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Health and Wellness - Alcohol

Learn more about alcohol and how to support your health and wellness

Health and wellness are core necessities whether a person has an active alcohol use disorder or is in early or long-term recovery. In short, health and wellness means taking care of yourself in any healthy way to help improve your life.

Repeated patterns of alcohol use can lead to chronic health conditions (physical and/or emotional) that impact both the length of a person’s life and the overall quality of life that can be experienced and achieved.   

Recovery from an alcohol use disorder can be hard, but you can help yourself by improving your physical and mental health, or supporting a loved one in doing so. This may mean starting to exercise more, relaxing by listening to music, eating more nutritious foods, or it may mean seeking help from a professional, like a mental health therapist. If you need ideas to improve your health and wellness, talk with your healthcare provider, ask for advice from healthy and sober supports, or search the internet for ideas. Always pay attention to your personal needs and remember, there is hope wherever you are. Stories of recovery happen every day.

Iowa Statistics 

56 percent of Iowans report drinking in the past month. Most see it as a form of recreation. For many, it is. But not for 28.6 percent of Iowans who report binge drinking in the past month, which is higher than the national average.

Myths & Facts

How much of what you know about alcohol is actually true? Review the statements below and learn the facts.

When you order a margarita, it's just one drink.

​​​Myth.​ Not necessarily. The number of standard drinks in a mixed drink depends on the number of shots added and the alcohol content in the liquor. One shot is 1.5 ounces of liquor. Margaritas or other mixed drinks may have several shots of liquor. If that’s the case, that one beverage will count as more than one standard drink.

Excessive drinking is when you get drunk more than once a week.

Myth. The feeling of getting drunk does not determine if your drinking is excessive. The definition of excessive drinking is more specific than that. Excessive drinking includes binge drinking – which is how much you drink at one event, and heavy drinking – how much you drink during the whole week.

For women, binge drinking is having four or more drinks on one occasion. For men, binge drinking is five or more drinks on one occasion.

For women, heavy drinking is having eight or more drinks in a week. And for men, heavy drinking is defined as having 15 or more drinks per week.

Alcohol impaired driving accounts for nearly 30 percent of all driving fatalities.

Fact. According to the CDC, in 2016, alcohol impaired driving was involved in over 10,000 deaths nationwide. That accounts for 28% of all traffic-related deaths in the USA.

I’m pregnant, but it is okay to have one glass of wine every once in a while.

Myth. There is no safe level of alcohol consumption while you are pregnant. Alcohol can affect a baby’s development at any stage during pregnancy. Alcohol passes easily from the mother to baby through the placenta. Alcohol exposure for a developing baby can interfere with organ development including the baby’s growing brain. Stay safe and do not drink alcohol while you are pregnant.

You can overdose on alcohol

Fact. An overdose on alcohol occurs when a person’s blood alcohol content (BAC) has risen enough to impair them. There are a wide range of effects, from stumbling to slurred speech; in the case of alcohol poisoning, effects include coma and death.

Alcohol is addictive.

Fact. Alcohol is an addictive substance. Some individuals have a predisposition to problem drinking based on family history.

If you drink beer before shots you won’t get sick.

Myth. The order in which you drink alcohol has nothing to do with if you get sick or not. It all depends on the total amount of alcohol you consume.

Alcohol dehydrates you. 

Fact. Alcohol is a diuretic. That means it forces more water out of your body’s cells. Even though you’re drinking liquids, the alcohol does not hydrate you.

A nightcap is good to help you sleep.

Myth. You may fall asleep more easily if you had a drink before bed, but alcohol disrupts sleep and will negatively affect your night’s rest.

Coffee is good to help you sober up faster.

Myth. Coffee contains caffeine which will keep you awake, but you will still be impaired by alcohol if you have been drinking. There is nothing you can do speed up the process of detoxifying alcohol in your body.


Want to find help on your own?

Your Life Iowa is always here to help you find resources near you. However, we understand that sometimes you’d like to look for help on your own. Our map will let you do just that.

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