What are the Risks of Drinking Alcohol?

Alcohol consumption can have a range of effects on your body, some of which can be dangerous. When you drink alcohol, it increases the production of stomach acid and slows down the emptying of your stomach. This can lead to abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting. Additionally, alcohol can cause your blood sugar levels to drop, leading to fatigue, weakness, tremors, mood changes, and even seizures.

The UK's low-risk drinking guidelines recommend limiting the amount of alcohol you consume each week. The safest amount for men and women is no more than 14 units a week, spread out over three or more days with several days without drinking. It is also important to note that disulfiram is used in certain people with chronic alcoholism. This medication helps keep people from drinking by causing unpleasant side effects if alcohol is consumed while taking it. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that adults of legal drinking age can choose not to drink or drink in moderation by limiting their intake to two drinks or less in a day for men or one drink or less in a day for women on days when alcohol is consumed.

The amount that can cause alcohol poisoning depends on your age, gender, size, weight, how fast you've been drinking, how much you've eaten, your general health, and whether you've taken medications or drugs. To slow down the rate at which you drink and help limit the amount of alcohol you consume, be sure to drink water or soft drinks. Alcohol poisoning can occur if you drink faster than your body can process it and it can be very dangerous. Both men and women can be affected; however, women tend to have higher blood alcohol levels after drinking the same amount of alcohol as men, so they may be at greater risk of alcohol poisoning. A person may have only had a few drinks or may have had several, but this alone is not a reliable indicator of possible alcohol poisoning. In the United States, a standard beverage contains 0.6 ounces (14.0 grams or 1.2 tablespoons) of pure alcohol.

Eating a healthy meal before drinking can help decrease the absorption of alcohol; however, this does not mean it is safe to drink a lot. Do not drink alcohol while taking disulfiram and for 14 days after you stop taking this medication. If you decide to drink alcohol, it is important to limit the amount you consume on a single occasion and never drink too much in order to keep your short-term risks (including alcohol poisoning, accidents or injuries) low.

Sophia Streeby
Sophia Streeby

Addiction recovery expert from experience and training - I want to help others Quit drinking alcohol and find freedom from addiction daily.