Adult Alcohol Guidelines
For many adults, consuming alcohol is considered to be a normal part of celebrations and social gatherings. But chronic alcohol use and excessive drinking can lead to many health problems and accidents. During the pandemic this past year, alcohol sales in Ohio rose 18% from 2019. With April being Alcohol Awareness month, the Mental Health & Recovery Board would like to share information about alcohol misuse.
Low-risk alcohol consumption for adult males is considered drinking two or fewer drinks a day or less than 14 a week and for women it is less than one a day or fewer than seven a week. Drinking more than that on a regular basis is concerned excessive. Binge drinking, when a person consumes 4-5 drinks within two hours, is also considered a high-risk behavior. In Portage County, 27% of adults reported to be binge drinkers compared to 19% in the state of Ohio.
“We know from the data gathered in the Portage Community Health Assessment as well as from our substance use disorder treatment providers that heavy drinking is a problem in our local area,” said John Garrity, PhD, executive director of the Mental Health & Recovery Board.
Excessive drinking can increase your risk of serious health problems, including certain cancers, pancreatitis, stroke, liver disease, and heart failure.
A person who finds themselves drinking more than they intended or forgetting how many drinks they have had may be drinking too much. Other signs can be unexplained weight gain, memory lapse, and withdrawing from friends and family who express concern.
There are some practical things a person can do to reduce their alcohol intake. It is advised to keep a drink dairy to monitor how much is being consumed. A person should pay attention and understand their triggers – which situations seem to encourage drinking and think of alternatives. Be sure to have a healthy meal and a glass of water before drinking and continue drinking water in between alcoholic beverages. Avoid drinking at home alone.
If you are concerned about yourself or a loved one, take a free, online self-assessment. A link to the screening is available on www.mental-health-recovery.org. Or call the Portage Addiction Helpline for information and to be connected to resources at 330-678-3006