Alcohol consumption: How much is still healthy?

Drinking alcohol does not have to be a problem. Some researchers even argue that limited use may be good for the heart and blood vessels. However, if alcohol is consumed very frequently and/or in large quantities, habituation and addiction may occur. You can become addicted to alcohol physically, but also mentally. If you no longer get alcohol, you will suffer from withdrawal symptoms. Excessive alcohol consumption poses many risks to the person. Anyone who notices that he/she is becoming dependent on alcohol and is experiencing withdrawal symptoms would do well to stop drinking.

Alcohol consumption: How much is still healthy?

  • Responsible alcohol use
  • How many ml of different types of drinks is a standard measuring quantity?
  • Dependence on alcohol use
  • Withdrawal symptoms of physical dependence on alcohol
  • Stop drinking
  • Risks of excessive alcohol use

Responsible alcohol use

Many people enjoy an alcoholic drink. What is responsible alcohol consumption? Ethanol from alcohol is a carcinogenic substance, and if you drink alcohol regularly you run an additional risk of developing high blood pressure, liver disease, a brain haemorrhage, liver disease and/or addiction.
In order not to have any adverse health consequences, there are a number of rules of thumb that you can adhere to;

  • Healthy adult man . Adult men without health problems can drink 1 standard glass of alcohol per day. If you want to drink more, a maximum of 5 glasses is recommended.
  • Healthy adult woman . Women have less body fluid than men and can therefore tolerate less alcohol. Women should therefore not drink more than 1 glass of alcohol per day. Furthermore, women should not drink alcohol if they are pregnant or want to become pregnant. If you are breastfeeding, you should not drink at least three hours before feeding, otherwise your baby will also ingest alcohol. It is better not to consume alcohol at all.
  • Medication use . You can read in the package leaflet of medicines whether it can be used together with alcohol. Some medications will work less well or have a stronger effect if you use alcohol.
  • Physical complaints due to long-term alcohol use . People who have already suffered damage from long-term alcohol use, such as liver damage, are better off giving up alcohol completely.
  • Young people . Young people under the age of 18 tolerate alcohol more poorly and should therefore drink less. For young people, alcohol is harmful to brain development. In addition, young people who drink regularly are more likely to develop alcohol addiction later in life.
  • Elderly . Older people tolerate alcohol less well due to physical aging. In addition, the number of falls among elderly people who have difficulty walking often increases when alcohol is consumed.
  • Don’t drink too much in one day . If you drink a lot of alcohol in one go, this is a lot more harmful than if you drink it spread out over the week. For example, drinking a lot at once can cause gastritis (inflammation of the stomach).

It is a good idea for everyone not to drink alcohol at least once or twice a week and if you have drunk a lot, give your body two days of rest to recover.

How many ml of different types of drinks is a standard measuring quantity?

  • Beer 250 ml
  • Wine 125 ml
  • Drink 35 ml
  • Port/sherry 75 ml

Be careful when drinking mixed drinks and cocktails, as they often contain much more alcohol than the standard measuring amount, so that you quickly exceed the safe standard.

Dependence on alcohol use

Not everyone becomes dependent on alcohol, it takes quite some time anyway. Then there is the development of tolerance. You no longer feel the effect of the alcohol and to experience the same pleasant feeling you have to drink more. You can become physically and mentally dependent on alcohol;

  • Physical dependence on alcohol . Your body gets used to the alcohol and needs more and more to give the same effect (tolerance). If you drink less or stop drinking, withdrawal symptoms occur.
  • Mental dependence on alcohol . You start craving alcohol more and more and without it you no longer feel comfortable.

Withdrawal symptoms of physical dependence on alcohol

  • Shaking hands
  • Perspire
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Unrest
  • Raised blood pressure
  • Muscle cramp

These are complaints that can occur in the first week after stopping drinking, but they usually subside after a few days.

Complaints that may last longer;

  • Fear
  • Lethargy
  • Gloom
  • Insomnia
  • Tension

Serious complaints can also occur, these are less common;

  • Seizures or a seizure (brief loss of consciousness and body cramps)
  • Delirium tremens (decreased consciousness with hallucinations)

Stop drinking

To reduce withdrawal symptoms and reduce health risks, it is advisable to contact your doctor. This can provide advice. Furthermore, it is important;

  • Take extra vitamin B. Long-term alcohol use often causes a vitamin B deficiency.
  • Taking medications. The doctor can prescribe medications that reduce the need for alcohol or that reduce withdrawal symptoms.

Risks of excessive alcohol use

  • Hangover . A hangover is caused by fluid loss in the body, by the breakdown products of alcohol and by an inflamed stomach lining. Symptoms of a hangover; dry mouth, heartburn, headache, nausea.
  • Alcohol poisoning . If the concentration of alcohol in the brain becomes so high that you become unconscious or in a coma, this is alcohol poisoning. In some cases it can even lead to death, breathing can stop because the nervous system becomes too numb.
  • Liver diseases Fatty liver disease can be caused by excessive alcohol consumption. This can occur after just a few days of heavy drinking. If you stop drinking in time, the liver can still recover. Hepatitis (inflammation of the liver) can occur with long-term alcohol use. If you continue drinking, liver cells will eventually be killed. These are replaced by connective tissue, you then have liver cirrhosis. Anyone who has liver cirrhosis has an irreparably damaged liver.
  • Brain and nervous system Brain damage can occur if you drink an average of 25 glasses of alcohol or more per week. Damage that may occur is; Poor concentration, memory deteriorates, information processing deteriorates, premature dementia (vitamin B deficiency in combination with long-term alcohol use). Memory can deteriorate, but it can also lead to Korsakoff’s syndrome, tingling and prickling in the feet and fingers. These complaints can occur due to damage to nerve pathways.
  • Heart and blood vessels . Moderate alcohol consumption is good for the heart and blood vessels. However, excessive alcohol consumption can cause high blood pressure and all kinds of heart disorders.
  • Cancer . Moderate and long-term alcohol use puts you at greater risk of developing various types of cancer; oral cancer, throat cancer, larynx cancer, esophageal cancer, liver cancer, colon cancer, breast cancer.
  • Social consequences . The social consequences of alcohol abuse are great; Domestic violence, employees on sick leave, traffic fatalities and injuries, senseless violence.

It costs society billions in costs spent on addiction care, health care, employers and government institutions such as the police.

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