Drinking too much can be harmful to your health. From 2011 – 2015 excessive alcohol use led to approximately 95,000 deaths and 2.8 million years of potential life lost (YPLL) each year in the United States, shortening the lives of those who died by an average of 29 years.
Furthermore, excessive drinking of alcohol was responsible for 1 in 10 deaths among working-age adults aged 20-64 years. The economic costs of excessive alcohol consumption in 2010 were estimated to be at $249 billion, or $2.05 a drink.
Alcohol and your health – What is a standard drink?
According to the standards of United States, a standard drink should contain 0.6 ounces (14.0 grams or 1.2 tablespoons) of pure alcohol. This amount of pure alcohol is found in;
- 12-ounces of beer (5% alcohol content).
- 8-ounces of malt liquor (7% alcohol content).
- 5-ounces of wine (12% alcohol content).
- 5-ounces of 80-proof (40% alcohol content) distilled spirits or liquor (e.g., gin, rum, vodka, whiskey).
Excessive drinking is the act of taking some amounts of alcohol that is too much for your body’s consumption. This includes drinking by pregnant women, binge drinking, drinking by people younger than 21, and heavy drinking.
Binge drinking is a form of excessive drinking defined as consuming;
- 4 or more drinks during a single occasion, for women.
- 5 or more drinks during a single occasion, for men.
Heavy drinking is defined as consuming
- For women, 8 or more drinks per week.
- For men, 15 or more drinks per week.
Most people who drink excessively are not alcoholics or alcohol dependent.
According to the dietary guidelines for Americans, moderate drinking for adults is limited to 2 drinks or less in a day for men or 1 drink or less in a day for women, on days when alcohol is consumed.
People who shouldn‘t drink
The list of people below should not take any alcohol at all.
- Younger than age 21.
- Pregnant or may be pregnant.
- Driving, planning to drive or participating in other activities requiring skill, coordination, and alertness.
- Taking certain prescription or over-the-counter medications that can interact with alcohol.
- Suffering from certain medical conditions.
- Recovering from alcoholism or are unable to control the amount they drink.
Adhering to these guidelines means that you have reduced the risk of harming yourself or others.
Short term health risks of alcohol
- Injuries, such as motor vehicle crashes, falls, drownings, and burns.
- Violence, including homicide, suicide, sexual assault, and intimate partner violence.
- Alcohol poisoning, a medical emergency that results from high blood alcohol levels.
- Risky sexual behaviors, including unprotected sex or sex with multiple partners. These behaviors can result in unintended pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV.
- Miscarriage and stillbirth or fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) among pregnant women.
Long term health risks of alcohol
Below are the long-term health disorders that people can develop from taking too much alcohol.
- High blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, liver disease, and digestive problems.
- Cancer of the breast, mouth, throat, esophagus, voice box, liver, colon, and rectum.
- Weakening of the immune system, increasing the chances of getting sick.
- Learning and memory problems, including dementia and poor school performance.
- Mental health problems, including depression and anxiety.
- Social problems, including family problems, job-related problems, and unemployment.
- Alcohol use disorders, or alcohol dependence.
Generally, consumption of alcohol may not be totally harmful to your body system if only it is consumed according to the guidelines given in this write up. Further research can be done on Google.