The quiz below contains a few questions that can be used to determine whether or not your alcohol consumption could be considered harmful drinking. It’s important to know where you’re at with your drinking to understand the urgency for treatment. When the quiz is complete, please reach out to our admissions team for support finding the right level of care. Questions 1-3 of this quiz reference the AUDIT test (Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test) provided by the WHO (World Health Organization).
One can of beer (12oz approx 5% alcohol) = 1 drink
One glass of wine (5oz approx 12% alcohol) = 1 drink
One shot of liquor (1.5oz approx 40% alcohol) = 1 drink
Findings of a long-term study in Sweden suggest that teenage drinking could result in liver problems in adulthood and that the recommendations for safe alcohol consumption among men might have to be reduced To avoid alcoholic liver disease, cut-off levels in some countries recommend 30 grams per day or approximately three drinks.
Researchers examined data from a national population-based study from 1969-1970 of more than 43,000 men who were enlisted in the military. During that time, enlistment was mandatory, and only about 2-3% of men were exempt due to disablement or disease.
They matched personal identity numbers from the enlistment data with records in the National Patient Register and the Causes of Death Register to determine if subjects had developed the liver disease before the end of 2009. Findings were adjusted for smoking, drug use, and potential factors that would contribute to liver disease.
Indeed, data showed that alcohol use early in life was linked to a greater risk of developing liver disease. After 39 years, 383 men had developed severe liver disease, which was defined as liver cirrhosis, decompensated liver disease, liver failure, or death from liver disease. The increased risk had no threshold effect and was exacerbated in men who consumed about two drinks per day.
Before adjusting for other factors, the risk was significant for daily alcohol use to as low as six grams daily. In a release, lead author Dr. Hagström stated the following:
“If these results lead to lowering the cut-off levels for ‘safe’ consumption of alcohol in men, and if men adhere to recommendations, we may see a reduced incidence of alcoholic liver disease in the future.”
The authors note that according to the 2014 World Health Organization Global status report on health and alcohol, cirrhosis linked to alcohol consumption causes more than 490,000 deaths per year and that while there is no approved treatment center for the disease, it is, in essence, completely preventable.
Researchers at the National National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) conducted a recent study that examined the effects of heavy drinking on the brain and how behavior may be affected as a result.
The study included 48 participants – twenty-four healthy persons and sixteen heavy drinkers.
Dr. Gene-Jack Wang, a nuclear medicine specialist, senior clinician, and clinical director at the NIAAA, as reported by Addiction Now:
“Our sample has given us a chance to understand heavy drinkers better but not alcoholics. These were functional heavy drinkers, but we can see that even if the person does not become an alcoholic, their brain can already be showing signs of connectivity issues. Heavy drinking affects the brain tremendously.”
Heavy drinkers included in the study consumed at least five alcoholic drinks per day, three or more times per week. The control had a history of light drinking but did not have more than one drink per day. Subjects were randomly selected to drink either alcohol or a deceptive placebo that looked and smelled like alcohol.
Researchers used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans to evaluate the effects of alcohol on resting brain activity. At the onset of the scanning session, the average blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was .62 milligrams.
heavy drinking | About 90 minutes after alcohol/placebo consumption and 30 minutes before every MRI scan, researchers conducted motor and cognitive assessments to evaluate the effects of the consumed drink on the subjects’ behavior.
Also, they administered self-reports about these effects on the participants’ mood and collected data on topics such as levels of desire for alcohol, anxiety dizziness, intoxication, irritability, stimulation, sedation, self-confidence, and restlessness. Motor function was evaluated using tasks such as standing on one leg.
Researchers found that heavy drinking exhibited significantly lower levels of neurocognitive coupling, which is defined as the link between brain activity and behavior. In both groups, consumption of alcohol was revealed to alter the functional connectivity of areas in the brain including the precuneus and thalamus, which responsible for transmitting around 98% of all sensory impulses, and also regulates sleeping, alertness, and consciousness.
Overall, the study revealed that heavy drinkers had higher cerebellar connectivity but decreased cortical brain connectivity. This resulted in lower levels of cognitive ability. Drinkers themselves reported higher levels of desire for alcohol, irritability, restlessness, and decrease motor function.
~ G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A., Psychology
New research from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has found that men under the influence of alcohol may be more likely to objectify women. For many, this may come as little surprise, but this is among the first studies to document the effects of alcohol consumption on men’s perceptions of women.
