When facing tough times, or even after a long day of work, there may be a strong urge to pop the cork on a bottle of wine and enjoy a glass or two, or even an entire bottle. After all, even reputable sources have claimed that wine consumption’s health benefits can help fight off heart disease and other illnesses. These claims of benefits, unfortunately, remain unfounded. Drinking a bottle of wine by yourself, for example, wouldn’t prevent heart disease or lower cholesterol. In fact, it may be a culprit to a long list of chronic health conditions. We’re reviewing the long-term impacts of wine drinking below.
The National Survey on Drug Use and Health estimates approximately 85% of adults used alcohol during their lifetime, while 70% report drinking alcohol in the past year, and 55% indicate drinking in the past month. The U.S. remains the highest wine consuming nation in the world. Although legal, wine can be just as detrimental to health as beer and spirits.
Short- vs. Long-Term Health Effects of Wine
In some ways, drinking a bottle of wine a day may seem innocent. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) defines a standard wine bottle as 750 milliliters. In one bottle, there are roughly five glasses (5 oz) of wine. Moderate drinking, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), entails one glass of wine per day for women and two per day for men. Consuming alcohol at levels above moderate drinking standards significantly increases the potential risk of short-term harms such as injuries, as well as long-term chronic illnesses.
Drinking can be as harmful as smoking, and more than five drinks a week significantly lowers life expectancy.
Drinking a bottle of wine by yourself suggests rates of alcohol use categorized as binge drinking. A 2018 study published in The Lancet found that drinks consumed above moderate standards, outlined by the CDC, increases the risk of stroke, fatal aneurysm, heart failure, and death.
In 2015, 66.7 million people in the United States reported binge drinking in the past month. Research also suggests that alcohol can numb the mind so that people forget about their usual inhibitions and concerns. Symptoms of anxiety and depression may subside temporarily, but other short-term effects carry serious consequences.
Alcohol affects both the body and mind. There are physical and psychological consequences to overconsumption of alcohol, whether it’s wine, beer, or spirits.
Short-Term Effects of Daily Wine Drinking
Many Americans believe that occasional wine consumption, regardless of quantity consumed, is not only safe but may even provide health benefits. Newer research reveals that there is little evidence to support this claim.
Although a person may not suffer from alcohol addiction, the short-term effects of wine can still impact the mind and body. The liver is tasked with processing alcohol but can only filter about one standard drink per hour, mostly dependent on factors such as age, height, weight, and gender. Excess alcohol not absorbed by the liver is released back into the blood. Drinking a bottle of wine by yourself can quickly raise blood alcohol content (BAC) depending, of course, on how long it takes to consume.
The short-term effects of drinking a bottle of wine by yourself can range from mild to more severe symptoms. Here are a few:
- Lower inhibitions, increased risk of injury
- Trouble concentrating
- Loss of coordination
- Loss of critical judgment
- Dull perception
- Mood swings
- Reduced core body temperature
- Passing out
Long-Term Effects of Daily Wine Drinking
Drinking too much overtime can cause extreme issues impactful to both mental and physical health. For example, heavy drinking or patterned drinking, over time—can contribute to liver damage, cardiovascular disease, and multiple types of cancer.
Of course, there are serious concerns when it comes to drinking and long-term brain health. Exposure to alcohol during critical periods of development—such as in the womb or during teenage years—can cause lasting damage, as can binge drinking during any stage of life.
Specifically, heavy drinkers are at risk of developing a neurological disorder called Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, a chronic memory disorder caused by a deficiency of the vitamin thiamine.
Other long-term health effects of drinking a bottle of wine consistently include:
- Memory loss
- Trouble learning
- Alcoholic hepatitis
- Liver fibrosis
- High blood pressure
- Irregular heartbeat
- Diminished gray matter and white matter in the brain
Drinking a bottle of wine by yourself isn’t necessarily life-threatening. However, with continued use, it can contribute to a laundry list of illnesses, including dependency. Even wine, widely viewed as a sophisticated type of alcohol, is highly addictive.
Alcohol is a simple chemical that can bring about significant changes in the human brain’s complex functions. For example, when we drink wine, it can trigger the release of other chemicals in the body that make us feel more confident and less sensitive to pain. Drinking on occasion, especially in large quantities, can quickly spiral into a larger issue.
