The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics indicate that excessive alcohol consumption can in fact not just harm your health but drastically decrease your lifespan. CDC numbers in the United States indicate that in the from 2006 to 2010, there were around 88,000 deaths and approximately 2.5 million years of potential life that vanished due to alcoholism. This means those who have died at the time may have had 30 more years to live if it weren’t for alcoholism.
When Is Drinking Too Much?
Defining “alcoholism” however, can be tricky due to its potentially broad scope. It may help to first put things to perspective by defining that a a “drink” has alcohol amounting to a standard of 0.6 ounces. This is found in 1.5 ounces of 80 proof distilled liquor or spirits such as whiskey, vodka, and rum; wine measuring 5 ounces; malt liquor that is 8 ounces; and beer that is 12 ounces.
- When it comes to alcohol consumption, CDC puts people in two categories:
- Excessive drinking is heavy drinking, binge drinking, and any form of alcohol consumption by pregnant women and everyone under 21. This means consuming around 5 to 15 drinks in one occasion or per week, respectively, for men. This translates to 4 to 8 drink in one occasion or per week for women.
- Moderate drinking, meanwhile, is drinking alcohol of up to 2 drinks daily for men, and 2 drinks daily for women.
Alcoholism: Its Risks to Health
Now that you have an idea on how drinking can be defined, it’s time to proceed with its risks on your health. Unfortunately, given that people have different levels of alcohol tolerance, the effect of alcohol in the body will be pretty different from one person to the next. Its inherent risks, though, aren’t things to simply dismiss.
Short term risks of alcohol consumption actually appear immediately, and it can put you at risk if you’re not careful. Harmful health conditions attributed to alcohol consumption include:
- Stillbirth and miscarriage for pregnant women.
- Risks of getting HIV, sexually transmitted diseases, and unwanted pregnancy due to risky sexual behavior with one or multiple partners.
- Alcohol poisoning, which is a real condition that happens when someone reaches unrealistically high levels of blood alcohol.
- Violent acts such as intimate partner violence, sexal assault, suicide, and even homicide.
- Injuries from events such as burns, drownings, falls, and motor vehicle crashes.
Long term risks of alcohol consumption include conditions that may slowly develop over time. This means continuous drinking may in fact lead to things such as chronic diseases and other alarming conditions, including:
- Alcoholism, or alcohol dependence.
- Social problems such as unemployment, family problems, and lost productivity.
- Mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.
- Memory and learning problems, which may include poor school performance or dementia.
- Development of cancer in areas such as the colon, liver, esophagus, liver, throat, mouth, and breast.
- High blood pressure, digestive problems, liver diseases, stroke, and heart disease.
When it comes to alcohol’s risks on health, it’s sometimes important to take alcohol as a health risk seriously, even given the “relaxation” it can provide us from time to time. However, it’s important to remember that while alcohol isn’t an illegal substance, it’s still a substance that can have an effect on the minds of many when unused well. Click here if you want to explore your legal options on the matter.