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Alcohol Use and Your Health

It's bad for your body to drink too much. From 2015 to 2019, drinking too much alcohol cut the lives of more than 140,000 people in the United States by an average of 26 years. This is called 3.6 million years of potential life lost (YPLL). Additionally, excessive drinking contributed to one in five deaths among people between the ages of 20 and 49. 2 In 2010, it was predicted that drinking too much booze would cost the economy $249 billion, or $2.05 a drink. 

What kind of drink is that?

Alcohol Use and Your Health
There are 0.6 ounces (14.0 grammes, or 1.2 tablespoons) of pure alcohol in a normal drink in the United States. In general, this much pure alcohol can be found in 12 ounces of beer (5% alcohol level).
  •  8 ounces of malt liquor (7% alcohol content).
  •  5 ounces of wine with 12% alcohol.
  •  1.5 ounces of 80-proof (40% alcohol content) distilled spirits or spirits (e.g., gin, rum, vodka, whisky). 4
What does "too much drinking" mean?
People who are pregnant or younger than 21 years old and drink too much are considered excessive drinkers.
  •  Binge drinking, which is the most common form of drinking too much, means having four or more drinks in one sitting for women and five or more drinks in one sitting for men.
  •  Drinking a lot is known as heavy drinking.
eight or more drinks a week for women.
15 or more drinks a week for men.
Most people who drink too much are not drinkers or hooked on booze. 5 What does 

What is moderate drinking?

Alcohol Use and Your Health
According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, people who are old enough to drink can choose not to drink or drink in moderation by having no more than two drinks a day for men and no more than one drink a day for women. 4 The Guidelines also say that people who don't normally drink alcohol shouldn't start drinking for any reason, and if adults of legal drinking age do decide to drink alcohol, they should drink less than they normally would. 4

Some people should not drink booze, such as those who are:

  •  Less than 21 years old.
  •  Either pregnant or likely to be pregnant.
  •  driving, making plans to drive, or doing other things that need skill, balance, and awareness.
  •  Taking some prescription or over-the-counter drugs that might not work well with drinking.
  •  going through certain physical problems.
  •  They are trying to get sober or can't control how much they drink.
In order to keep yourself and others safe, you should follow the Dietary Guidelines.
Health Risks in the Short Term
Too much alcohol use has instant effects that raise the risk of many health problems that are bad for you. These are most often caused by drinking too much and include the following:
  •  Injuries, like those that happen in car accidents, jumps, drownings, and burns.  Violence, such as murder, suicide, sexual attack, and violence between close partners.