When Occasional Drinking Suggests a Larger Problem
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism estimates that 17 million American adults have alcohol use disorders. Another 855,000 Americans ages 12 to 17 have alcohol use disorders. It’s important to remember that alcohol use disorder (AUD) isn’t created overnight. It emerges from long-term misuse.
Drinking a bottle of wine by yourself may be an innocent pastime. However, it may also indicate an underlying issue if it becomes a consistent habit or when increased amounts of wine are required to achieve the same desired effects.
Knowing the signs and symptoms of each stage of alcohol abuse can aid in seeking help before the problem turns into dependence and addiction.
- Occasional Abuse and Binge Drinking – drinking above the moderate level on occasion. It generally refers to an experimental stage of drinking
- Increased drinking – occurs when alcohol use becomes more frequent. It may involve excuses to drink, drinking to relieve stress and mental health, and even drinking simply out of boredom
- Problem drinking – typically refers to situations when drinking habits begin to impact personal and professional lives
- Alcohol dependence – occurs when you’re aware of drinking becoming an issue but are no longer in control of alcohol consumption
- Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) – characterized by a physical and psychological need to drink
Does Drinking a Bottle of Wine By Yourself Really Have an Impact?
Drinking a bottle of wine by yourself, especially consistently, may have a lasting impact. You may have heard the term, “drinking a bottle of wine a day keeps the doctor away.” This is a common phrase that further reinforces American alcohol culture. However, evidence-based research suggests that alcohol’s impact on the brain increases its risk of abuse. Additionally, AUD is also one of the most common substance abuse disorders (SUD) in the U.S., impacting more than 14 million Americans.
Alcohol is also commonly found with other mental health illnesses like depression and anxiety. The occurrence of two existing conditions is referred to as comorbidity or co-occurring disorder.
According to most primary care physicians, daily alcohol use is indicative of an alcohol use disorder and possible dependency on alcohol. Research has more evidence that prolonged use of alcohol has significant negative physical and mental consequences.
In the end, the dangers of alcohol use are much more prominent and supported by ongoing research. Healthcare physicians and addiction treatment specialists recommend seeking help for problem drinking as the risks of dependency increase with continued use. If caught early enough, treatment professionals can manage alcohol misuse effectively. With integrative approaches and dual diagnosis care, AUD is a treatable disease.
According to the Diagnostic Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders, 5th Edition, drinking a bottle of wine by yourself meets the medical criteria for binge drinking. If use continues, it can suggest an alcohol use disorder.
Signs of Alcohol Abuse include:
- Inability to complete work, school, or at home duties
- Recurrent use of alcohol in places or situations that drinking can harm self or others.
- Legal problems such as disorderly conduct, operating while intoxicated, and theft
- Recurrent use despite negative impacts on relationships exacerbated by alcohol use
Signs of Alcohol use Disorder include:
- A mental or emotional need for increased amounts of alcohol when drinking
- Use of alcohol to avoid the effects of withdrawal from alcohol
- Drinking larger amounts over an extended period
- Persistent desire to obtain, use, and recovery from alcohol use
- Continued drinking despite knowledge of the damaging physical and psychological consequences exacerbated by drinking alcohol
Drinking a bottle or a glass of wine a day places you at much higher risk for AUD and can lead to significant medical, mental, and relational problems.
AspenRidge Recovery: Alcohol Addiction Treatment
AspenRidge’s trained, board-certified therapists, medical staff, and counselors offer counseling and rehab programs for those addicted to alcohol. Our Colorado alcohol addiction treatment programs take on a dual diagnosis approach. We guide clients using evidence- and holistic-based treatment modalities to address alcoholism and the underlying issues that exacerbate it.
Various options include:
- Day Partial Hospitalization (PHP)
- Day Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)
- AspenRidge REACH Online IOP
- IOP for Professionals and Working Adults
- Outpatient Program
- Alumni & Aftercare Program
Online Alcohol Therapy Program
Online alcohol addiction counseling is now a Colorado statewide program that is an excellent option for individuals that can help more Coloradans access safe and successful treatment.
AspenRidge’s REACH Colorado online alcohol addiction program has received great results and high customer satisfaction from board-certified counselors and clients. Individual and small-group virtual therapy is effective in treating alcohol use disorder and the underlying mental health issues that may impact long-term recovery.