Filipinos love to celebrate by drinking alcoholic beverages during the holidays, on special occasions, and, at times, for no reason at all. This may lead to the habit of excessive drinking, which can also result in a host of health problems if not addressed immediately. But first, people need to know when drinking is considered “too much.”
How Much is Too Much?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is clear about how drinking moderately and excessively is different. One to two drinks daily for women and men, respectively, falls under moderate drinking.
The definition of excessive drinking also differs slightly for men and women. It starts for women after their fourth drink and, for men, after their fifth drink—where a single standard drink is equal to any of the following: a bottle of beer, 8–9 fl oz of malt liquor, a glass of wine, or 1.5 fl oz shot of a hard drink like gin, rum, vodka, or whiskey.
According to the CDC, alcohol consumption beyond these numbers twice per week is already considered heavy drinking. CDC likewise mentions that people younger than 21, pregnant women, and those taking maintenance or prescription medicines should abstain from drinking.
8 Adverse Effects of Drinking Too Much Alcohol
It is a sad truth that, often, people only realize how damaging alcohol is to their health once they develop these medical conditions.
1. Liver damage
Liver cirrhosis, a kind of alcoholic liver disease (ALD), is one of the most common causes of the untimely demise of those suffering from alcoholism. Cirrhosis-related deaths all over the world number to about 1 million every year.
This disease refers to the inflammation of the pancreatic organ, which produces juices or enzymes that help in the digestion process. In Asian countries like the Philippines, it has been discovered that a large number of people lack the enzyme for breaking down alcohol.
3. Sexual and reproductive dysfunction
Some may think that being drunk will help lengthen their “staying power,” while others may feel that it removes their inhibitions for more fun under the sheets. On the contrary, drinking too much alcohol can cause erectile dysfunction or impotence among men and pregnancy-related problems in women.
4. Weakening of the immune system
A prolonged weakening of the immune system can lead to a higher risk of pneumonia and tuberculosis, among other infectious diseases, as well as various types of cancer.
5. Short-term effects
After drinking too much alcohol, slurred speech instantly takes place, affecting the way a person’s body and brain communicate with one another. This slow reaction time then results in poor coordination, which is why drunk driving is not advisable.
Drunk driving is said to cost the life of one person every 50 minutes in road accidents as the driver may find it hard to concentrate or react to situations quickly or properly.
7. Brain shrinkage
As a result, the brain may be unable to perform complex mental functions like problem-solving, decision making, or assessing risk and danger within the environment.
Employment issues also crop up among heavy alcohol drinkers as they fail to deliver what is expected of them at work. Absenteeism, decreased productivity, and inferior quality of work—all of these may cause the concerned employees to lose their job or the company to be less profitable.
Cut Back on Alcohol Consumption for a Healthier Lifestyle
These conditions are the direct result of failing to drink in moderation. Some of these effects are short-term, while others are more life-threatening. Perhaps a good reminder is that happiness need not come from excessive or heavy alcohol binging but from having a healthy lifestyle.
Should you have health concerns related to liver disease, please reach out to Makati Medical Center. MakatiMed doctors will help you address your alcohol-related health problems in a professional and caring manner.