What is a standard drink?

A standard drink contains 0.6 ounces (14.0 grams or 1.2 tablespoons) of pure alcohol in the United States. Commonly, this amount of pure alcohol is found in

  • 12 ounces of beer (5% alcohol).
  • 8 ounces of malt liquor (7% alcohol).
  • 5 ounces of wine (12% alcohol).
  • 1.5 ounces of alcohols or liquors distilled at 80% (40% alcohol) (eg, gin, rum, vodka, whiskey).

What is excessive alcohol consumption?

Binge drinking includes binge drinking, binge drinking, and any alcohol use by pregnant women or people under the age of 21.

  • Binge drinking, the most common form of binge drinking, is defined as drinking
    For women, 4 or more drinks on single occasion.
    5 or more drinks for men on single occasion.
  • Excessive alcohol consumption is defined as consuming
    For women, 8 or more drinks per week.
    For men, 15 or more drinks per week.

Most people who drink extremely are not alcoholics or dependent on alcohol.

What is moderate alcohol consumption?

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that adults of legal drinking age choose not to drink or drink in moderation by limiting their intake to 2 or less drinks per day for men or 1 or less per day for women, on days when alcohol is consumed. The Guidelines also do not recommend that non-alcoholic drinkers start drinking for any reason and that if adults of legal drinking age choose to drink alcoholic beverages, drinking less is better for health than drinking more.

Also Read: Harmful Effects of Alcohol on Your Body

There are some people who shouldn’t drink alcohol, including those who are:

  • Under 21 years old.
  • Pregnant or possibly pregnant.
  • Driving, planning to drive or participating in other activities which require alertness, coordination and skill.
  • Take certain prescription and over-the-counter medications that can interact with alcohol.
  • Suffering from certain medical conditions.
  • Recover from alcoholism or are unable to control the amount they drink.

By adhering to dietary guidelines, you can reduce the risk of harm to yourself or to others.

Short-term health risks

Excessive alcohol consumption has immediate effects that increase the risk of many harmful health problems. These are most often the result of excessive alcohol consumption and include the following:

  • Injuries, such as motor vehicle collisions, falls, drowning and burns.
  • Violence, including homicide, intimate partner violence, sexual assault and suicide.
  • Alcohol poisoning, a medical emergency that results from high levels of alcohol in blood.
  • Risky sexual behavior, including unprotected sex or sex with more than one partner. These behaviors can lead to unwanted pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV.
  • Miscarriage and stillbirth or Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) in pregnant women.

Long-term health risks

Over time, excessive alcohol consumption can lead to the development of chronic diseases and other serious problems, including:

  • Heart disease, high blood pressure, liver disease, stroke, and digestive issues.
  • Cancer of the breast, mouth, throat, esophagus, larynx, liver, colon and rectum.
  • Weak immune system, increasing the chances of getting sick.
  • Learning and memory problems, such as dementia and poor academic performance.
  • Mental health issues, including depression and anxiety.
  • Social issues, including family issues, work-related issues, and unemployment.
  • Alcohol use disorders or alcohol dependence.

By avoiding drinking too much, you can reduce the risk of these short and long term health risks.


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