For many people having a few drinks at social occasions or as a way to relax at the end of a hard day has become a normal routine. Alcohol can free your inhibitions, making you more social and helping you unwind. However, crossing the line from a drink or two to “too much alcohol” happens a lot faster than most people realize. And the symptoms of drinking too much alcohol can seriously impact both our physical and mental health.
As is the case with most substances, you can build up a tolerance to alcohol over time. This naturally leads people to drink more and more to get the same level of toxication. Unfortunately, drinking more and more is extremely bad for your health and can lead to an Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD).
According to the CDC, “moderate drinking” is one glass or less per day for women and two glasses or less per day for men. Anything above this is considered excessive drinking or binge drinking and can be detrimental to your health.
Symptoms of Drinking Too Much Alcohol
When you regularly drink too much alcohol, your body and mind start to display negative consequences. Some of the most common symptoms of a single instance of drinking too much alcohol are:
- Mental confusion
- Difficulty staying awake
- Slow breathing
- Irregular breathing
- Slow heart rate
- Clammy skin
- Dulled responses (including no gag reflex, which helps to prevent choking)
- Low body temperature
Over time, if you repeatedly drink too much, you can have more long-term symptoms. These include:
- Increased risk of alcohol addiction
- Liver disease
- Digestive problems
- Heart problems
- Diabetes complications
- Sexual function issues
- Menstruation issues
- Eye problems
- Birth defects
- Bone damage
- Neurological complications
- Weakened immune system
- Increased risk of some types of cancers
- Medication problems
- Frequent mood changes and behavior issues
- Declining grades in school or performance at work
- Relationship problems
- Increased anxiety or depression
Binge Drinking vs. Excessive Drinking
There are two different measures for drinking too much alcohol: binge drinking and excessive drinking.
- Binge drinking is defined by the Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) a person reaches when they drink, not the number of drinks they have. Ultimately, several factors can impact how one person reacts to alcohol versus another, such as body mass index, having had food versus drinking on an empty stomach, tolerance, and more. Binge drinking is “a pattern of alcohol consumption that raises the BAC to 0.08 or above.” For women, this usually happens with four drinks in two hours or less. And for men, a BAC of 0.08 usually takes five drinks in two hours or less.
- Excessive drinking is defined by the total number of drinks. A woman who has more than eight drinks a week or a man who has more than 15 is considered to be “heavily” or “excessively” drinking.
It’s important to note both definitions because they look at different factors: alcoholic consumption in a single period and weekly alcohol consumption.
Get Help Today: America’s Rehab Campuses
Heavy drinking can quickly develop into an alcohol use disorder. Alcohol is addictive and damaging in my ways to a person’s health, social life, and mental state. It can also be challenging to stop drinking because it’s around us every day.
Get the help you need today at America’s Rehab Campuses. Our state-of-the-art alcohol and drug addiction facilities help individuals on their road to recovery. You can choose from various inpatient and outpatient programs so your recovery journey is as comfortable as possible. Get started today.