What Does it Mean to Drink Responsibly?

Beautiful young couple drinking wine while sitting on the kitchen floor at home Before COVID-19, more than 25 percent of American adults admitted binge drinking, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. During the first week after we became aware of the significance of this virus, statistics indicated that alcohol consumption increased by 54% compared to consumption the same week of the previous year. By the Fall of 2020, with a surge of 14% in alcohol consumption, it was clear that one pandemic was instigating another. In the past year, multiple studies have indicated a marked increase in alcohol use alongside dramatic increases in cases of anxiety and depression. We aren’t just binge-drinking anymore. Our habits have gone from imbibing a little extra on the weekends to having a cocktail or two every night of the week. This change in drinking habits can, in the short term and in the long run, have a detrimental effect on mental and general health. To bring more light to the issue, we want to discuss what it means to drink responsibly.

To drink responsibly doesn’t mean don’t get drunk. We’ve been overtly sent the message that drinking is a normal part of adulthood and that it is an acceptable, necessary even, coping mechanism. Hard day at work? Enjoy a beer. And what’s a mom’s night out without a few bottles of wine to share? Drinking has become a pervasive part of our culture that we’ve leaned away from talking about. But that is exactly the kind of approach that stops people who may be drinking too much from getting help. We are not here to create a sense of shame around drinking. We’re here to help people thrive in their lives and, when that involves decreasing or stopping alcohol use altogether, we work together to make that happen. To begin, we will outline what “one drink” means, because staying within a responsible measure matters when beginning to make the significant change of drinking differently.

  • Beer. The alcohol content in beer ranges from three percent to 13 percent. Five percent is the average. With that, one 12-ounce beer constitutes a single serving. If you consume beer on the higher content range, one 12-ounce can or bottle would be more than a single serving.
  • Wine. On average, wine has 12 to 13 percent alcohol content. This can be as low as five percent or as high as 15, though, so, as with beer, it is important to look at the label for the exact alcohol content in the wine being consumed. If we use 12% alcohol content as our guide, then one 5-ounce glass constitutes one drink.
  • Distilled spirits. This is where it can seemingly get tricky. Each type of liquor has its own alcohol content. Reading the label is the first place to begin. The guideline set by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism states that a one-and-a-half ounce serving constitutes one drink.

As we make our way through one of the toughest times many adults have faced in their lives, we strive to create better coping mechanisms and healthy habits. Our team of general physicians provides friendly care across many of our locations. A consultation and thorough health examination is a great place to start caring more for your body. Find your provider here.

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