Do I Drink Too Much Alcohol – Drinking too much can harm your health. Excessive alcohol use caused more than 140,000 deaths and 3.6 million years of potential life lost (YPLL) in the United States each year from 2015 – 2019, shortening the lives of those who died by an average of 26 years.
The economic cost of excessive alcohol consumption in 2010 was estimated at $249 billion, or $2.05 a drink.
Do I Drink Too Much Alcohol
In the United States, a standard drink contains 0.6 ounces (14.0 grams or 1.2 tablespoons) of pure alcohol. Usually, this amount of pure alcohol is found
Half Of Middle Aged Men Drink Too Much
Binge drinking includes binge drinking, binge drinking, and any drinking by pregnant women or those under 21 years of age.
Adults of legal drinking age may choose not to drink or drink moderately by limiting consumption to 2 drinks per day or less for men or 1 drink or less per day for women on alcohol consumption days.
Non-drinkers start drinking for any reason, and if adults of legal drinking age choose to drink alcoholic beverages, it is not recommended that drinking less is better for health than drinking more.
Excessive alcohol consumption has immediate consequences that increase the risk of many harmful health conditions. These are often the result of excessive drinking and include the following:
What Happens To Your Body When You Drink Too Much?
Over time, excessive alcohol consumption can lead to the development of chronic diseases and other serious problems:
Source: Division of Population Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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“Alcohol can affect your brain in a number of ways,” says Michael Jay Nussbaum, MD, FACS, FASMBS, chief of bariatric surgery at Morristown Medical Center. “[Alcohol] affects the frontal lobes of your brain. That’s where personality and most cognitive functions happen.” Your frontal lobe is the part of the brain that is responsible for reasoning and decision making. And, when you have too much to drink, your brain’s ability to reason and make decisions is compromised. This is why people have a tendency to make terrible decisions after drinking too many cocktails (“I’m good to drive!”).
Heavy drinking can also mess with your mood – and exacerbate any underlying mental health problems. “Although alcohol can have a temporary relaxing or uplifting effect on mood, alcohol can be a depressant,” says Adam Perlman, MD, MPH, FACP, and holistic health and wellness expert at Duke University. “It affects our brains and the chemicals in our brains … in ways that make it more difficult for us to manage stress and put us at greater risk for depression, anxiety and suicide.”
Guide To Drinking Levels
Alcohol negatively affects the hippocampus, the area of the brain that forms new memories. This is why you may struggle to remember some of the details of a night of drinking or, in extreme cases, experience a complete blackout. Drinking it can affect the cerebellum, which controls balance. It’s the culprit behind the clumsy way people walk when they drink too much (or, more realistically, become disoriented).
If you have too much alcohol only on rare occasions, your brain bounces back very quickly. But if you overdose on regular, you can experience long-term cognitive impairment and brain damage.
Drinking too much can do some serious damage to your body—starting with dehydration. “Alcohol causes you to urinate more—and in doing so, you become dehydrated,” says Nussbaum. “[Alcohol also] causes your blood vessels to dilate, which exacerbates dehydration, lowers your blood pressure, and [leads to headaches and passing out].”
Alcohol can also cause an inflammatory response in the body. One study found that CRP, a marker of inflammation, increased proportionally with alcohol consumption. In other words, the more you drink, the more inflammation you experience. And, the inflammatory response can be even worse if you are taking certain medications. “Even relatively small amounts of alcohol can cause problems like stomach inflammation, especially when combined with medications like anti-inflammatories,” Perlman says.
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Is binge drinking just another way to wreak havoc on your body? This can cause your blood sugar to rise and fall. The side effects after the crash aren’t going to leave you feeling too hot. “Alcohol can lower your blood sugar,” says Nussbaum. “Low blood sugar can cause fatigue, weakness, shakiness, mood disturbances — even seizures.”
Drinking too much alcohol (and drinking too much, too often) messes up your liver, your pancreas, and your heart. It can also cause some cancers. “Alcohol consumption can damage your liver and interfere with the detoxification of other harmful substances and medications,” says Nussbaum. “Alcohol consumption [also] can cause cancers such as throat, mouth, esophagus, stomach and breast cancer,” he adds.
And, if that’s not enough for you, drinking too much can lead to unwanted weight gain. “Weight gain from alcohol use is very common,” says Nussbaum. “Alcohol contains hundreds, if not thousands, of empty calories … some mixed drinks can contain an entire day’s worth of calories.”
So, clearly, drinking too much is not good for your brain, your body, or your health in general. But, how do you know when you (or someone you’re with) has crossed the line from having fun with a few cocktails to having no fun at all?
What Is Excessive Alcohol Use?
“Early signs that someone may be drunk include loss of coordination, a flushed face, and slurred speech,” says Perlman. “This can progress to more symptoms such as confusion, vomiting, loss of consciousness, irregular breathing, decreased body temperature and seizures.”
If you start experiencing some of these serious symptoms, you may be dealing with alcohol poisoning — and you should seek help immediately. “With continued drinking, being ‘tipsy’ or drunk can progress to alcohol poisoning. [This] can be a life-threatening condition and requires emergency treatment if suspected,” Perlman says.
If you wake up in the morning feeling like absolute hell after a night of heavy drinking, think of the hangover you have as your brain and body’s way of thinking that no matter how much you drank the night before, it was too much.
“Hangovers are caused by dehydration, toxic byproducts of alcohol’s metabolism—as well as other inflammatory chemicals—additives to alcohol (mostly found in dark liquors, which make them more likely to cause a hangover), low blood sugar, and disrupted sleep,” Perlman says.
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If you overeat, don’t sweat it. The main thing is not to let it become a habit. Next time you drink, stick to the moderate drinking guidelines of Disease Control and Prevention. That is, one drink per day for women, two drinks per day for men.
In the meantime, maybe Google can cure some hangovers, drink a glass of water, and go back to sleep. And remember, you can always get back on track when you feel better. Continue your fitness routine or start one today with the app.
(If you’re worried about your alcohol use, help is available. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has resources and information to help you decide if your drinking is a problem—and where to get help if you need it.)
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