Alcohol Awareness Month
Drinking Alcohol: Not Good for Your Heart or Health
By Carolyn Reynolds, Associate Director of Behavioral Health-Adult and Substance Use Services, WSHC
For years having a glass of wine, a beer, or a cocktail was considered a harmless way to unwind. Recent data shows that drinking alcohol is not as harmless to our health as it seems. A new report from the World Alcohol Federation, says “drinking any amount of alcohol is not good for your health.”
The report examines the heavy toll that drinking can take on the body, including damage to the liver, and heart, and links to many cancers. Daily drinking may indeed be bad for your health, especially if you suffer from certain chronic health conditions, mental health issues, or have a family history of substance use disorder.
April is Alcohol Awareness Month and it’s a good time to reconsider our drinking habits and the role it plays in our lives. Whittier Street Health Center encourages you to educate yourself and your loved ones about the dangers of drinking any amount of alcohol.
Drinking alcohol in small amounts and in moderation is deeply engrained in the American way of life and is supported in advertisements, on movie screens, and in other media. Within our vulnerable community, we know that not many people can drink in “moderation” and their drinking habits are not “less than 1 drink per day which is a 12oz bottle of beer, or a 5oz glass of wine or cocktail with 1.5oz of hard liquor,” as recommended for years by the US Dietary Guidelines states.
The research from the World Alcohol Federation on the impacts of drinking shows there are many reasons for good health to cut back and eliminate daily alcohol drinking. We know that in communities of color alcohol has contributed to chronic health issues, such as cirrhosis of the liver, chronic kidney disease, breast cancer in women, cardiovascular disease, and strokes. In addition, alcohol use disorder also contributes to many social determinants of health issues such as the inability to work due to suffering from a hangover, and can lead to loss of job, housing, friendships, interpersonal relationships within the family, and other issues. People in our minority communities are sometimes unaware of the mental effects alcohol has on our emotional wellbeing, which can also lead to domestic violence, sleep disturbances, and depression, just to name a few.
Knowing the signs of alcohol abuse, its risks, and unsafe use is the first step to knowing when and how to ask for help. If you think you need help, come to Whittier’s Early Support and Recovery (ESR) Group. ESR is held every Monday from 10:00 am to 11:00 am (Check-in begins at 9:45 am). Please contact the Behavioral Health Department at 617-989-3009 or 617-989-3127 for more information contact: Carolyn Reynolds, Associate Director of Behavioral Health-Adult and Substance Use Services.