What is Considered Heavy Drinking?
Alcohol has quickly become one of America’s most commonly abused substances, with severe long-term mental and physical health issues rising due to the poisonous toxins.
Moderate drinking is unlikely to cause any long terms lasting damage if you are an otherwise healthy individual. However, drinking regularly and heavily is an entirely different story. Heavy alcohol drinking, according to the National Institution on Alcohol abuse and alcoholism, is considered:
Men: Consuming more than four drinking on any given day or as a whole more than 14 alcoholic drinks per week
Women: The statistic is slightly lower for women with three drinks on any given day or more than seven drinks per week
As a rule, binge drinking is considered if an individual has drunk heavily for more than five days within the month’s timeframe. Understanding how moderate drinking is defined is the initial step to identifying if your drinking habits are borderline heavy drinking.
What is the difference between heavy drinking and alcoholism?
Alcoholism has been defined as a dependency in which an individual will experience withdrawal if regular consumption stops. Many individuals are classed as high functioning alcoholics to continue their daily lives, such as going to work, picking the kids up from school, staying on top of finances, etc. However, there is only so long until symptoms start to be identified from loved ones and peers.
Just before alcohol addiction takes its full grasp on an individual, they will go through a period of being classed as a heavy drinker. While you do not yet depend on alcoholic beverages, you do prefer to drink them to take the edge off life, even if there are severe consequences in your life, such as a failing relationship.
If you have noticed yourself or a loved one displaying symptoms of drinking more regularly than not, it would be advised that you seek help before the problem turns into an alcoholic addiction.
The effects of alcohol
Consuming too much alcohol regularly can have detrimental effects on the body both internally and externally, not to mention the likelihood of your mental health declining. The flowing long-term severe consequences can be:
The livers’ job is to flush out poisonous toxins such as alcohol from your body. However, your liver may begin to fail if you consume too much alcohol at a fast pace. The toxins within the drink will start to kill your liver cells and leading to longer-term scarring called cirrhosis. Additionally, long-term alcohol abuse can contribute to an individual developing fatty liver disease, which indicates that your liver is not working at the rate.
Anaemia occurs when the body is no longer creating enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen around the body. Subsequently, this can lead to inflammation, ulcers, and further severe long-term health issues.
Alcohol is known to make blood clots, high cholesterol, and high-fat levels all significantly likely. The heart must work twice as hard to pump enough oxygen around the body, which results in alcoholics having a higher chance of dying from heart disease.
Central nervous system problems
The poisonous toxins within alcohol affect the communication pathways within the brain, which makes it harder for you to:
- Remember the night
- Make decisions
- Moved your body
Heavy or binge drinking can additionally lead to serious mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and dementia.
There is a clear correlation between heavy alcohol use and a variety of cancers which can include but are not limited to:
Furthermore, alcohol will aid cancer-causing chemicals in such substances as tobacco enter your cells more efficiently.
Further long-term issues can include:
- Digestive problems
- Sleep apnea
- Severe mental health issues
How to reach out and get help
If you or a loved one are having trouble stepping back from alcohol, you may need to seek treatment for alcohol addiction. A specific treatment plan will be developed depending on the severity of your drinking abuse.
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To find out more about the treatment available and how to decrease the level of alcohol you are consuming, speak to one of our medical professionals here at Shoreline Sober Living.