The study included nearly 50 men in their twenties, and 29 consumed alcohol until they were mildly intoxicated. The others were given placebos. Both groups viewed photos of 80 women dressed to go out and were asked to rate the woman’s appearance and personality.
The photos were previously rated by a panel on categories such as warmth, friendliness, intelligence, competence, and attractiveness. An eye-tracking device identified which part of the women’s bodies the men were focused on when they viewed the images.
When the men rated a woman based on her appearance, the instruction most often triggered objectifying gazes, and they spent less time looking at faces and focused much longer on chests and waists. This was especially true when looking at women who were highly rated for attractiveness.
It happened less often, however, when men were viewing women who exuded competence, particularly when the men were slightly intoxicated. The findings suggest that objectification of women by men is affected by alcohol use, and how warm, competent, and attractive they are perceived to be.
That is, being average in attractiveness or exuding humanizing qualities may be protective factors against objectification.
Abigail R. Riemer, per Springer:
“Environments in which alcohol is present are ripe with opportunities for objectifying gazes. Adopting objectifying gazes toward women leads perceivers to dehumanize women, potentially laying the foundation for many negative consequences such as sexual violence and workplace gender discrimination.”
“Understanding why the objectifying gaze occurs in the first place is an initial step toward stopping its incidence and its damaging effects.”
The study purports that this research will “[shed] light on potential interventions for clinicians and policymakers to reduce alcohol-involved objectification and related sexual aggression.”
8 Great Reasons Not to Drink Alcohol
According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, April is Alcohol Awareness Month. To celebrate, the following information should serve as a “reminder” list of compelling reasons not to drink alcohol..
Alcohol use, both short- and long-term affect the brain. The short-term effects of alcohol abuse, including cognitive difficulties and slow reaction time are bad enough. These effects contribute to bad decision-making and sometimes dangerous and impulsive behavior.
However, long-term effects of alcohol use can permanently alter brain chemistry, and result in poor memory as well as debilitating brain conditions, such as Wernicke–Korsakoff Syndrome. WKS can result in long-lasting psychosis in which the person is forgetful, easily frustrated, and has problems with mobility and coordination.
Alcoholism can contribute to severe, chronic diseases. Drinking alcohol excessively for extended periods of time can cause high blood pressure, liver cirrhosis, pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas), and may contribute to a variety of cancers, such as those of the throat, esophagus, breast, stomach, and colon.
Drinking alcohol can cause sickness the next day – hangovers. Simply put, a hangover is your body adjusting to not drinking anymore – and it’s not unlike having withdrawal symptoms for any other substance. Characteristically, you will be tired, thirsty (due to dehydration), and have a ripe headache. However, depending on how much you drink, you could also be vomiting, having severe anxiety or depression (moodiness), or experiencing tremors.
Drinking alcohol while pregnant can result in birth defects. Most women know that drinking during pregnancy is risky, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 12 reports doing so. This can cause damage to the brain, heart, and other organs, or result in Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. This is probably among the best reasons not to drink alcohol, due to the debilitating effects it can have on an unborn child.
You could be injured while drinking alcohol. Drinking does the three things that are most likely to result in injury – it (1) slows reaction time, (2) impairs judgment, and (3) affects balance and coordination. Therefore, drinking is often a contributing factor to a myriad of physical accidents, such as car crashes, violent altercations, sexual assault, falls, drownings, burns, and misuse of firearms. The list goes on and on…
Using alcohol can cause dependence. Alcohol is an addictive substance, and persons who use it can get addicted, just like any other drug. When a person becomes dependent, most often they cannot enjoy the things they used to before without the dependency on alcohol. Drinking, in essence, hijacks the part of your brain responsible for pleasure, so other activities are never again the same as long as you are drinking.
Drinking alcohol can make you gain weight. Alcohol can contain a lot of calories. Specialty beers may have 150-200 calories per 12-ounce can, and just 1-2 shots of liquor and you are there already. There are no nutritional benefits to drinking, and if you are trying to lose weight (or not gain any) this is one of the best reasons not to drink alcohol.
Drinking alcohol can kill you, quickly, not just slowly. People die every year from acute alcohol intoxication. If a person’s blood alcohol concentration reaches greater than .4%, death may be imminent. And that’s in addition to the many people who die in car crashes or other alcohol-related accidents.
Remember, alcohol is technically a toxin and can affect a person’s brain, body, emotional state, and behavior in any myriad of ways. The more alcohol consumed, the more these effects may become apparent.
~ G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A., Psychology