How Many Drinks Per Week is Too Many?
It’s not uncommon to tell a little white lie when your doctor asks you how much you drink. Unfortunately, avoiding a candid response may mask some of the health risks you’re already facing.
The CDC provides guidelines for drinking in moderation, with one drink or less per day for women and two drinks or less per day for men.
The weekly maximum total drawn from this recommendation is 7 drinks for women and 14 drinks for men.
This figure doesn’t mean consuming all “weekly” drinks on one or two occasions during the week, and remaining sober on the other days is a safe alternative.
These guidelines aim to reduce a person’s risk of short-term and long-term effects, such as malnutrition, high blood pressure, and certain cancers. If you’re unable to reduce your drinking on your own, a medically-supervised detox program is a helpful first step. In addition, anyone attempting to stop use of alcohol should be aware of the potential withdrawal risks as they may be life-threatening.
As drinking in moderation doesn’t eliminate all risks, it’s still sensible to limit your alcohol intake. People with existing medical conditions may be advised by physicians to avoid alcohol altogether. Anyone who is pregnant, suspects they’re pregnant, is taking medication that could negatively interact with alcohol, or has been diagnosed with an alcohol use disorder should avoid any kind of drinking.
Aging changes how your body processes alcohol. Metabolizing it more slowly and with a lower volume of water in the body means alcohol stays in your system longer. If you’re over the age of 64, it’s best to limit your weekly drinking to seven standard drinks or one per day on average.
Health Risks from Excessive Drinking
Having no pre-existing conditions doesn’t safeguard you against developing health issues from excessive weekly drinking. If you’re a woman or anyone over 64, three drinks on one occasion are considered excessive. For men, four drinks on one occasion are considered excessive.
The Mayo Clinic lists a variety of outcomes from excessive weekly drinking for a prolonged period of time. If you’re already experiencing any of the following health issues, your need for detox and recovery is urgent.
● Accidental serious injury or death
● Alcohol withdrawal syndrome
● Certain cancers (breast cancer and cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus, and liver)
● Heart muscle damage (alcoholic cardiomyopathy) leading to heart failure
● High blood pressure
● Liver disease
● Sudden death if you already have cardiovascular disease
Other potential risks include anxiety, depression, memory loss, and sleep issues. For pregnant women who drink, damage to the brain of an unborn child is a possible outcome.
Alcohol Withdrawal Process
As withdrawal from alcohol can be fatal, it’s essential to know the signs of how severe your experience is becoming and seek medical attention immediately. Early mild symptoms, such as anxiety, fever, and headaches, may seem manageable at home at first but can create discomfort and be followed by severe symptoms. High fever, severe tremors, and increased heart rate and blood pressure are several possible risks. You also may feel nauseated, disoriented, and agitated. Seizures are possible and can lead to death.
You may have heard of someone experiencing delirium tremens (DTs) while going through withdrawal. While only 2% of people suffer from DTs, the symptoms are severe. A rapid heart rate, high fever, and hallucinations are among them. People with DTs may uncontrollably shake and lose touch with reality. It can escalate into infections or other medical complications, including cardiac arrhythmia and respiratory arrest. Some known risks for developing DTs as a heavy drinker are long-term abuse of alcohol, abnormal liver function, mental illness, and a history of seizures during withdrawal.
Getting Help at Restored Path Detox
People in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex who need recovery help can take the first step with a medically-supervised detox at Restored Path. The clinical and medical team provides medication-assisted treatment (MAT) options, 24/7 medical supervision, and a range of specialized addiction services to meet the needs of adults of any age. Proper nutrition, supportive counseling, and planning for continuing care are essential elements to help you prepare for a sustainable recovery once you’re sober.
Restored Path Detox is DFW’s premier location for sophisticated medical detox. Conveniently located in Frisco, we provide a safe sanctuary for healing that is also a state-of-the-art detoxification facility for a wide range of substances. Our compassionate physicians and therapists want you to get well and are committed to removing any existing barriers to your care. Restored Path’s board-certified medical professionals and highly qualified RNs have extensive critical care experience and are available to monitor your detox program 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
If you or a loved one are struggling with drug or alcohol use, call us today and take your first step towards recovery: 561-841-1268.