Inasmuch as you may drink alcohol for reasons best known to you, you do so jeopardizing your health and sometimes the health of those around you, particularly when taken excessively.
As a matter of fact, alcohol depresses your central nervous system and exposes you to a myriad of health risks. The risk of harm associated with alcohol consumption increases with the amount of alcohol you drink. Some of these health risks are;
- Motor vehicle crashes
- High blood pressure
- Cancers (e.g. breast cancer, liver cancer)
- Learning and memory problems
- Increased likelihood of committing violent crimes or being the victim of a crime
- Social problems such as lost productivity, family problems, and unemployment
- Engaging in risky, unprotected sex, or experiencing sexual abuse or date rape
- Increased risk of attempted or completed suicide
- Miscarriage and stillbirth or fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) among pregnant women.
To reduce the risk of alcohol-related harms, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism recommends that adults of legal drinking age choose not to drink, or to drink in moderation by limiting intake to 2 drinks or less in a day for men or 1 drink or less in a day for women, on days when alcohol is consumed.
Though drinking less is better for health than drinking more, if you do not drink alcohol, then do not start for any reason. Also, most importantly, you should not drink any kind of alcoholic beverages if;
- You are pregnant or might be pregnant.
- You are under the legal age for drinking.
- You have certain medical conditions (e.g. Hepatitis, Breast cancer, etc.)
- You are on certain medications that can interact with alcohol.
- You are recovering from an alcohol use disorder
- You are unable to control the amount you drink.
- You are driving, planning to drive, or participating in other activities requiring skill, coordination, and alertness.
Talk with a doctor, a mental health professional or seek help from a support group if you feel that your alcohol consumption is too much, causing problems, or your family is concerned about your drinking.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020). Facts about moderate drinking. [Online]. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/moderate-drinking.htm Accessed on: 30/03/2021.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021). Alcohol Use and Your Health. [Online]. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/alcohol-use.htm Accessed on: 30/03/2021.
Healthline (2021). Alcoholism: Causes, risk factors and symptoms. [Online]. Available at: https://www.healthline.com/health/alcoholism/basics#risk-factors Accessed on: 05/04/2021.
Mayo Clinic. (2021). Alcohol use disorder – symptoms and causes. [Online]. Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/alcohol-use-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20369243 Accessed on: 05/04/2021.
The wrtiter holds Msc in Public Health, KNUST.