Alcohol consumption may be common in day-to-day adulthood as they attend events like socials and galas. Having a drink or two is fine but continuous excessive alcohol consumption, 4-5 drinks in one sitting, can have its consequences. In a study from YPLL, from 2011 to 2015 in the United States, excessive alcohol use led to approximately 95,000 deaths, shortening the lives of those who died by an average of 29 years. The long-term effects of excessive alcohol use can lead to the development of chronic conditions and other serious problems like high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, liver disease, and digestive problems to name some.
It is recommended for adults of the legal drinking age by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans to drink in moderation by limiting their alcohol consumption to 2 drinks or less in a day for men or 1 drink or less in a day for women. The legal drinking age in the United States is 21 years old or older. We should take caution and advise people who are pregnant or may be pregnant, driving or participating in skill, coordination, and alertness activities, taking certain medications that can interact with alcohol to not consume or drink alcohol. If they are recovering from alcoholism or are unable to control the amount they drink, please help them contact a professional and seek help.
Drinking excessively can cause short-term and long-term health risks. The short-term effects can include injuries like motor vehicle crashes, falls, drownings, and burns. Violence, some as severe as homicide and suicide, can occur, as well as sexual assault and violence from a partner. Alcohol poisoning is a condition that results from high blood alcohol levels which require medical attention. Drinking can result in a clouded mindset and making risky decisions like having unprotected sex or sex with multiple partners. The person will be at risk for unintended pregnancies or sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV. Pregnant women should not consume alcohol because it may lead to miscarriage and stillbirth or fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs).
The long-term health risks for excessive drinking as previously mentioned can lead to the development of chronic conditions, as well as cancer of the breast, mouth, throat, esophagus, voice box, liver, colon, and rectum. Drinking excessively can also weaken your immune system, increasing your chances of getting sick. It affects your learning and causes memory problems like dementia. In the long run will also affect your mental health, such as depression and anxiety, and your social health, such as family or job-related problems, and unemployment. You may also gain a new dependence or addiction to alcohol.
In the United States, a standard drink contains 0.6 ounces (14 grams or 1.2 tablespoons) of pure alcohol. Below is a list of the amount and different alcohols that all contain 0.6 ounces of pure alcohol.
- 12 ounces of beer (5% alcohol content)
- 8 ounces of malt liquor (7% alcohol content)
- 5 ounces of wine (12% alcohol content)
- 1.5 ounces of 80-proof (40% alcohol content) distilled spirits or liquor (e.g. gin, rum, vodka, whiskey)
If you often consume more than the recommended amount, 1-2 drinks per day, consider changing your bad habit today. Bad habits are choices that hurt your physical or mental health. Overeating, smoking, and substance abuse can cause heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Having healthy habits can increase your lifespan, boost your energy, and improve your memory.
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