You have probably heard that drinking alcohol in moderation is safe, but it is possible to drink too much. In fact, drinking to excess increases your risk of health problems and can lead to the development of an alcohol addiction. Excessive drinking can be treated with alcohol rehab and other supportive services, like working with a recovery coach or participating in medication assisted treatment for alcohol use. So, how much alcohol is too much? Learn the answer, as well as information about when it’s time to seek help, here.
Alcohol Consumption Guidelines
Understanding what constitutes too much alcohol begins with learning about alcohol consumption guidelines. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) reports that men should limit their drinking to no more than two drinks per day, and women should have no more than one drink per day. Alternatively, people can choose not to drink at all, as there is no dietary need for alcohol.
Factors in Alcohol Consumption
The above guidelines provide information pertaining to how many drinks a day is safe, but these are just general recommendations. Some people should avoid drinking altogether, based upon personal factors such as:
- Medications they’re taking
- Health conditions
- Family or personal history of alcohol misuse
Avoiding alcohol consumption under certain circumstances may be necessary for health and safety. For example, certain medications can interact with alcohol and create serious side effects, such as sleepiness, dizziness, and in some cases, overdose and death. Older adults may be particularly at risk of alcohol overdose.
Furthermore, those under the age of 21, and women who are pregnant or trying to conceive should avoid alcohol consumption. Finally, people with a history of alcohol misuse, or a high risk for such based upon family history, may need to avoid drinking altogether.
In summary, while there are guidelines on how much alcohol per day is too much, there are some cases where any alcohol at all is a risk.
According to the NIAAA, 25.8% of American adults binge drink within a given month. While this may be a common practice, the reality is that binge drinking can increase the risk of developing an alcohol use disorder, which is the clinical term for an alcohol addiction.
Binge drinking is generally defined as 5 or more drinks during one sitting for a man, or 4 or more drinks in one sitting for a woman. Binge drinking is one form of alcohol consumption falling under the category of too much alcohol.