugar problems for diabetics. There are lots of health effect associated with weight gain, including heart disease and depression.

Nutritional Deficiencies

Alcohol reduces your body’s ability to absorb nutrients, especially vitamin A, B-complex vitamins, vitamin D, and folate. Even casual drinkers can have vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Oftentimes casual drinkers will eat less or eat more carbohydrates, both of which can contribute to nutritional deficiencies, as well as make it difficult to manage weight.

Even drinking just one or two drinks per day several days of the week can cause all of these health side effects. And that’s not to mention the other ways casual drinking can put your health and life in danger, like interacting negatively with medications or increasing your risk of getting into a car accident. How much and how often you drink is your business; just understand that even casual, responsible drinking can affect your health.

2 responses to “Health Side Effects of Casual Drinking

  • Dan Van Helden

    11 years ago

    This post reminds me of my father. He has been drinking constantly for about 30 years. He just got diabetes about three years ago. He has M.S. and has always been drinking with a lot of medications. I can’t figure out how he is still alive with all the abuse his body has taken. Someday…sooner or later it will catch up to him.

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