Excessive Drinking Is Less Than You Think: 23 Ways a Drinking Habit Can Harm You

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What counts as excessive drinking? Less than most people may think. 

People who drink a glass of wine every other night with dinner and maybe more on weekends are usually considered social drinkers. But, according to health guidelines, this may be too much.

Women who consume eight or more alcoholic drinks per week are considered heavy drinkers. For men, that number is 15 alcoholic drinks a week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Also important is the amount of alcohol in a single drink. Many people are surprised to learn what counts as a standard drink. A standard drink of wine is considered to be 5 ounces and for beer it is 12 ounces. Adjusting for the standard drink sizes may push many from the social drinkers status to the heavy drinker one.

Alcohol’s impact on the body starts with the first sip. Moderate drinking is not usually a concern for most people, but the cumulative effect of drinking excessively — and for some people even moderately — can take a toll. 

To compile a list of 23 effects of long-term excessive drinking on the body, 24/7 Tempo reviewed dozens of medical publications and government health agencies websites, including  the National Institutes of Health and the CDC. 

Approximately 19.0% of adults in the U.S. report regularly consuming unhealthy amounts of alcohol. In some states, excessive drinking rates are higher. These are the drunkest states in America.