Moderate <=1 drink/d for women; <=2 drinks/d for men
Binge Drinking 4 drinks for women, 5 drinks for men on one occasion
Heavy Drinking is binge drinking 5x in the past month
Alcohol Use Disorder - compulsive alcohol use, loss of control over alcohol intake, and a negative emotional state when not using
Who should avoid drinking
Plan to drive a vehicle or operate machinery
Take medications that interact with alcohol
Have a medical condition that alcohol can aggravate
Are pregnant or trying to become pregnant
Rates of drinking
56.0 percent of adults reported that they drank in the past month
26.9 percent of people ages 18 or older reported that they engaged in binge drinking in the past month
7.0 percent reported that they engaged in heavy alcohol use in the past month.
Alcohol and your body
Brain: Alcohol interferes with the brain’s communication pathways, and can affect the way the brain looks and works. These disruptions can change mood and behavior, and make it harder to think clearly and move with coordination.
Heart: Drinking a lot over a long time or too much on a single occasion can damage the heart, causing problems including:
Cardiomyopathy – Stretching and drooping of heart muscle
Arrhythmias – Irregular heart beat
High blood pressure
Liver: Heavy drinking takes a toll on the liver, and can lead to a variety of problems and liver inflammations including:
Steatosis, or fatty liver
Pancreas: Alcohol causes the pancreas to produce toxic substances that can eventually lead to pancreatitis, a dangerous inflammation and swelling of the blood vessels in the pancreas that prevents proper digestion.
Cancer: Source: National Cancer Institute -- see https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/alcohol/alcohol-fact-sheet
Head and neck cancer
Immune System: Drinking too much can weaken your immune system, making your body a much easier target for disease.
Chronic drinkers are more liable to contract diseases like pneumonia and tuberculosis than people who do not drink too much.
Drinking a lot on a single occasion slows your body’s ability to ward off infections – even up to 24 hours after getting drunk.