Will Alcohol Abuse Make Me Age Faster?

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Most adults in the United States drink alcoholic beverages from time to time. According to the CDC, drinking in moderation can be part of a healthy lifestyle. For women, moderate drinking is defined as no more than one alcoholic drink per day. For men, it means no more than two drinks in a day.[1] But what about drinking more than is recommended?

Alcohol abuse can wreak havoc on a person’s physical and mental health. Abusing alcohol can contribute to a variety of health concerns, including liver and heart damage and certain kinds of cancer.

There is also a link between alcohol and aging. Alcohol abuse can cause changes to your mental and physical health, including some that are visible to the outside world. Alcohol abuse can make you look and feel older than you are and can reduce your quality of life.

If you or someone you love struggles with alcohol addiction, you must get treatment to overcome it and adopt a healthy, sober lifestyle. If you need treatment, do not wait another day. Your health is at stake. Call the compassionate addiction professionals at New Jersey Addiction Interventions today to find an alcohol rehab near you.

Alcohol and Aging: Inside and Out

Over time, alcohol abuse can do a lot of internal damage to your most important bodily systems. Prolonged, heavy alcohol use can alter the way your brain works and impair your heart, liver, and brain from working as they should. Without treatment, many people experience severe health conditions that make it almost impossible to have a good quality of life.

The internal damage of alcohol abuse can often be seen on the outside. When your body’s systems aren’t functioning well, you will feel and look much older–and sicker–than you are.

Alcohol affects the body’s largest and most vital organs and systems, including:[2]

  • The liver: Over time, alcohol use can result in scarring in the liver. This impairs the organ’s ability to remove toxins from the body. This can result in jaundice, which appears as yellowing of the skin and eyes.
  • The heart: Alcohol abuse can result in elevated blood pressure and heart palpitations. The lack of exercise and poor diet that go along with alcohol abuse put people at increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
  • The brain: Prolonged alcohol abuse can lead to physical changes in the brain and brain damage.

People who abuse alcohol are also prone to unhealthy weight fluctuations, which can put a strain on the body’s systems and make them appear older or sicker than they are.

How Does Alcohol Make You Look Older?

Prolonged alcohol abuse can cause serious damage to the body’s internal systems, and these changes can lead to an unhealthy outward appearance. But even shorter periods of alcohol abuse can affect your looks. Some of the ways alcohol and aging are related include:[3]

Bad Sleep

Alcohol interferes with your body’s ability to fall or stay asleep. It prevents people from getting deep, restful sleep. The result? Less energy, dull skin, under-eye bags or shadows, and wrinkles. And when you don’t sleep, it’s hard to exercise, take care of your hygiene, and eat well. All those changes can leave you looking older and more tired.

Skin Damage

Alcohol abuse prevents your body from absorbing and storing the nutrients it needs to perform at its peak. An ongoing lack of nutrients can result in less skin elasticity and more wrinkles. Drinking also causes your blood vessels to dilate. In time, the blood vessels in your face can remain dilated. This results in a reddened appearance and visible veins.

Bloating and Water Retention

A poor diet and extra empty calories from alcohol can lead to bloating, water retention, and weight fluctuation that can make you look older and unhealthier than you are.


Alcohol use can result in serious dehydration. In addition to the headaches that are common with heavy drinking, it also results in dry skin, brittle nails, and dull hair.

People who abuse alcohol or drink heavily may experience these appearance-dulling effects until they stop drinking. If you struggle with alcohol abuse or addiction, getting the help you need can result in looking and feeling healthier and more energetic.

What Can I Do About Alcohol and Aging?

If your relationship with alcohol is unhealthy or you are abusing alcohol and need treatment, you should not wait another day to get the help you need. The sooner you get the life-changing treatment you need, the sooner you can feel and look healthier, more energetic, and happier.

Alcohol addiction treatment can help you regain control of your life and overcome addiction. In treatment, you will learn about addiction and gain coping skills that will help you stay sober for the rest of your life.

If required, your treatment will begin with detox. Detox lets your body remove toxins and alcohol in a safe environment. After a complete detox from alcohol, your body can begin to heal. During treatment, you will learn about addiction, gain new skills to manage stress, and learn how to stay engaged in recovery for the rest of your life.

Exercise, good nutrition, and hydration can help your body heal from the damage of alcohol abuse. In time, you will begin to feel and look like the healthier person you have become.

Find Help for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Today

If you or someone you love require addiction treatment or support in addiction recovery, reach out to the staff at New Jersey Addiction Intervention. We offer adaptable treatment options that can help you reach your goal of lifelong sobriety.

Don’t wait for another day to go by. Get the life-changing support and care you need now. Call now to speak to one of our knowledgeable admissions counselors about how to get started.


  1. https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/moderate-drinking.htm
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5816804/
  3. https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohols-effects-health/alcohols-effects-body

Medically Reviewed: December 13, 2021

Dr Ashley

Medical Reviewer

Chief Editor


All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

Dr Ashley Murray obtained her MBBCh Cum Laude in 2016. She currently practices in the public domain in South Africa. She has an interest in medical writing and has a keen interest in evidence-based medicine.

All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

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