Because alcohol is so popular, and legal, harm reduction is often overlooked. Even though alcohol use is so common it is still a dangerous drug. It can affect almost every organ in the body and even cause overdose or dependence. Alcohol overdose is deadly and withdrawal from alcohol addiction can be life threatening. According to the CDC, 6 people die every day in the United States from alcohol poisoning. In addition to this, about 1/7 adults will have an alcohol abuse disorder in their lifetimes.
Excessive drinking is one of the most deadly habits; it can cause liver disease, heart disease, and brain damage. Drunk driving is also one of the leading causes of death in the United States. There are many ways to be a smart drinker:
Many people do not really know the healthy or normal quantity to drink. In the United States, binge drinking is typically defined as consuming 5 or more alcoholic beverages over a two-hour period for males, or 4 beverages for females. To be safe, consuming 1 drink per hours is acceptable. One drink is defined as 1 shot of hard liquor (40% ABV), 1 glass of wine, or 1 beer.
Alcohol causes dehydration. Consuming water will prevent this. Water also helps dilute alcohol in the blood stream, preventing over intoxication. Water also helps prevent hangovers and is good for the liver. Alcohol also will dry out the skin, so water will help prevent unhealthy skin. Always drink water in between drinks.
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, more than 14 drinks per week for men, or more than 7 drinks per week for women is defined as heavy drinking, and sometimes alcohol abuse disorder. To some, this number may seem low, but this is because of cultural norms. Heavy drinking is on the rise, especially among young people. Often alcohol dependence will come on suddenly, and surprisingly for most. Consuming several drinks of alcohol every day is not healthy. 1 or 2 drinks a day is considered low-risk.
Blood-Alcohol content is the amount of alcohol in your blood stream. This is what law enforcement uses to determine if you are “sober enough” to drive. In most jurisdictions the legal limit is .08 BAC or lower. This is the accepted number to determine if a person is drunk. This is also the limit for being in public. A BAC higher than .08 can lead to an arrest, whether it be for DUI, drunk in public, or drunk and disorderly. There are key chains and pocket breathalyzers that determine BAC. There are also websites to help determine BAC. NEVER drive if you are drinking, even if you are just “buzzed”. Any amount of alcohol slows reaction time and judgment, which is why so many people crash cars while intoxicated. It is estimated that 60% of people will be involved in a drunk driving accident in their lifetime.
If You Think Tou Are Dependent on Alcohol
Alcohol dependence is one of the most dangerous addictions. It can cause seizures, tremors, hallucinations, delusions, coma, or even death. If you think you are addicted to alcohol, always seek medical attention. If you have tremors in the morning, there is a good chance you are physically addicted to alcohol. Alcohol dependence requires a medical detox process that requires several medications. Never try to taper off of alcohol or quit cold turkey. If you binge drink often, always have days of sobriety in between drinking. This will prevent dependence and further liver damage.
Alcohol is extremely hard on the liver. If you binge drink often or are a hard drinker you should refrain from using other things that are bad for the liver. Regularly consuming foods and toxins that are harmful to the liver significantly increase your chances of developing liver disease. Some things to avoid are: tobacco, illicit drugs, acetaminophen, red meat, and excess dairy.