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Date of last update: 10/15/2017.

Forum Name: Liver Diseases

Question: Question about alcohol for a professional

 mad-rocker - Fri Jan 26, 2007 5:01 pm


How much alcohol does it take to do damage? I mean any kind of damage? My friend doesn't drink everyday, but she drinks roughly twice a week and when she does, she drinks a lot. Do I need to worry?

I know the liver is good at healing itself, but I can't stop worrying. I have spoken to her about it, but she just says she doesn't drink that much. Maybe I'm being paranoid because I don't drink that much and it seems like she does? :-( Please help.

I wasn't sure where to post this, so sorry if it's in the wrong section.
 htlaeh - Fri Feb 16, 2007 1:15 pm

Every person is affected differently by alcohol. Female drinkers reach higher blood alcohol levels faster than males because of less water, higher fat content in the body and differences in metabolism. Also, hormone changes in women can affect the blood alcohol level. There are other factors that affect how fast alcohol is processed in the body such as body weight, level of health and the consumption of food.

Moderate drinking for women is defined as an average of 1 drink or less per day. When blood alcohol concentrations reach very high levels, the brain's control over the respiratory system may be paralyzed. A .30 BAL is the minimum level at which death can occur; at .40 the drinker may lapse into a coma. At .50 BAL, respiratory functions and heartbeat slow drastically, and at .60 most drinkers are dead.

Long-term use of alcohol can increase the risk for:

Liver damage
Heart disease
Alcohol related birth defects
Neurodegeneration (the death of brain cells and reduced brain-tissue mass)
Stomach and Intestinal ulcers
Poor nutrition (decreased levels of iron and vitamin B, leading to anemia)
Premature aging
Increased risk of accidents

What Are the Signs of a Problem?
-Has your friend ever felt that she should cut down on her drinking?
-Has your friend been annoyed by people criticizing her drinking?
-Has your friend ever felt guilty about drinking?
-Has your friend every had a drink first thing in the morning to steady her “nerves” or to get rid of a hangover
-Has your friend experienced ‘black-outs’ during binge drinking?

If she answers yes to any of the above questions, then she may have a problem and should see her doctor for help. If your friend refuses to seek help, then you can try some of the following:

-Don’t cover up for your friend if she has done anything ‘embarrassing’ or ‘illegal’ during her binge drinking
-Find a time to be alone with your friend (when she is sober) and let her know your concerns regarding her drinking. Use any examples of ways that drinking has caused problems for your friend or her significant others.
-State the results. Explain to your friend what you will do if she doesn't go for help--not to punish her, but to protect yourself from her problems. An example would be to refuse to go with her to any social functions in which alcohol is served.
-Give your friend information and facts concerning the effects of alcohol abuse and where she may find help.

Some resources include:
Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters
1600 Corporate Landing Parkway
Virginia Beach, VA 23454-5617
Internet address:

Locations of Al-Anon or Alateen meetings worldwide can be obtained by calling 1-888-4AL-ANON Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. (est.).
Free informational materials can be obtained by calling the toll-free numbers (operating 7 days per week, 24 hours per day):
U.S.: (800) 356-9996
Canada: (800) 714-7498

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) World Services
475 Riverside Drive, 11th Floor
New York, NY 10115
(212) 870-3400
Internet address:

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
Scientific Communications Branch
6000 Executive Boulevard, Suite 409
Bethesda, MD 20892-7003
(301) 443-3860
Internet address:
Makes available free publications on all aspects of alcohol abuse and alcoholism.

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