Unhealthy alcohol use encompasses a spectrum of alcohol use that increases the risk of health consequences to Alcohol Use Disorder. Consequences of unhealthy alcohol use include medical (damage to liver, brain, and heart), psychological (depression/anxiety, suicidal ideation), and social and legal problems.
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism (NIAAA) in the U.S., the following amounts of alcohol consumption increase health risks: For men younger than 65: More than 4 standard drinks on any day. For women or adults older than 65: More than 3 standard drinks on any day. A standard drink consists of 14 grams of alcohol, 5 ounces of wine, 12 ounces of beer or 1.5 ounces of 80 proof spirits.
Epidemiologically, 3 in 10 adults in the U.S. use alcohol in an unhealthy manner. 4-40 percent of medical and surgical patients experience problems related to alcohol. More than 85,000 deaths per year in the U.S. are directly attributed to alcohol use. 1 in 10 deaths among working-age adults results from excessive drinking. Risk factors for alcohol use increase in younger adults and white males, among disabled adults with other substance use or mood disorders and those with a genetic predisposition to alcoholism.
A quick way to screen for alcohol use and dependency is this questionnaire, called CAGE based on the acronym of its four questions:
- Do you need to Cut down on your drinking?
- Have people Annoyed you by criticizing your drinking?
- Do you feel Guilty about your drinking?
- Do you need to drink when you wake up in the morning (Eye-opener)?
Please contact our office before engaging in any form of self-treatment.