No April Fool’s joke here: April is Alcohol Awareness Month. Time to accept that excessive drinking causes a myriad of health and social problems.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) of the National Institutes of Health is promoting this beautiful month as the perfect time to learn about the risks of excessive drinking and consider your drinking habits.
Many moderate drinking adults do so research suggests the health-benefits of some drinking. However, problems with alcohol — which result from drinking too much, too fast, or too often — are among the most significant public health issues in the United States. An estimated 16.6 million Americans have “alcohol use disorder” — a medical term describing a range of mild, moderate, and severe alcohol problems. Binge drinking is common, with nearly one quarter of adults beyond age 18 reporting that they consumed five or more alcoholic drinks on at least one day in the month prior. This dangerous pattern is also prevalent among teens, ages 12-17, six percent of whom report binge drinking habits.
Even those who do not drink are affected by excessive drinking. In 2006, alcohol problems cost the American public $224 billion in lost productivity, health care and property damage costs.
According to the NIAAA, low-risk drinking for women is defined as no more than three drinks on any single day and no more than seven drinks per week. For men, it is defined as no more than four drinks on any single day and no more than 14 drinks per week.
If your drinking is beyond the recommended limits, cutting back or quitting can have significant health benefits, such as reduced risk for injury, depression, stroke, sexually transmitted diseases, and several types of cancer. Learn the impact of alcohol and take steps to stay healthy.