Do you or someone you know struggle with alcohol addiction? It may be more common than you realize. April is alcohol awareness month, and we are getting into all the facts surrounding this ‘drug’.
A new trend that can lead to alcohol addiction is High Intensity Drinking- which is consuming alcohol at levels that are two or more times than gender specific binge drinking thresholds. People who engage in this new High Intensity Drinking trend are 70-93% more likely to have an alcohol related emergency department visit.
As we all know now, drinking and alcohol addiction can harm your physical, mental and emotional health. During a four-year span, from 2011-2015 alcohol led to about 95,000 deaths and 2.8 million years of potential life lost (YPLL) each year, shortening the lives of those who died by an average of 29 years.
Now let’s get into what is a drink and when to know if it is too much:
In the United States a standard drink contains .6 ounces of pure alcohol. This typically can be found in 12 ounces of beer, 8 ounces of malt liquor, 5 ounces of wine, and 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits (gin, vodka, whiskey etc…). Each drink has its own, ABC (alcohol by volume). In those 12 ounces of beer, there is 5% ABV, 7% ABV in 8 ounces of malt liquor, 12% ABV in 5 ounces of wine and 40% ABV in 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits.
So, based on the knowledge we have of how much alcohol content is in each drink, what is considered excessive drinking?
Binge drinking is the most common form of excessive drinking. For women, binge drinking is 4 or more drinks in a single occasion and for men, 5 or more drinks in a single occasion. Heavy drinking for women is 8 or more drinks in a week and for men, 15 or more drinks in a week. Most people who drink excessively are not alcoholics or alcohol dependent.
According to the CDC, moderate drinking is considered 1 drink or less a day for woman and 2 drinks or less a day for me.
Let’s get into the health risks alcohol causes:
The most common health risk from alcohol addiction is motor vehicle crashes. Alcohol has immediate effects that increase the risk of being impaired while driving. You should not under any circumstance operate a motor vehicle after you’ve been drinking.
Other health risks that put the public in danger include, violence, suicide or homicide, and sexual assault. Personal health risks include alcohol poisoning and emergencies from high blood-alcohol levels.
Long term risks: over time, excessive use of alcohol can lead to chronic diseases and other serious issues including…
- High blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, liver disease, and digestive problems.
- Cancer of the breast, mouth, throat, esophagus, voice box, liver, colon, and rectum.
- Weakening of the immune system, increasing the chances of getting sick.
- Learning and memory problems, including dementia and poor school performance.
- Mental health problems, including depression and anxiety.
- Social problems, including family problems, job-related problems, and unemployment.
- Alcohol use disorders, or alcohol dependence
Now that we understand the risks and overdrinking tendencis, here are 5 interesting facts to know about alcohol:
- It only takes 6 minutes for the brain to react to alcohol
- 1 in 5 top 100 country music songs refer to alcohol.
- Vodka is the world’s most popular alcohol with approx. 5 billion liters consumed per year
- .914% – was the highest ever recorded blood alcohol content, which is more than twice the typical lethal limit
- The strong beer in the world has 67.5% alcohol content
If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol addiction, or feel that someone is excessive drinking, Emerald can help! Our Substance Use Disorder Intensive Outpatient Program is an outpatient level of care that combines group therapy with individual therapy and a specialized treatment plan based on your needs to get you back on your feet living your best life Reach out today to make hope happen!