It’s the season of celebrating and many people will usher in the new year with the pop of a champagne cork or a glass of wine with dinner. Before long, we will be watching the bowl games with a beer in hand. Alcohol can be a fun part of celebrating but can be a problem for many people.
Alcohol intake is a problem when it affects one’s personal or professional life. If someone has told you that you drink too much, you probably do. Alcohol use and dependence runs in families. Problem drinking can affect women and men of all ages and backgrounds but it’s more common among men. Alcohol abuse is common over the age of 65 and causes many fall-related injuries. Alcohol also interacts with medications.
Over the long term, alcoholics can develop diseases of the liver, pancreas, brain and heart. Alcohol can destroy families and careers.
One drink is 12 oz of beer, 9 oz of malt liquor, 5 oz of wine or 1.5 oz of 80 proof liquor. Moderate drinking is less than 2 drinks per day for men and less than one drink per day for women or anyone older than 65 years. Binge drinking is more than 4 drinks for women or 5 drinks for men at a single occasion.
If you think that alcohol is a problem in your life or a problem for someone you love, there is effective treatment. The gold standard is Alcoholics Anonymous for the drinker and Al-Anon for those suffering collateral damage.