Physical and Mental Effects

The use of alcohol can have short and long-term effects on the human body, which consists of the mental and physical health of an individual.

Skin Cancer

The current research shows that alcohol drinks have increased incidents of sunburn and a higher prevalence of skin cancer.

Alcohol use enhances sunburn severity; this repeated concurrent UV radiation exposure can lead to a greater percentage of precancerous and malignant skin lesions. It is indicated that there is a positive association between the number of sunburns and the extent of drinking, attributing about 18% of all sunburn cases to alcohol use.

Even though alcohol itself is not a known carcinogen, it has been implied that alcohol carcinogenic effects are mainly due to its conversion to acetaldehyde (AcH) after ingestion, which is a major ethanol metabolite and is a known classified carcinogen.

It has been found that alcohol drinkers have a higher chance of getting cancer such as melanoma, BCC (Basal cell carcinoma), and SCC (Squamous cell carcinoma) than nondrinkers.

It was indicated by researchers that people with moderate to high sun exposure history plus alcohol intake have a significant increase in incidence of BCC (Basal cell carcinoma). From several studies, it was concluded that those who consumed more than 30 grams of alcohol were 40% more likely to have a BCC than abstainers. 

Clinical epidemiological studies strongly support that alcohol consumption is a risk factor for NMSC (Nonmelanoma skin cancers) and melanoma*. 
*Melanoma - Most malignant of all skin cancer types 

Researchers hypothesize that alcohol (Ethanol) intake in the presence of UV radiation can enhance cellular damage and lead to skin cancer formation. 

Effects on Kidney Structure and Blood  Pressure 

Alcohol can cause serious damage to several organs in the human body.

Mental Effects 

In an article written by Thor Norström and Ingeorg Rossow, they had stated that “alcohol’s acute effect on neurotransmitters and cognitive functions implies that alcohol intoxication increases the feeling of despair or sadness, increases aggressiveness, reinforces impulsivity and suicidal thoughts, weakens or removes barriers to self-harm, and narrows the ability to find alternative solution strategies” (Norström & Rossow, 2016).

Alcohol abuse can lead to depression, physical illness, loneliness, low self-esteem, and various other disorders/conditions that can also lead to a  rise in suicidal behavior.

There is also a relationship between alcohol abuse and triggering events that lead to suicidal behavior. This could be seen in several scenarios such as problems between relationships (romantic, friendship, etc.), unemployment, and money issues.

A combination of studies were reviewed and they had revealed that areas with higher alcohol intake showed a higher number of suicides. This was influenced by the culture found in those countries looked at, which were Finland, Sweden, France, and Italy. Finland and Sweden have a dry culture, which means that alcohol consumption is not as common compared to countries that have a wet culture (France and Italy). However, dry counties, once given the opportunity, drink until intoxication. They were able to see that there was a strong correlation “between total consumption and suicide in Sweden than in France” (Norström & Rossow, 2016).