Many people across the globe enjoy a glass of wine with their dinner or whiskey on the rocks for a nightcap. In fact, they may enjoy it so much that it becomes a daily habit. On the other hand, some people drink unhealthy amounts on a daily basis. Individuals that drink habitually are likely struggling with an alcohol use disorder, also known as addiction. All of this begs the question, is there a healthy amount of alcohol consumption, and how much alcohol is safe to drink on a daily basis?
What Happens When You Drink Alcohol Every Day
The risks associated with drinking alcohol every day vary from person to person and case by case. Who is drinking, how much they drink, how often they drink, and why they drink are all factors that can influence the outcome. For instance, someone who drinks heavily is more likely to experience physical side effects. Additionally, the longer someone drinks heavily, the more likely serious health complications are to arise.
Dangerous Alcohol Consumption
Drinking every day is particularly dangerous when multiple drinks are consumed in a single sitting. People who have preexisting conditions such as liver or heart disease are at a greater risk for developing serious complications from alcohol consumption. Additionally, a family history of alcoholism increases the likelihood of developing an alcohol use disorder yourself. Essentially, it is not safe for these individuals to drink alcohol on a daily basis, and drinking in high amounts on a regular basis is never safe. The dangers of alcohol consumption include:
- Liver disease
- Heart disease
- Mental health issues
- Nerve damage
- Reduced immune function
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Sleep problems
Psychological Significance of Drinking Every Day
Typically, when you ask if something is safe you are asking if it is physically safe. However, alcohol can have physical and psychological impacts. If someone is drinking alcohol every day, the first question to ask is “why?” Do you drink it because you enjoy the taste, do you do it to manage stress and anxiety, or for another reason. The reason for drinking can be a significant indicator of whether it is safe for an individual to drink alcohol or if it is being abused.
Benefits of Drinking Everyday
Individuals who only have one standard drink per day are much less likely to experience any serious side effects from their alcohol consumption and may even see some benefit from drinking, such as stress relief. Hence, having a drink after a “long day”.
A systemic review, Does Drinking Reduce Stress published by Sayette M. A. (1999) explored stress-response damping (SRD); the idea that alcohol can lessen an individual’s response to stress. The review did cover studies that indicated “drinking can reduce stress in certain people and under certain circumstances”. However, some studies also reported incidents where stress was exacerbated by alcohol consumption. Sayette went on to identify and elaborate on an array of factors that play a role in alcohol’s SRD effects.
Essentially, some people may experience some benefits from drinking one or two alcoholics beverages per day, but not everyone. The potential risks of drinking alcohol every day greatly outweigh the possible benefits and there is no amount of alcohol that can be guaranteed to be safe.
Sayette M. A. (1999). Does drinking reduce stress?. Alcohol research & health : the journal of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 23(4), 250–255.