How many drinks do you have in a week? While alcohol affects everyone differently, research has shown that there’s a specific number of drinks the average person can consume in a week before it becomes excessive.
It’s not an easy science, though. Most studies show that 7 is the limit for the average woman while the number rises to 15 for the average man. Making matters even more confusing, guidelines for alcohol consumption vary widely. So, how much is too much?
Many people think that a drink is a drink, but each type of alcohol has its own percentage of alcohol content within. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines one standard drink as equivalent to:
- 12 fl. Oz. of 5% beer
- 9 fl. Oz. of 7% malt liquor
- 5 fl. Oz. of 12% table wine
- 1.5 fl. Oz of 80 proof spirits (40% alcohol content)
As you can see, no two drinks are exactly the same. Each contributes to your blood-alcohol level in a different way, which is why excessive drinkers often find themselves in desperate need of a felony DUI attorney. This is especially true for liquor lovers.
Men vs. Women
The recommended guidelines for men and women are different because their bodies metabolize alcohol in a drastically different way. Women typically have less body mass, less body water content, and higher liver to body mass ratio.
Women will reach peak blood alcohol levels much faster and are often more vulnerable to organ damage from alcohol than men. That’s why their recommended weekly limit is much lower. In contrast, men are more likely to become alcohol dependent than suffer damage quickly.
Other factors that affect how a person’s body processes alcohol may include body weight, medications, and whether or not a person is drinking on an empty stomach. A higher body weight may result in a lower blood alcohol concentration. This happens when their body mass to alcohol ratio is higher.
Medications may have adverse interactions when combined with alcohol, with some effects being unpredictable or even fatal. Then there’s food. Eating a meal before drinking alcohol may help slow down the body’s ability to process alcohol, which works to your benefit.
On an empty stomach, alcohol is absorbed faster and may also cause digestive problems. You’re also going to get drunker faster on an empty stomach. Before you know it, one random shot could cause you to start building your DUI defense in Santa Ana.
The Effects of Over-Drinking
Whether you’re drinking too much on occasion or every week, there can be severe effects on the body from over-drinking. Over-drinking is known to cause damage to the liver and the pancreas. Excess alcohol cannot be metabolized by the liver and may result in steatosis, liver inflammation, liver scarring, and fibrosis.
The pancreas might react by producing toxic substances that lead to inflammation of the blood vessels that prevent proper digestion, a condition known as pancreatitis. Excessive drinking can also cause changes in coordination, the ability to think clearly, damage to the brain, and fluctuations in mood and behavior.
Excessive drinking becomes an addiction when a person loses the ability to limit drinking, negatively impacting their life. They may see their performance at work slip, their relationships crumble, and their ability to think and act clearly dissolve.
A person may find they have to drink more and more to get the same desired effects as tolerance rises. They may find it difficult or impossible to think about anything else, or may find themselves unable to function without a drink. If you or someone you know has developed a problem with drinking excessively, consult a physician or addiction specialist for help.