Harmful drinking is defined as when a person drinks over the recommended weekly amount of alcohol and experiences health problems that are directly related to alcohol.
In some cases, there may be obvious problems such as:
- an alcohol-related accident, such as a head injury
- acute pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas)
Many of the health problems that occur as a result of harmful drinking do not cause any symptoms until they reach their most serious stages. These include:
- high blood pressure (hypertension)
- cirrhosis (scarring of the liver)
- some types of cancer, such as mouth cancer and bowel cancer
- heart disease
This means it can be easy to underestimate the levels of physical damage that is caused by harmful drinking. Harmful drinking can also cause related social problems, such as difficulties with your partner or spouse, family and friends or at work or college.