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What Is Considered Heavy Drinking?

heavy drinking defined

Alcohol use can take a toll on anyone’s physical and mental well-being over time, and heavy drinking can take a serious toll on your health.

Heavy drinking is the consumption of alcohol in excessive amounts, exceeding the recommended limits for moderate or low-risk drinking. But what is considered low-risk and what is considered excessive?

Drinking Levels Defined

Low-risk Or Moderate Drinking

This level of alcohol consumption is generally considered safe for most adults. According to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture, moderate drinking is limiting alcohol intake to 2 standard drinks per day for men and up to 1 standard drink per day for women. This level of drinking is associated with a lower risk of developing alcohol-related problems.

Heavy Drinking

Heavy drinking refers to consuming alcohol in excessive amounts on a regular basis.

  1. For men: Consuming more than 4 standard drinks in a day or more than 14 standard drinks in a week.

  2. For women: Consuming more than 3 standard drinks in a day or more than 7 standard drinks in a week.

Binge Drinking

Binge drinking is drinking 5 or more alcoholic beverages on a single occasion in the last 30 days.

According to the CDC, it is a pattern of drinking that brings a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 g/dl or above. This typically happens when men consume 5 or more drinks or women consume 4 or more drinks in about 2 hours.

What Is A Standard Drink?

When defining drinking levels, there is a lot of talk about an alcoholic beverage. But what is one alcoholic drink? Here is a table that displays what a standard alcoholic drink looks like.

Standard US Alcoholic Drinks (adapted from NIAAA)

Standard Drink Sizes

Each of these drinks contain approximately the same amount of alcohol. Note that not all companies provide alcoholic percentages on labels.

Health Risks Of Heavy Drinking

When you're otherwise healthy, you're probably not going to suffer long-term harm if you have a little too much alcohol once in a while. But heavy drinking can have long lasting consequences on your health from brain disruptions, to heart, liver and pancreas disease, a weakened immune system and even cancer.

Getting Help For Addiction

If you or somebody in your life seems to have an issue with alcohol or drug addiction, professional help may be the best option to help continue on the road to recovery.

At Care Addiction Center, we offer treatment plans that address every facet of your At Care Addiction Center, we offer treatment plans that address every facet of your addiction, serving individuals in Geneva, Batavia, Sycamore, St. Charles, and Kane County, with online addiction treatment available anywhere in Illinois. 

To get started on the road to recovery, or if you have questions about helping yourself or a loved one, call us today or schedule a confidential assessment online and begin treatment.


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