What are the risks of alcohol abuse?

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Howard J. Shaffer, PhD
Addiction Medicine
Alcohol misuse sharply raises the risk of illness from numerous health problems, including liver disease, heart disease, and some types of cancer. The dangers associated with alcohol abuse tend to vary throughout the lifespan. Compared with older people, young adults are more likely to engage in binge drinking (defined for men as having five or more drinks on the same occasion), which puts them at risk for injuries and alcohol poisoning. Elderly drinkers, on the other hand, don't metabolize alcohol as efficiently, so they have higher blood alcohol concentrations after drinking than younger people, which leaves them more impaired. Older people are also more likely to use prescription medications, many of which interact with alcohol, causing dangerous side effects.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.