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How Much is Too Much Alcohol?

April 27, 2022

More than 1 out of 6 Georgia residents drink too much.

You don’t need to be alcoholic to drink excessively. Just look at government guidelines:

  • Binge drinking is the most common form of excessive drinking and it involves drinking four or more drinks during a single occasion if you are a woman, five or more drinks if you are a man.
  • Heavy drinking means you drink eight or more drinks a week if you are a woman, 15 or more if you are a man.
  • Underage drinking means that you drink if you are under 21 years of age, which is illegal.
  • Pregnant drinking means that you consume alcohol while you are pregnant, which poses a developmental risk for the fetus.

The CDC recommends that people of legal drinking age avoid drinking or drink in moderation, which is one drink a day or less for women and two drinks or less for men.

While drinking can be fun and relaxing, it poses serious risks. Obviously, excessive drinking can lead to accidents and injury-causing stumbles. But excessive binge drinking can result in cases of alcohol poisoning, which requires immediate medical attention. It can also lead to risky sexual behaviors and unintended pregnancy.

But the long-term health risks are, potentially, more serious for more people. Excessive alcohol use can lead to:

  • Cardiovascular problems. Drinking excessively can contribute to high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, liver disease, and other problems.
  • Alcohol consumption has been linked to cancer of the breast, mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, colon, and rectum.
  • Immune problems. Excessive drinking can weaken your immune system, which increases the risk of your getting sick.
  • Brain function issues. Excess alcohol consumption is tied to learning and memory problems, including dementia. In younger people, it can affect academic performance.
  • Mental health issues. Too much alcohol can contribute to higher rates of anxiety and depression.
  • Social problems. Excessive drinking can create family problems, job-related problems, and lead to unemployment.

You can reduce the risk of these short- and long-term health problems by reducing your alcohol consumption – or stopping completely.

Get the care you need

To get help in cutting back on alcohol or quitting entirely, you speak with your doctor. If you do not have a doctor, Grady Health System can help. If you need a primary care physician, give us a call at (404) 616-1000. We’ll arrange an appointment at a Primary Care Center near you. Doctors there can treat most conditions and provide access to Grady’s unparalleled medical specialty expertise.

alcohol in a glass

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