18 million people in the United States struggle with alcohol use disorders. People who abuse alcohol and people with alcoholism are at increased risk for serious health problems, such as cancer, liver problems, brain damage, and weakened immune system.
Alcohol is the most widely abused substance in the U.S., yet alcoholism is often left untreated. Alcoholism and alcohol abuse are diagnosable conditions when they impact relationships, cause harm or injury, and have a negative effect on your quality of life.
Alcohol affects every organ in the body. It is a central nervous system depressant that is rapidly absorbed from the stomach and small intestine into the bloodstream. Alcohol is metabolized in your liver by enzymes. However, since your liver can only metabolize a small amount of alcohol at a time, most excess alcohol circulates throughout the body. The intensity of the effect of alcohol on the body directly depends on the amount consumed.
Many people with alcoholism continue to drink even when they develop health problems related to drinking. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, adults can choose not to drink alcohol, or drink in moderation by limiting intake to 2 drinks or less in a day for men, and 1 drink or less in a day for women.
If you or someone you know has a drinking problem, consult your personal health care provider.
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