Friday, June 09, 2017

How much alcohol is too much?

Don't mean to spoil your weekend, but you're probably drinking too much.
Nearly 14 million adults, or every one in 13 adults, abuse alcohol or have an alcoholism problem. In addition, several million more partake in risky alcohol consumption that could potentially lead to abuse, and over three million American teenagers aged 14 to 17 have an alcohol problem.
More numbers:
In 2015, 26.9 percent of people ages 18 or older reported that they engaged in binge drinking in the past month; 7.0 percent reported that they engaged in heavy alcohol use in the past month.
You probably console yourself that you're doing it for your heart. There is some limited evidence that might be true. Then again:
Moderate drinking -- no more than 1 drink a day for women and 2 for men -- appears to protect some people against some heart diseases. Before you break out that cocktail shaker, know this: Some doctors aren’t sure if those healthy effects come from the alcohol or from other good lifestyle choices that light drinkers make. So if you don’t drink already, don’t start. Diet and exercise also provide many of the benefits listed above.
Now we're learning that even moderate drinking changes your brain.
Drinking even moderate amounts of alcohol can damage the brain and impair cognitive function over time, researchers have claimed. 
While heavy drinking has previously been linked to memory problems and dementia, previous studies have suggested low levels of drinking could help protect the brain. But the new study pushes back against the notion of such benefits. 
“We knew that drinking heavily for long periods of time was bad for brain health, but we didn’t know at these levels,” said Anya Topiwala, a clinical lecturer in old age psychiatry at the University of Oxford and co-author of the research.
Well, you drink to affect your brain. Why would you suppose that effect just stops when you want it to?

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