Moderate Versus Excessive Drinking: Know Your Limits

It’s a no-brainer that alcohol should not be taken in excessive amount because it can pose harmful effects to a person’s body and mind. Drinking alcohol is part of our cultural and social practice. In some countries, drinking alcohol is part or included in their everyday diet and not only during special occasions. Medical research even presented the therapeutic effects of drinking certain alcoholic drinks to physical and psychological health.

For example, drinking two glasses of red wine every day can decrease the risk of cardiovascular disorders among women. Moderate drinking of alcoholic drinks can also reduce the risk of having ischemic strokes and diabetes in adults. Despite these positive claims, it is still essential to impart the adverse and harmful effects of alcohol if taken excessively. “Drinking represses the negative emotions that affect the mental well-being of those with diagnosed mental health concerns and those who simply feel emotionally flooded. While it may allow for a short-lived relief from anxiety, depression, or overwhelming feelings, drinking alcohol is not a smart choice in the grand scope of mental well-being,” says Jesse Viner, MD.

 

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What Constitutes A Drink? 

When we go out to a party or dinner, we don’t usually mind the amount of alcohol that we drink. Our gauge to let us know when to stop drinking is when we are already intoxicated and having a hard time to regain ourselves because of drunkenness. Here’s what everyone should know what constitutes their glass of drink.  

An average drink encompasses 0.6 ounces (14.0 grams or 1.2 tablespoons) of unadulterated alcohol. So, when you order for your special drink, take the following as a guide on the amount of pure alcohol that you are allowing your body to take (Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture, 2015): 

 

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  • 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). 

The higher the proof content, the more dangerous is the effect on the body. Imagine, an 80-proof whiskey can kill pathogens and is even used to sanitize the skin in emergency situations. Drinking this every day can pose detrimental effects to the internal body organs and the whole-body systems in a prolonged time. 

“Excessive alcohol consumption is responsible for an average of 88,000 deaths each year, including one in 10 deaths among working-age Americans ages 20-64,” according to Rick Nauert PhD.

Levels Of Drinking Behavior 

We always hear the phrase, Drink moderately. But what does it mean? According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, moderate drinking is taking one drink per day for women and up to 2 drinks per day for men. Beyond these parameters, it is already considered not the norm. Some people would argue that they are drinking moderately, even doing it once a week. Yes, they can say that; however, when asked if how much are they drinking during this once-a-week-session, they would ambivalently answer Ummmmclose 10 to 12 bottles of beer.” Now, this is beyond the limit that the guideline is saying. Even if the interval of drinking is not close, the amount or volume of alcoholic drink is also tantamount to the number of drinks taken in one sitting only. 

 

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Excessive drinking is already binge drinking. This comprises heavy drinking and drinking by pregnant women and teenagers. A woman who binges drinks can take 4 or more drinks on a single occasion. In men, this will bring at least five drinks or more. Heavy drinking is when women drink 8 or more than per week and men drink 15 or more than a week. This can sound alarming, but the general rule is not all who drinks excessively are alcoholics or alcohol dependent. This will require a professional assessment and diagnosis is made to determine if a person is alcoholic or not. 

If you or your loved ones are experiencing problems with alcohol, it is always easy to ask for help. Claim that you have a problem and you need help. It will not always be easy at first, but professional mental health and support groups are still available to help you recover. 

“Treatment is what helps a person develop a commitment to change, keep the motivation to change, create a realistic plan to change and put the plan in action. Successful treatment means a person begins to experience the rewards of seeing the plan work. Just taking away the alcohol does not automatically produce any of these outcomes,” says Mark S. Gold, MD.

Reference: 

  1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2015 – 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 8th Edition, Washington, DC; 2015.