There are approximately 79,000 deaths attributable to excessive alcohol use each year in the United States. 1 This makes excessive alcohol use the 3rd leading lifestyle-related cause of death for the nation. 2 Additionally, excessive alcohol use is responsible for 2.3 million years of potential life lost (YPLL) annually, or an average of about 30 years of potential life lost for each death. In the single year 2005, there were more than 1.6 million hospitalizations3 and more than 4 million emergency room visits4 for alcohol-related conditions.
In the United States, a standard drink is any drink that contains 0.6 ounces (13.7 grams or 1.2 tablespoons) of pure alcohol. Generally, this amount of pure alcohol is found in:
Excessive drinking includes heavy drinking, binge drinking or both.
Most people who binge drink are not alcoholics or alcohol dependent.5
According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, if you drink alcoholic beverages, do so in moderation, which is defined as no more than 1 drink per day for women and no more than 2 drinks per day for men.6 However, there are some persons who should not drink any alcohol, including those who are
Excessive alcohol use has immediate effects that increase the risk of many harmful health conditions. These immediate effects are most often the result of binge drinking and include the following:
Over time, excessive alcohol use can lead to the development of chronic diseases, neurological impairments, and social problems. These include but are not limited to:
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