Men’s Health Week | How Excessive Alcohol Use Affects Men’s Health

During Men’s Health Week we recognize the importance of early detection and treatment for mental, physical, and behavioral disorders that disproportionately or exclusively impact men. This includes alcohol use disorder and the serious men’s health conditions associated with it.

Man In Therapy-Men's Health Week | How Excessive Alcohol Use Affects Men's Health

Men’s Health Week is an international observance held every year during the week leading up to and including Father’s Day. This year, it will be observed from June 12-18, 2023.
The purpose of Men’s Health Week is to raise awareness about the health issues that disproportionately affect men and boys and to encourage early detection and treatment.

Of particular concern are issues like testicular cancer, prostate cancer, Parkinson’s disease, heart disease, and the short- and long-term complications of alcohol use disorder (AUD).

Men & Excessive Alcohol Consumption

Both men and women abuse drinking alcohol and develop alcohol use disorders, and the disparity between alcohol abuse rates for men and women have narrowed with time.
However, men continue to drink more often and more heavily than women at every age and experience negative effects at a higher rate.

In fact, according to report published in 2020 by the National Institute Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism:

  • more US men than women drink alcoholic beverages each year (68% to 64%)
  • men consume nearly three times as much pure alcohol per year than women (19.0 liters to 6.7 liters)
  • men are more likely to drive drunk and receive DUIs
  • men are more likely to be admitted to hospitals for alcohol-related harms
  • men are more likely to die from alcohol-related causes
  • men are more likely to be diagnosed with an AUD each year (7% to 4%)
  • men are no more likely than women to receive treatment for an AUD after diagnosis (9% to 9%)

Recent figures from the National Institutes of Health also place the number of American men aged 18 or older with some form of AUD in the last year at 16.3 million (13.2%). For women, it’s 12.4 million (9.5%).

Men’s Health Effects Of Excessive Alcohol Consumption

Excessive alcohol consumption can severely affect men’s physical and mental health, with the severity increasing the longer men continue to abuse alcohol and the more alcoholic drinks they consume at a time or in a day.

Short-Term Health Risks

The effects of alcohol and excessive drinking can heavily impair judgment, inhibition, and coordination for a period of time, leading to serious issues that disproportionately impact males.
These short-term but potentially life-altering consequences can include:

  • accidental injury, disability, or death from motor vehicle crashes, falls, burns, or drownings
  • receiving or inflicting physical violence through assault, sexual assault, or domestic violence
  • increased risk of suicide
  • alcohol poisoning, which can be fatal
  • severe dehydration
  • risky sexual behavior, unprotected sex, STI transmission, and/or unintended pregnancy
  • amnesia, or “blacking out”
  • legal/financial issues, including DUIs
  • development of alcohol dependence or AUD

Long-Term Health Risks

Likewise, excessive alcohol use is a major risk factor for chronic conditions that frequently impact men in particular. These medical conditions include:

  • high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, liver disease (cirrhosis), obesity, and digestive conditions
  • higher rates of developing various types of cancer including mouth, throat, esophagus, voice box, liver, colon, rectum, and breast cancer
  • impaired immune response and increased frequency and duration of illness
  • learning and memory problems including increased risk for dementia and related conditions
  • elevated risk for depression, anxiety, and other serious mental health problems
  • wide-ranging social, financial, and relational problems
  • sexual and reproductive dysfunction, including impotence and infertility
  • increasingly severe alcohol dependence and AUD

Men’s Drinking Levels

While many experts and organizations advise that there is no known safe level of alcohol consumption, official US dietary guidelines allow for adults of legal age to intermittently consume up to two standard drinks in a single occasion.

This is considered drinking in moderation.

Binge drinking, on the other hand, is defined as any pattern of drinking that brings blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 percent, usually involving 5 or more drinks in two hours for men.

Heavy Drinking

Heavy drinking, in turn, is defined as having more than 4 drinks in a day or 14 drinks in a week for men, or binge drinking during five or more days in the past month.
Both binge drinking and heavy drinking are, by definition, forms of alcohol abuse. Those who struggle to drink only a set amount of alcohol when they drink are always likely best off abstaining from substance use entirely.

Alcohol Addiction Treatment

It’s extremely important for men to be aware of the very real and serious risks associated with excessive alcohol consumption and to take steps to reduce their alcohol intake if needed.

If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol dependence, alcohol addiction, and physical or mental health issues related to their alcohol use, please consider reaching out to the expert clinicians and treatment teams at Spring Hill Recovery Center today.

Written by Spring Hill Editorial Team

Edited on: June 10, 2023

©2023 Spring Hill Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

This page does not provide medical advice.

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