The Risks to Men’s Health From Excessive Alcohol Use
By: Cumberland Heights
Studies show that men are more likely than women to drink excessively, but what constitutes excessive drinking? According to the Centers for Disease Control, excessive alcohol use includes heavy drinking, binge drinking and alcohol use by pregnant women and people younger than the minimum legal drinking age.
Studies show that excessive drinking is linked to significant increases in short-term risks to safety and health. Additionally, men are statistically more likely than women to engage in greater risk-taking when drinking to excess, like speeding and not using a seatbelt while driving.
The statistics on male drinking are eye-opening. Research shows that over half of adult men surveyed (58%) have used alcohol in the prior month. Male drinkers are nearly twice as likely as their female counterparts to binge drink.
What Constitutes Binge-Drinking?
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, binge drinking is defined as a process of alcohol use that brings the blood alcohol concentration level to 0.08% or more. This drinking pattern most often is associated with 5 or more drinks in one sitting for men, 4 or more drinks for women and for both genders occurs within a span of 2 hours.
Additionally, roughly one-fourth of adult males binge drink 5 times a month, on average consuming 8 drinks.
Of the vast majority of individuals who binge drink, 90% are not alcohol dependent or alcoholics. What this means is that nine out of ten individuals who drink to excess would not be expected to meet the clinical diagnostic criteria for severe alcohol use disorder.
Professionals consider a severe alcohol use disorder, which was previously referred to as alcohol dependence or alcoholism to be a chronic disease characterized by discrete signs and symptoms. These include the inability to curb or limit one’s drinking and the need to drink more and more in order to attain the same effect.
Other symptoms include an obsession with wanting to drink to the point that other thoughts and concerns are pushed to the side, as well as continuing to drink excessively in spite of professional or personal problems that result from drinking.
A Few Questions to Ask Yourself
Have you wanted more than once to cut down or stop drinking, or tried to quit drinking, but could not? Have you cut back on or completely ceased participation in activities that are pleasurable, important or significant to you in order to drink? Do you spend a considerable amount of time drinking or getting over the aftereffects of drinking? Lastly, have you continued to drink even though it is causing trouble with your family or friends?
It is estimated that approximately 5% of men and 3% of women will meet the diagnostic criteria for alcohol dependence within any prior 12 month period.
These eye-opening statistics lead to even more concerning scenarios that indicate the risk related behavior among male drinkers is greater and more injurious than among female drinkers. For example, men are more likely to commit suicide versus women, and also more likely to have been consuming alcohol prior to committing suicide.
On a related note, between the genders, males consistently experience higher rates of hospitalization and death due to alcohol-related factors.
The concerning statistics related to male drinking don’t stop there, however. When it comes to fatal traffic crashes, male drivers are two times as likely as females to be intoxicated with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher.
Potential Harm to Others
Lastly, excessive alcohol use raises the rate of aggressive behavior among men, leading to an increased risk of physically harming another individual. The potential negative outcomes of excessive alcohol use among men don’t stop there- excessive alcohol use adversely affects the body and can lead to a whole host of negative conditions.
For example, excessive alcohol use is known to interfere with male hormone production as well as testicular function. The impairment of these crucial body functions can lead to infertility, impotence, and a decrease in male secondary sex characteristics including the absence of chest and facial hair.
The damages of excessive alcohol use often involve harm to others. For example, in cases of sexual assault, alcohol is a common factor. Abuse of alcohol also increases the chances of taking part in sexual behavior that puts men at risk for sexually transmitted diseases, sex with multiple partners and unprotected sex.
The fact is that binge drinking exacts a toll on society in ways you may not have considered. The cost of excessive drinking in the U.S. in 2010 was nearly $250 billion. All together this number represents the costs involved in criminal justice expenditures, workplace productivity losses and health care costs.
There is also a long list of medical issues that present themselves when men drink to excess. Studies show that excessive alcohol use increases the risk of colon cancer as well as cancers of the liver, throat, mouth and esophagus.
How Can You Determine if You Have a Drinking Problem?
Drinking has become a problem in your life if it interferes in your relationships, in the workplace, in social activities or in school. Excessive drinking affects your ability to think and feel properly, resulting in poor decision-making as well as unresolved emotional issues such as anger, sadness, etc.
If you think that you or someone in your family may have a drinking problem, do not hesitate to consult with a professional about your concerns.
Recovery is possible—recover your unique, purposeful, sober life by reaching out to the dedicated experts at Cumberland Heights.
Addiction is a chronic, progressive and potentially fatal disease. For over 50 years we have carefully provided the highest quality of care for adults, adolescents and families who suffer from, or are affected by this devastating disease.
Our nonprofit alcohol and drug addiction treatment center is located on a peaceful, pastoral 177-acre campus on the banks of the Cumberland River in Nashville, Tennessee. We provide a continuum of services through two 12-Step immersion campuses, 12 outpatient recovery centers and 4 sober living homes.
At Cumberland Heights, we always put the patient first, and value the importance of family participation in the recovery process. Take the first step toward healing by calling us at (866) 899-5231 today.