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How Much Wine is Too Much?

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How Much Wine is Too Much?

The United States Department of Health and Human Services defines 1 serving of wine as the following:

  • Five ounces for table wine
  • Three-to-four ounces for fortified wine (such as sherry or port).

According to the United States Dietary Guidelines, moderate drinking is defined as:

  • For men: 1 to 2 alcoholic beverages per day
  • For women: 1 alcoholic beverage per day

A glass of wine is considered a standard alcoholic beverage.

The U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend consuming no more than 1 glass per day (for women) and no more than 2 glasses per day (for men). 

Drinking moderate amounts of alcohol will decrease the risk of developing significant health problems.

However, drinking alcohol at levels above these guidelines increases the risk for injuries, as well as cancer and other serious illnesses.

I Drink a Bottle of Wine a Day, Do I Have a Drinking Problem?

One bottle of wine contains roughly 5 glasses. A single glass is considered a standard alcoholic beverage.

This means if you drink an entire bottle every day, you're well above expert guidance for safe alcohol consumption.

Drinking a bottle of wine a day is considered excessive.

As such, it may increase your risk for alcohol use disorder. But, it doesn’t necessarily indicate alcohol abuse or a drinking problem. The frequency and amount of time it takes to drink the bottle of wine can indicate whether or not you have a drinking problem.

If you think you may have a drinking problem, you should consult a doctor.

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Dangers of Excessive Alcohol Consumption

Excessive alcohol consumption (including binge drinking) poses significant health risks. 

The short-term health risks of excessive alcohol consumption include:

  • Bodily injuries, such as car crashes, burns, or falls
  • Violence including assault, sexual assault, intimate partner violence, homicide, and suicide
  • Alcohol poisoning
  • Risky sex leading to STDs including HIV and Hep C
  • Unintended pregnancy
  • Miscarriage, stillbirth, or fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) among pregnant women

In addition to these immediate health concerns, excessive alcohol consumption or heavy drinking over time can cause chronic diseases and other serious health problems.

The long-term health risks of excessive alcohol consumption include:

  • Cardiovascular problems including high blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease
  • Liver damage, cirrhosis, or other liver diseases
  • Digestive problems
  • Cancers including breast cancer or cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, and colon
  • A weakening of the immune system, increasing the chances of getting sick
  • Learning and memory problems, including dementia and low school or work performance
  • Mental health problems, including depression and anxiety
  • Social issues, including low productivity, family problems, and unemployment
  • Alcohol use disorders, or alcohol dependence
the health effects of alcohol
infographic of health effects of alcohol

By avoiding excessive alcohol consumption, you can reduce these short- and long-term health risks.

Is Any Amount of Red Wine Healthy to Drink?

Many studies suggest that drinking red wine may provide health benefits. Red wine contains antioxidants that are necessary for optimal cardiovascular function.

The antioxidants in red wine may also prevent various chronic diseases.

In one study, red wine consumption decreased blood pressure in those with hypertension.3 Another compared non-drinkers to moderate alcohol drinkers of red wine, finding this second group had a 51% lower risk of death from heart disease.3

Some studies have found improved health among moderate wine drinkers. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean these enhanced health benefits are due to wine consumption alone. Many nutritious foods and vegetables are richer sources of antioxidants than wine.

They may be caused by behaviors or genetics between people who drink moderately and those who don’t.

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Who is More at Risk of Drinking Too Much Wine?

Women generally face greater risks of drinking too much wine compared with men. They tend to have alcohol-related problems sooner and a lower blood alcohol level threshold for adverse health effects. 

Women face these issues because they generally weigh less and have less water in their bodies than men. This leads them to metabolize alcohol more slowly. 

On the other hand, men develop alcohol dependency at a much greater rate. About half of all men in America have alcohol-related problems of one form or another.

While men and women of the legal drinking age may be able to consume wine in moderation without issue, some people should abstain.

This includes:

  • Women who are pregnant or might be pregnant
  • Minors
  • Those with certain medical conditions or those who take medications that interact with alcohol
  • Anyone recovering from an alcohol use disorder or unable to control the amount they drink

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Symptoms of Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)

Health professionals use criteria from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders to assess whether, and to what extent, a person has AUD.

The following symptoms may indicate AUD:

  • Drinking more, or for longer, than intended
  • Spending an excessive amount of time drinking or getting over the effects of alcohol
  • Unable to cut back on alcohol consumption or stop drinking
  • Intense cravings or urges to drink alcohol
  • Problems related to drinking that interfere with taking care of home, work, or school obligations
  • Engaging in risky behavior during or after drinking
  • Drinking alcohol despite it causing problems with family or friends
  • Cutting back on or giving up activities that were once important in favor of drinking alcohol
  • Drinking despite it causing depression, anxiety, or contributing to other mental health issues
  • Experiencing memory blackouts
  • An increased alcohol tolerance
  • Withdrawal symptoms

Any of these symptoms may be a cause for concern. The more symptoms that are present, the more urgent the need for change.

If you experience two or more of these symptoms, go see a doctor. They can determine whether you have AUD or not.

Treatment for Alcohol Addiction

Many people struggle with alcohol problems and addiction throughout their lives. In the United States alone, about 17 million adults have AUD.

Most people with alcohol addiction can benefit from treatment. About one-third of people who receive treatment for alcohol problems have no further symptoms one year later. Others successfully reduce their drinking and report fewer alcohol-related problems.

Treatment methods include:

There's no universal solution for alcohol addiction, - what may work for some people doesn't work for others. To find the best treatment for alcohol addiction, speak with an addiction specialist today.

Updated on March 29, 2022
7 sources cited
  1. “Dietary Guidelines for Alcohol.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 29 Dec. 2020
  2. “Drinking Too Much Alcohol Can Harm Your Health. Learn the Facts.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 14 Jan. 2021
  3. Snopek, Lukas et al. “Contribution of Red Wine Consumption to Human Health Protection.” Molecules (Basel, Switzerland) vol. 23,7 1684. 11 Jul. 2018
  4. “Treatment for Alcohol Problems: Finding and Getting Help.” National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
  5. “Understanding Alcohol Use Disorder.” National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
  6. “What's a Standard Drink? - Rethinking Drinking - NIAAA.” National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
  7. “Why Do Women Face Higher Risks?” National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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