Long Term Effects of Alcohol


Alcohol is all around us and present at most social gatherings. It’s often seen as harmless and enjoyed by millions around the world. Research found that 48% of adults (16+) in the UK had consumed alcohol in the last week and 80% in the last year (1). It’s also estimated that 10.8 million adults in England are drinking at levels that pose some risk to their health and a further 1.6 million adults that may have some level of alcohol dependence (2).

Yet, the darker side of drinking is often ignored.



Overconsuming alcohol is still a problem across the UK and Ireland. According to research published by Public Health England (PHE) the cost of alcohol to society is £21 billion. This is further broken down to £11 billion in alcohol related crime, £7 billion lost in productivity through unemployment and sickness and £3.5 billion cost to the NHS (5). According to a study by the Institute of Alcohol Studies, 42% of people had gone to work hungover or under the influence of alcohol and rated their performance to be less effective than usual. This is estimated to cost the UK economy £1.2 billion a year (3).

Considering this, it’s important to be aware of the long-term effects of consuming alcohol, especially at higher levels than advised.


Physical Health

There are many health risks from drinking that are often not known to the general public. Research has found that excessive drinking over a long period can increase the risk of developing serious health problems, with alcohol found to be a causal factor in over 60 medical conditions (5). Some conditions that can arise from long-term alcohol abuse are heart disease, liver disease, stroke and cancers of the mouth, throat, stomach, liver, and breasts (2). Learning and memory problems are also more likely to occur with long term excessive drinking (4).

It’s recommended to not consume more than 14 units of alcohol a week, spread across 3 days or more (6). Cutting your alcohol consumption down to 14 units or less a week can help reduce your risk of the above conditions.


Mental Health

Although people usually associate alcohol with feeling sociable and relaxed, it can have negative effects, especially drinking higher amounts over longer periods of time. Long term alcohol misuse can cause mental health issues and lead to negative feelings, such as anxiety, depression, and anger (7).

Chronic excessive alcohol consumption can affect your character, reputation, and reliability causing breakdowns in relationships and loss of employment. This can lead to isolation which can often fuel more and longer periods of drinking. According to the Institute of Alcohol Studies, a third of employees admitted to having been to work with a hangover and 15% have been drunk while at work in the UK (8). It’s important to get help as soon as you recognise you have a problem, by reaching out to resources such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Smart Recovery or  Turning Point. By not drinking in excess and following the recommended guidelines and laws for alcohol, you can lower your risk of alcohol affecting your mental health and develop a healthier relationship with alcohol. Drinking doesn’t have to be negative, but it does need to be taken seriously.


How Can We Help You?

At Randox Testing Services, we offer a choice of testing options for both alcohol and common drugs of abuse, whether policing your drug and alcohol policy, monitoring abstinence, or as part of an investigation after an incident. We can help create a safer work environment by promoting drug and alcohol testing to all workforces (especially those where safety critical employees feature). This can help create a more open and honest environment and a culture that puts safety first. We offer a fully confidential and no obligation initial consultation with one of our highly trained account managers to help determine your needs and create the best possible plan for you and your company.

Testing can be arranged within one working day, and we offer a quick turnaround, with a success rate of greater than 99% of results returned within the contracted time in 2022.

Specimen provision is facilitated by our highly trained Collection Officers at locations that suit you, or alternatively we offer training and education to your own staff to allow them to collect samples from your employees.


About Us

Randox Testing Services is an ISO17025 accredited specialist in the drug and alcohol testing industry. Our expertise is relied upon by a range of companies across the world, as well as the medico-legal sector. With a variety of testing methods that utilise various sample types and with a UK, Ireland, and global network of trained collection officers, we give confidence to our customers by ensuring our complete service meets all their needs.

We are committed to using our recognised, market-leading expertise to improve workplace safety. We specialise in a range of industries, domestically and internationally.

By choosing Randox Testing Services, we can guarantee accurate and reliable testing services , experience across a range of industries, customised training and education and a dedicated account manager for every client.

You can find out more about us through our website or signing up for our mailing list signing up for our mailing list.



Health Survey for England. (2019) Adults’ health-related behaviours data tables, table 9. (1) Available at: https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information

Public Health England. (2016) Health matters: harmful drinking and alcohol dependence. (2) Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/health-matters

Institute of alcohol studies (2019) Financial headache. (3) Available at: https://www.ias.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/rp35062019.pdf

NHS. (2022) Alcohol misuse. (4) Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/alcohol-misuse/risks/

Public Health England (2016) Health matters: harmful drinking and alcohol dependence. (5) Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/health-matters-harmful-drinking-and-alcohol-dependence

NHS. (2022) Drink less. (6) Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/better-health/drink-less

Mentalhealth.org. (2022) Alcohol and mental health. (7) Available at: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/explore-mental-health

Institute of alcohol studies (2017) Alcohol in the workplace. (8) Available at: https://www.ias.org.uk/uploads/pdf/Factsheets/FS%20alcohol%20in%20workplace%20112017.pdf