17The subject of alcohol and its effects on overall health is complex. Alcohol figures prominently at many social functions and even in situations where individuals are operating in a professional capacity, such as at business dinners or conferences.

As a result, many adults find it hard to avoid alcohol, even if they have concerns regarding its potential effects on their short- and long-term health. The issue of alcohol and overall health has garnered additional attention in recent years thanks in large part to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital utilized data from a national survey of adults in the United States and found that excessive drinking increased by 21% during the pandemic.
Those researchers, whose findings were published in the journal Hepatology, estimated that a one-year increase in alcohol consumption during the pandemic will result in 8,000 additional deaths from alcohol-related liver disease.

Such research highlights the link between alcohol consumption and overall health. Individuals interested in learning more about recent research into that link can consider the following information.

According to the Dietary Guidelines for America, which are jointly developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health & Human Services, emerging evidence indicates that even drinking within the recommended limits for alcohol consumption can increase the overall risk of death from various causes. Such causes include various types of cancer and cardiovascular disease.

The notion that moderate consumption of alcohol can have protective health benefits is increasingly being questioned. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that various studies have suggested it’s impossible to determine if improved health outcomes among moderate drinkers are due to moderate alcohol consumption or other differences in behaviors or genetics between people who drink moderately and people who don’t.

A 2022 study of binge drinking published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that binge drinking increases the risk of experiencing alcohol-related harm in the short-term and in the future.
The CDC defines binge drinking as consuming five or more drinks on an occasion for men or four or more drinks on an occasion for women.

The link between alcohol and overall health is significant. Individuals concerned about their alcohol consumption are urged to speak with their physicians.
Individuals in need of immediate help in the U.S. can contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration helpline 24/7/365 at 1.800.662.HELP (4357).

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