From cracking open a beer at a backyard barbecue to sipping a glass of wine before bed, alcohol can often be a shortcut to socializing or winding down. For many Americans, alcohol use is an increasing problem — and it’s the fourth leading preventable cause of death in the United States. During Alcohol Awareness Month, we’re sharing some surprising myths about alcohol use to help you think before you drink.
Drinking tonight might make you drowsy tomorrow. Alcohol can help you feel relaxed, but it may cause sleep problems or make them worse. Too little sleep is linked to type 2 diabetes and heart disease, so it might be worth trading your nightcap for a cup of decaffeinated tea.
Over time, drinking alcohol can increase your tolerance, so you might drink more before you can feel the effects. Drinking heavily may increase long-term health risks, including high blood pressure, heart disease and cancer, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report.
In general, having less alcohol is better for your health than having more. If you do drink, try to do so in moderation (one drink or less for women per day and two drinks or less for men per day).
People who drink excessively may have 4-5 drinks at one event, or as many as 8-15 drinks per week. However, most people who drink excessively aren’t dependent on alcohol, the CDC explains. Alcoholism is a chronic disease and the stigma of addiction can keep people from getting the care they need. Those who are dependent on alcohol can have trouble stopping or controlling their alcohol use, but help is available.
If you or someone you know needs help with alcohol use, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357), is confidential and free. It’s available 24/7, every day of the year. English and Spanish options are available. You can also discuss alcohol use with your primary care physician for in-network treatment options.
Our wellness program offers free workshops to help you start and keep up with healthy habits. Topics include alcohol use and addiction education, stress management and more. Log in or sign up to get started.
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