Dr Manny's Notes

America's Drinking Problem Affects All Ages



When I heard about the new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that Americans were drinking too much, I honestly wasn’t surprised.

The CDC report estimates that a whopping 38 million Americans binge drink four times a month and consume an average of eight drinks each time. While binge drinking is more common among young adults ages 18-34, the report also found that 65 year-olds binge drink more often – about five or six times a month.

In other words, binge drinking isn’t just ‘a college thing’ – it’s a behind-the-doors thing.

Binge drinking is defined by the CDC as drinking five or more drinks for men and four or more drinks for women on a single occasion.  That means people are drinking nearly double the amount of alcohol that is considered an excessive amount.

More than anything, I think these statistics show people have lost respect for the consequences that come with drinking alcohol excessively. They don’t realize that alcohol is, in large quantities, quite a dangerous substance, which has in turn led to our country’s drinking problem.

Let me put this simply: Alcohol is addictive, and the behavior that comes along with it is addictive.

To begin with, there are psychological motivations like depression and anxiety, which drive people to drink. Then, to make matters worse, the alcohol industry has taken aggressive steps to promote their products, and it has become a staple of our entire society – not just those who are feeling sad or anxious.

I feel like it’s important to remind people of the risks that come with excessive drinking.  These include memory loss, heart disease, diabetes and sexually transmitted diseases.  People over 65 face even more serious risks, such as major liver damage, kidney damage and hypertension.

As a country, we need to tackle this problem and educate people about the dangers of binge drinking – which will in turn, hopefully save lives.

As a reminder, please join me for a live chat Wednesday from 2-3 pm ET, where I'll answer your health questions and concerns.  Visit the Fox News Health Facebook and Twitter for more information.

Dr. Manny Alvarez serves as Fox News Channel's senior managing health editor. He also serves as chairman of the department of obstetrics/gynecology and reproductive science at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. For more information on Dr. Manny's work, visit AskDrManny.com.