Humans have been drinking fermented beverages since 10,000 odd years ago. Since then the debate around whether alcohol is good or not has simmered now and then. The core issue with the use of any substance is addiction.
Addiction or a substance use disorder (SUD) can be termed as a chronic mental condition affecting the physical, mental and social well-being of a person.
Addiction is not just limited to alcohol it can be to cocaine, opioids or any other substance. In startling research, it is observed that 21 million Americans have at least one of these addictions. Yet only 10 per cent of these undergo treatment.
Among others, alcohol is the most abused substance taking the lives of 88,000 Americans every year. To raise awareness against alcoholism, April month is celebrated as Alcohol awareness month.
Undoubtedly, consumption of alcohol can serve both as a tonic and poison depending on the intake. But to determine its real effect on your overall well-being we need to comprehend the difference between a moderate drink and an excessive drink. There is no thumb rule to coin these terms however a general understanding is given below.
Difference between moderate and excessive drinking
According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, an adult man should not drink more than 2 drinks per day and a woman more than 1 drink per day. These levels of alcohol consumption per day can be considered as moderate drink.
Here is a fluid list of US Standard drink sizes:
Beer: 12 ounces have 5% alcohol by volume;
Wine: 5 ounces have 12% alcohol by volume;
Gin, Vodka, Rum, and whiskey: 1.5 ounces have 40% alcohol by volume distilled spirits.
In simple words, moderate drinking is the level at which the benefits of alcohol consumption outweigh its risks.
Anything above these levels can be considered excessive drinking.
Benefits of Alcohol Consumption
The active ingredient in alcohol is the molecule named ethanol. This molecule has a direct impact on the functioning of the heart, gallbladder, brain and liver.
While alcohol is good for health and we are not denying it researchers have always exercised utmost caution while stating the benefits of alcohol consumption. The reason is the benefits depend on many other factors like lifestyle, dietary habits, the environment you live in, etc. and majorly on the quantity of intake of alcohol.
Benefits of Moderate Drinking
Here are a few common benefits of moderate drinking:
Help with kidney stones:
41 per cent of moderate beer drinkers and 33 percent of moderate wine drinkers are less likely to get kidney stones. When you consume alcohol it increases the number of times you urinate and in that process, the smaller formation of stones gets washed out.
Saves you from a heart attack:
Moderate drinking can boost the levels of good cholesterol. This can save you from a heart attack or stroke.
Risk of Alcohol Consumption
The liver acts as a cleanser as it removes toxic substances from our body. Alcohol consumption can derail the smooth functioning of the lever. The malfunctioning of the liver leads to the accumulation of waste and toxic substances which can even be life-threatening.
Increased Sugar Levels:
Pancreas and liver jointly ensure that appropriate sugar levels are maintained in the body.
Excessive drinking has a detrimental effect on the overall functioning of the pancreas and liver. Due to this, a person can suffer from hyperglycemia.
A person suffering from diabetes or hyperglycemia should avoid drinking alcohol completely.
Disruption of the Digestive System:
Over a period of time, continuous alcohol consumption damages the cells and tissues which are present in your digestive tract. This leads to a condition of non-absorption of vitamins and minerals by your intestines leading to many disorders like gas, bloating, constipation, etc.
Invitation to heart diseases:
As mentioned earlier, moderate drinking helps keep your heart in good health but the reverse happens if your intake is frequent and with higher ABV.
One can face complications like irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, heart attack, heart failure, etc.
There are many more risks involved and associated with alcohol consumption viz.:
- Cancer of the breast, mouth, liver, throat, etc.
- Dysfunctionality of the immune system,
- Loss of memory,
- Mental health-related issues like depression, anxiety, etc.
- Miscarriage, born of a still child and other complications before – during – after pregnancy,
- Low production of sex hormone,
- Fatal injuries suffered under its influence like a car accident, drowning, etc.
The consumption of alcohol not just affects the individual under its influence but also the associated family members and friends. Clearly, the risks associated with alcohol overshadow the list of benefits.
During this awareness month, one must undertake a very calculative approach in spreading awareness about the topics of moderate and excessive drinking & benefits and risks of drinking. Also, ensure that whoever needs help gets it.
To know more, book an appointment today with True Health for yourself and your loved ones. For more details visit our website or call on (631) 581-0737 or send us an email at email@example.com.