Excessive drinking is a common occurrence for many Americans. It leads to over 140,000 deaths each year and can shorten someone’s life by 26 years. It’s critical to understand the short and long-term effects of excessive drinking and how to slow your drinking.
AFC Urgent Care Bedford has the resources you need to live a healthier lifestyle. Our providers can give you the tools you need to turn your bad habits around and live better. Call or visit AFC Bedford today to speak with one of our board-certified providers.
What is Considered Excessive Drinking?
By definition, excess drinking is considered any binge or heavy drinking is done by a typical, of-age person. Excessive drinking is also when a pregnant woman or someone under the age of 21 consumes alcohol.
Binge drinking is the most common form of excessive drinking. Binge drinking occurs when a woman has four or more drinks on one occasion, or a man has five or more drinks on one occasion. Heavy drinking is eight or more drinks consumed by a woman and 15 or more for a man.
The CDC has said most people who binge drink are not dependent on alcohol, nor are they alcoholics.
What is Considered Normal Drinking?
Normal drinking is also referred to as moderate drinking. When a man drinks two or fewer drinks in a night, or a woman drinks one or less, that is moderate. Not drinking at all is the top recommendation from doctors. If someone over the age of 21 does not drink, it’s advised not to start for any reason. However, if you do start, drinking less is healthier than excessive drinking.
Anyone who is under the age of 21, a woman who is or might be pregnant, anyone taking prescription medications that can interfere with alcohol, or anyone who is a recovering alcoholic should not drink alcohol.
Short-term Health Effects
Drinking excessively can have many negative short-term health effects. In most cases, these are a result of binge drinking. Some common short-term impacts include:
- Motor vehicle crashes, falls, drowning, or burns
- Violence, including sexual assault, homicide, suicide, or domestic abuse
- Alcohol poisoning
- Risky sexual behavior, including unprotected sex
- Miscarriage, stillbirth, or fetal alcohol spectrum disorders
Long-term Health Effects
Excessive alcohol use over a long period of time can lead to chronic conditions that can severely impact your quality of life. Some serious long-term health effects include:
- Heart disease, high blood pressure, liver disease, or stroke
- Weakening of the immune system
- Memory problems, including dementia
- Mental health problems, including depression and anxiety
- Social problems, family problems, or work-related problems, including unemployment
- Alcohol dependency
By lowering the amount or eliminating how much you drink, you can reduce your risk of both short and long-term health effects.