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What are the Short-Term and Long-Term Risks?

Major short-term health effects, or "co-risks"

  • Mood swings
  • Accidents and injuries
  • Hangovers
  • Diminished academic performance
  • Trouble with the police and/or university officials
  • Increased risk to harm to self for depressed or anxious people

Most Stanford students won't experience chronic, long-term health problems as a result of their drinking. However, frequent and intense drinking can result in serious drinking problems, as well serious health problems, such as cirrhosis of the liver, damage to heart, liver and brain, impairments in cognitive functioning, stomach/esophagus/mouth ulcers or bleeding. Emotional and social development can also become seriously impaired over time. We need to be aware of the serious problems that potentially could develop if the pattern of drinking we hone in college is unhealthy.

Short-term health consequences are more immediate. Our bodies are very resilient and very forgiving. But as a drug, the physical and mental effects of alcohol can be profound. Loss of coordination, judgment and inhibitions make alcohol a very potent chemical or drug. Heavy use presents a risk of harm to the drinker and to those around him or her. Alcohol's ability to lower inhibitions also renders it a "co-factor" in behaviors such as aggressive or violent confrontations, and property damage. One reason that we might drink alcohol is to alter our mood, but sometimes that altered state significantly impairs our judgment and we may do something out of character, something dangerous or criminal. It's important to stop yourself or to stop a friend, before the situation becomes a regrettable evening.


Remember: alcohol is never an excuse for your behavior. You are still held accountable for what you do under the influence.