Alcohol-related harm

Hangovers are the most obvious result of a heavy drinking episode. They are a much talked about subject due to the self inflicted feelings of sickness and nausea they impart on an individual. For example, go to: or

But a hangover is not the only reminder of a heavy drinking session.

In 1986 the Royal College of General Practitioners highlighted the potential harm related to alcohol arising from either regular heavy drinking or intoxication.1 They categorised the resulting problems as social, psychological or physical, and listed these problems in two tables.

Problems related to regular heavy drinking


  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Attempted suicide
  • Suicide
  • Changes in personality
  • Amnesia
  • Delirium tremens
  • Withdrawal fits
  • Hallucinosis
  • Dementia
  • Gambling
  • Misuse of other drugs


  • Family problems
  • Divorce
  • Homelessness
  • Work difficulties
  • Unemployment
  • Financial difficulties
  • Fraud
  • Debt
  • Vagrancy
  • Habitual convictions for drunkenness


  • Fatty liver
  • Hepatitis
  • Cirrhosis
  • Liver cancer
  • Gastritis
  • Pancreatitis
  • Cancer of the mouth, larynx and oesophagus
  • Cancer of breast
  • Cancer of colon
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Raised blood pressure
  • Strokes
  • Brain damage
  • Neuropathy
  • Myopathy
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Infertility
  • Foetal damage
  • Haemopoietic toxicity
  • Reactions with other drugs


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