Heavy Drinking and Your Health

How Much is Too Much?

Research conducted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH)shows that “3 in 10 adults drink at levels that put them at risk for alcoholism, liver disease and other problems.” The NIH’s Rethinking Drinking website discusses a number of topics including what is considered one drink and what to do if you are thinking of making a change.

According to the publication, for millions of Americans, sobriety from alcohol is the safest option. Some people may not realize how much alcohol they are consuming or even what is considered a standard drink. The NIH notes that even “moderate levels” of alcohol consumption can be unsafe. Moderate drinking is 1 drink per day for women and up to 2 drinks per day for men. Avoiding alcohol entirely is recommended any time you need to get behind the wheel of a car or are trying to get pregnant.

Determining whether you should stop drinking or consider making a change starts by looking at “how much you drink” and “how often you drink.” These two factors can help determine if you are at low, moderate, or high risk for developing health problems related to alcohol consumption. The NIH also notes that simply because someone is considered at “low risk” for developing alcohol-related health problems doesn’t mean that they are at “no risk.”

As noted on the website potential harm related to drinking includes:

  • Increased risk for injury
  • Long- and short-term health problems
  • Higher risk for having a child with birth defects
  • Greater chance of developing alcohol use disorders

Rethinking Drinking is a great resource for anyone that believes that they or a loved one might be suffering from a reliance on alcohol. Included is a series of questions that can help you assess whether you might be at risk for alcohol use disorder. Despite millions of Americans having the disorder, few ever get treatment.