When drinking alcohol becomes too much

Local News

Dr. Rashida Mengi of Highland Family Medicine discussed harmful drinking habits Thursday during News 8 at Sunrise.

“Harmful drinking can mean drinking too much at one time,” said Dr. Mengi. “It can mean drinking too often or a combination of both. Alcohol is still the third leading cause of preventable death in the United States with about 90,000 dying every year due to alcohol related problems. So it’s still a pretty serious issue.”

Dr. Mengi said many see alcohol as all or nothing. “They see that either you drink a little bit and you have no problems with it, or you drink far too much and you’re an alcoholic. The reality of it is that there are many different patterns of drinking. Some of which can be harmful. And that includes binge drinking. So with binge drinking that would be perhaps someone who doesn’t drink very often, but when they do drink, they drink far too much, which is still harmful, and can lead to personal problems, injuries, car accidents, and even death.”

There are drinking levels both men and women should be aware of when it comes to alcohol consumption. “Low risk drinking for men is going to be 4 drinks or less per day, and 14 drinks or less per week,” Dr. Mengi said. “That number is going to be a little bit less if that individual is over 65 or female. However, no risk is not no risk. So alcohol may still be a problem for some people. Another thing to consider is the pure alcohol content in a standard drink, which is going to vary based on if someone is drinking beer, or wine, or hard liquor.”

The drink numbers for women are no more than 3 per day and 7 per week.

Dr. Mengi said don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor about your drinking. “There’s so much help available. There’s counseling, there’s therapy, there are medications. There are mutual support groups such as Alcoholic’s Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, and a lot of community resources right here in Rochester.”

To get a measure of your own drinking habits, Dr. Mengi recommended an online resource, click here.

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