Alcohol is everywhere in our society. An overwhelming majority of American adults consume alcohol: as of 2013, 73 percent of American adults drink alcohol, and that number is actually rising. Our country is “soaked in booze,” some experts allege, and it’s hard to argue against that point.

This doesn’t mean that alcohol can’t be a healthy part of life for many people. But it does mean that we should all be careful about our relationship with this powerful and ubiquitous drug. You should be aware of alcohol’s many serious effects, and you should be prepared to deal with alcohol-related problems that may arise — or may have already arisen — in your own life.

Alcohol’s health effects: complicated, but mostly bad

Alcohol is, by and large, not very good for us. Excessive alcohol consumption can kill us on its own, and the effects of alcohol can lead us to make poor decisions that put us at risk for all sorts of related reasons. Drunk driving is one common and dangerous example. In addition to being dangerous, drunk driving is against the law, meaning that the consequences aren’t just limited to health and safety issues!

Alcohol may be beneficial for us in small doses, but the findings are complicated. Look, for example, at the latest facts about prostate cancer. There may be a connection between excessive drinking and a higher risk of prostate cancer, many studies suggest. But the connection has not been fully proven, and at least one study suggests that prostate cancer risk may actually decrease if you consume a moderate amount of alcohol.

Findings that suggest alcohol may be good for us in small doses are common, but recent evidence suggests that these benefits may be overstated. And one thing is for sure, scientists agree: excessive drinking is never good. It can lead to death in the short term, serious health problems in the long term, and all sorts of legal, education, and personal relationship problems.

Your drinking, the law, and recovery

If you think you may have a drinking problem, now is the time to get your life in order. Protect your legal rights if necessary by hiring a DUI attorney — contrition may help in your personal life, but you need to protect your future. If you don’t yet need a DUI lawyer, good: limit your odds of ever needing one by making the decision now to curb your drinking.

There are a lot of resources online for people who need help with the legal and personal consequences of their drinking. There are also lots of places to seek diagnosis and help for alcohol addiction. Take a test online to see how your drinking stacks up, and seek help right away if you feel that you need it. Research psychiatrists, psychologists, and other mental health professionals who specialize in substance abuse. Consider rehab as well: going to a facility for on-site care might help you kick your habit.

If you don’t have a drinking problem, you can and should still consider your drinking. Statistics show that Americans are drinking too much, and the rising number of heavy drinkers in our society should concern all of us. Remember to consume alcohol only in moderation or not at all. It is not good for you and can cause serious problems with your life!

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