Vertava Health - Massachusetts Rehab Publishes Blog Post Detailing How Many Drinks Is Too Many

Cummington, Mass. — Vertava Health Massachusetts, an addiction treatment center located in the Berkshire Mountains, recently published a new blog post that spells out the limits of safe alcohol consumption. The post educates readers on topics such as what qualifies as a standard alcoholic drink, what qualifies as heavy drinking, the difference in alcohol drinking guidelines between men and women, other factors that affect how alcoholic drinks are processed in the body, and what health risks go along with excessive drinking.

Alcohol consumption is not a black-and-white issue as there are several gray areas between abstaining and drinking too much. Depending on each person’s biology and psychology, the recommended alcohol consumption levels can vary widely. There is no clear answer that can be quantified, and, despite several attempts, doctors and medical professionals have not been able to arrive at universal guidelines. The suggested golden rule has always been to drink alcohol in moderation. Some rely on tidbits of conventional wisdom such as the “1-2-3 Rule,” which says alcohol consumption should be limited to one drink an hour, no more than two at once, and no more than three times per week.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), a standard drink is equivalent to 12 fl oz of beer (at 5% alcohol by volume), 8-9 fl oz of malt liquor (at 7% alcohol by volume), 5 fl oz of table wine (at 12% alcohol by volume), or 1.5 fl oz or a shot of 80-proof distilled spirits (at 40% alcohol by volume). The NIAAA also has guidelines to determine if a person is a heavy drinker. According to them, a man who consumes more than four standard drinks a day or 14 standard drinks a week, or a woman who consumes more than three standard drinks a day or seven standard drinks a week, is deemed to be a heavy drinker.

The post explains that the way alcohol is absorbed and metabolized in men and women is the reason behind the huge disparity in guidelines between the genders. Women’s bodies are typically smaller, contain less body water, and have a higher liver-to-body-mass ratio, which leads to quicker metabolization of alcohol. These factors work together to allow women to reach peak blood alcohol levels faster than men. That’s why the suggested weekly alcohol limit for women is half of that for men. Women are also more vulnerable to alcohol-related organ damage than men because they develop alcohol-induced liver diseases over a shorter period of time and after consuming less alcohol.

Some other factors that affect the way alcohol is processed in the body include body weight, other medications, and whether the person has eaten something before or while they are drinking. The larger the body, the more water it contains, and the more alcohol will be diluted in the system. Certain prescription and over-the-counter medications can also have negative or unpredictable interactions with alcohol. This can work either way as some medications can either amplify or lessen the perceived effects of alcohol intoxication. Eating while or before drinking can act as a buffer between the alcohol consumed and alcohol absorbed. Eating on an empty stomach can irritate the digestive system and cause more rapid alcohol absorption.

Habitual excessive drinking can take a toll on a person’s health and increase the risk of brain damage, heart disease, and certain kinds of cancer. Alcohol can disrupt neurotransmitters, or chemical messengers, in the brain and cause impairment to the way the brain functions. It can cause heart diseases such as cardiomyopathy (weakening of the heart muscles), arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat, stroke or heart attack, or hypertension or increased blood pressure. It can also lead to an increased risk of developing certain cancers, including mouth, throat, liver, and breast cancers.

The blog post from Vertava Health asks readers to watch out for telltale signs of alcohol use disorder, such as the inability to limit drinking, continuing to drink despite negative effects on relationships and professional life, needing to drink more to obtain the desired effect, or wanting to drink so badly that it becomes difficult or impossible to think of anything else.

Vertava Health Massachusetts is a comprehensive substance use disorder treatment center that offers a continuum of care that extends from inpatient detox to outpatient services like virtual care to meet individuals at various stages of their addiction recovery journey. To learn more about the services offered by Vertava Health Massachusetts, visit their website.


For more information about Vertava Health of Massachusetts, contact the company here:

Vertava Health of Massachusetts
(413) 200-7511
151 South St
Cummington, MA 01026