reviewed 7/23/2019

Drinking to excess

Alcohol can hurt your health, particularly if you drink a lot.

Excessive drinking—which includes binge drinking—is the fourth leading preventable cause of death in the U.S.

What is heavy drinking?

For women, eight plus drinks per week is considered heavy. For men, 15 plus drinks per week is considered heavy.

What is binge drinking?

For women, four plus drinks per sitting—a 2 to 3 hour span—is considered binge drinking. For men, five plus drinks per sitting is considered binge drinking.

What's a drink?

A 12 ounce bottle of beer (5% alcohol), a 1.5 ounce shot of hard liquor (40% alcohol) and a five ounce glass of wine (12% alcohol) all constitute a drink.

What are some of the risks of drinking?

Short term risks:

  • Motor vehicle crashes.
  • Falls and other injuries.
  • Alcohol poisoning.
  • Risky sexual behavior.
  • Miscarriage and stillbirth.
  • Violence, including toward a partner or child.

Long term risks:

  • Liver disease.
  • Cardiovascular problems.
  • Increased cancer risk.
  • Trouble at work.
  • Relationship problems.
  • Mental health issues.


Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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This information is provided for educational purposes only. Individuals should always consult with their healthcare providers regarding medical care or treatment, as recommendations, services or resources are not a substitute for the advice or recommendation of an individual's physician or healthcare provider. Services or treatment options may not be covered under an individual's particular health plan.