- Have I failed to do what was expected of me because of my drinking?
- Have I ever felt guilty or concerned about my drinking?
- Has drinking impacted my relationships with family and friends?
- Has anyone in my life been worried about my drinking or asked me to cut down?
Alcohol & Health
Drinking moderate amounts of alcohol daily, such as two 12-ounce beers or two 5-ounce glasses of wine, offers some health benefits, especially for the heart. It can reduce your risk of developing heart disease and peripheral vascular disease, lowers your risk of developing gallstones, and possibly reduces your risk of stroke and diabetes. Anything more than moderate drinking can lead to serious health problems, however, including strokes; pancreatitis; cancer of the liver, pancreas, mouth, larynx or esophagus; heart-muscle damage; high blood pressure; and cirrhosis of the liver.
1 AnswerMultiple Sclerosis Foundation answeredDrinking more than 14 drinks a week for men or more than seven drinks a week for women is associated with an increased risk of health consequences, as is drinking more than four (women) or five (men) drinks per occasion. Alcohol consumption is only one piece of the equation, however. Not everyone who drinks has a drinking problem, and not everyone who has a drinking problem drinks every day. Try asking yourself the following questions:Helpful? 1 person found this helpful.
1 AnswerMultiple Sclerosis Foundation answeredThere is increasing evidence that moderate alcohol consumption may bring some health benefits, but it is far clearer that alcohol misuse is linked to a host of medical problems including cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke and cirrhosis, as well as oral, gastrointestinal and breast cancer. As a result, it is still considered one of the leading causes of preventable death.
1 AnswerMichael Breus, PhD, Psychology, answeredIt can be tempting to decompress at the end of the day with a drink or two. But if you’re worried about your bank account, the ups and downs of the stock market, or the security of your job, then drinking to combat these stressful circumstances is a bad idea. This kind of drinking can lead to dependence. Moreover, alcohol, though it may make you feel temporarily relaxed and sleepy, will actually undermine your sleep. Use exercise, meditation and time with friends and loved ones to provide yourself with relaxation and solace, not alcohol.
1 AnswerIn low doses, alcohol produces a feeling of relaxation and well-being, makes people more interactive and talkative, and has beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system. However, in even moderate doses, alcohol begins to act as a depressant.
The effects of alcohol at low doses include the following:
- Loss of good judgment. Impaired judgment often causes an individual to drive faster than normally, thereby increasing the risk of automobile and other accidents.
- Reduced peripheral vision. This also results in increased risk of accidents, particularly automobile accidents.
- Feelings of sadness. As consumption continues, the depressed person eventually feels worse instead of better.
- Impaired coordination.
- Impaired perception.
- Impaired reaction time.
- Sleepiness. Feeling tired is a result of general depression of brain function due to alcohol itself or its metabolite acetaldehyde. However, chronic use of alcohol tends to reduce dream sleep, resulting in reduced quality of sleep, increased irritability, and decreased feelings of well-being.
- Alcohol abuse can lead to obesity and heart, liver, kidney and gastric disease.
- In at least one-half of suicides and severe accidents, alcohol (or other drug) consumption is a contributing factor. The combination of loss of judgment, impaired vision, impaired coordination and sadness can be deadly due to accidents or accidents that are in fact attempted suicides.
- At least one-half of domestic violence episodes, assaults, and homicides are associated with consuming alcohol (and other drugs). Impaired judgment may lead to loss of inhibition, which in turn may, in some people, result in increased violent behaviors.
- It is estimated that at least 10% of the population has a dangerous or addictive pattern of alcohol use, and alcohol misuse is estimated to be one of the top five precipitating causes of death in the U.S. One of the most devastating consequences of alcohol abuse is that alcohol can become an addiction. Alcohol addicts cannot control consumption. For these people, seeking alcohol becomes an essential and central theme and purpose of their lives, and alcohol becomes more important than home, job, friends and family. All relationships and activities suffer dramatically, eventually making all aspects of the addicted person's life worse.
1 AnswerMehmet Oz, MD, Cardiology, answeredThere’s nothing wrong with having a cocktail or two, but it’s easy to overdo it. The next time you’re your sipping on something with friends, consider these points:
- Cut back: Having only two glasses of red wine as opposed to four translates into saving about 300 calories a night. Over the course of a year, that’s 21 cups of sugar, equating to a 5-pound weight loss.
- Make smart swaps: Instead of wine, try a vodka and soda. You’ll save around 100 calories. Flavored vodka with soda water provides a bubbly burst of sweetness without the excessive sugar or calories.
- If your drink of choice is white wine, try creating your own spritzer: Use about 4 ounces of white wine with a big splash of lemon-lime seltzer water for around only 100 calories.
- Go virgin: Don’t forget, you can still toast with classy cocktails sans alcohol.
Research shows having one drink a day may help protect your heart health and your entire vascular system. Enjoying a moderate amount of alcohol also seems to raise levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) (good) cholesterol. In addition, it helps you to wind down, so your blood pressure can wind down, too. Although wine itself doesn't contain omega-3 fatty acids, research suggests that a bit of wine -- not too much, not too little -- somehow boosts blood levels of these heart-healthy fatty acids.
1 AnswerJohn Preston, PsyD, Psychology, answeredAlcohol is a mood-altering substance that some people with bipolar disorder use to self-medicate, which means that they use it to either drown their emotions or calm mania. When it comes to alcohol consumption, a good rule to follow is to have none at all because of its possible interaction with many medications. However, if you choose to drink, a safe guideline is to limit yourself to one drink per day, which is equal to one glass of wine, one ounce of spirits, or one 12-ounce can or bottle of beer. Don't drink alcohol within an hour of taking your medications, to avoid possible interactions. The recommended daily intake of caffeine is 250 mg (12 ounces of coffee) or less, to avoid interference with sleep. Keeping a healthy sleep pattern is an important way to manage bipolar episodes. So, your caffeine intake is very important to your overall mental health. If you find that your caffeine intake is above 250 mg, you'll want to cut back. Also restrict your caffeine intake to the early part of the day so your body will have time to process it before your bedtime.
Find out more about this book:Bipolar 101: A Practical Guide to Identifying Triggers, Managing Medications, Coping with Symptoms, and More
Hangover symptoms include headache, dizziness, upset stomach, fatigue, and nausea. Symptoms usually disappear within 24 hours. If your hangover lasts longer than that or if you have tremors, blackouts, or blood in your vomit, call your medical professional immediately. These are serious symptoms that require medical attention.
1 AnswerThere is no cure for a hangover -- only time. Fortunately, hangover symptoms last only about 24 hours. To ease the symptoms, try these home remedies:
- Alcohol causes dehydration, so drink plenty of water. Also drink fruit juice and tomato juice.
- For headache, take acetaminophen unless you have known liver disease or drink heavily and, therefore, may be at risk for liver disease.
- Because alcohol consumption may have already irritated your stomach lining, avoid aspirin and ibuprofen since they may increase this irritation.
- Use a cold pack to relieve headache pain.
- For an upset stomach, take an over-the-counter antacid. Peppermint and chamomile tea may also help.
- Bouillon soup or sports beverages may help replace depleted salt and potassium.
- Avoid caffeinated beverages because they can cause further dehydration.
- Vitamin C may increase the rate of alcohol breakdown in the body.
- Do not have an alcoholic drink in the morning as a cure for a hangover. Another drink does not help and may only make the hangover worse.