Consuming alcohol is one of the social standards of adult life. It goes along with almost any sort of party or lunch or gathering. Work parties will serve champagne, football games always have been, and there are always lovely wine and painting nights. But while alcohol can be enjoyed in moderation, having too much can be extremely dangerous. 

Crossing the line between normal drinking and excessive drinking is dangerous for our physical and mental health, as well as those around us. 

Read on to find out how much drinking is too much drinking and what you can do about it. 

How Does Drinking Affect Your Body?

Alcohol is a depressant, which means that it suppresses the central nervous system so much that it weakens and undermines your ability to speak, move, see, and think clearly. This impairment of thought is often sought by people who tend to binge drink or drink to get drunk. It is absorbed directly into the bloodstream through the stomach and small intestine, making its effects almost instantaneous. 

When you consume too much alcohol, it can affect your body in permanent and negative ways. Alcohol damages the liver and pancreas by forcing the liver to work an unhealthy amount of overtime trying to metabolize it and causing the pancreas to excrete toxic chemicals that can lead to pancreatitis.

In even more serious cases, excessive alcohol will damage the brain. It causes communication pathways to break down and be disrupted, which outwardly shows itself as abrupt changes of mood or impaired motor control. If this process is repeated enough times, then the damage becomes permanent. 

Drinking too much alcohol also makes you vulnerable to numerous types of cancer as well as immune system failure. 

Beyond that, excessive drinking and alcoholism are closely linked to anxiety and depression, with the person often looking for a short-term cure for underlying mental illness.  

Defining “Too Much” Drinking

But what exactly does “too much alcohol” look like? It’s a phrase that gets tossed around a lot but at its core, it is vague and subjective. Drinking excessively to one person might be having more than one glass of wine while drinking excessively to another person would mean chugging half a bottle. Even doctors will give widely different answers. 

However, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration defines binge drinking as a woman having four or more standard drinks and a man having five or more standard drinks within a couple of hours, and heavy drinking is defined as binge drinking at least five times in the past month. A standard drink is defined as 1.5 oz of spirit, 5 oz of wine, or 6 oz of beer. 

But, these are only official guidelines and the truth is that it’s far more individual than that. Differences in sex, body weight, ethnic group, and age all play their parts in how alcohol affects you. For example, people with more bodyweight will tend to have a higher tolerance to it because there is more space for the alcohol to spread through the body. 

Alcoholism is a step beyond even heavy drinking. This is when a person begins to depend on alcohol as one depends on any addictive substance. Feeling a compulsion to drink, a lack of control over the amount of alcohol drunk or the time spent drinking, and not being able to have fun without having alcohol involved are all telltale signs of alcoholism or alcohol dependency. 

A heightened tolerance of alcohol, so that you need to drink more to get the same effects is one of the earliest signs of alcohol dependency. One of the most easily spotted signs is the worsening of platonic, romantic, and familial relationships, professional abilities, and even the ability to take care of yourself. When binge drinking becomes alcoholism, it becomes an addiction, negatively impacting all other aspects of life.

At this stage, drinking becomes a physiological issue, not just a mental one. A person who is dependent on alcohol has little control over it and would need to get professional help in order to free themselves from it. 

But the good news is that there are a plethora of treatment options for alcohol dependency, from individual therapy to support groups like AA, as well as rehab centers if you need it. Alcohol addiction is frightening but it doesn’t have to be forever.  

The COVID-19 pandemic changed the world. Even as restrictions are being lifted, the residual effects of a global tragedy continue to haunt everyone. Although many people went through their own personal struggles, those living with mental illnesses had to wrestle with many negative symptoms as a result of change, sadness, and trauma. 

Even so, the lessons the global pandemic left us with, particularly in relation to mental health, should not go unnoticed. Although the pandemic’s effects were devastating, stigmas associated with mental health began to lessen.

Now that mental health awareness is increasingly being addressed, more treatments are readily available to help more people. Using coping mechanisms, therapy, or prescription medication, those who were diagnosed with a mental illness during the pandemic or those who were already diagnosed are being seen and validated. 

While all mental illnesses are important to acknowledge, depression is a diagnosis that must be continually monitored, pandemic or not. COVID-19 changed a lot of things, including the way we interact with others. When these connections were unavailable, it greatly damaged the wellbeing of those struggling with their diagnoses. 

If you have been clinically diagnosed with depression, there are positive tools available to help you. Here are 5 coping mechanisms that can be used during the pandemic and beyond. 

  1. Stay Healthy

Everyone’s experiences with depression are different, so it is normal for cases to vary from person to person. However, it is essential that you are doing basic, everyday things to keep you safe and nourished. 

For example, while it can seem impossible, try your best to set a goal for yourself every single day. This could be something as simple as making the bed, because that may be all you have motivation for during a difficult time. 

As time goes on, try to add on to these goals more and more until you find yourself in a healthier place. Make sure that you’re eating, drinking water, and moving your body for at least 30 minutes every day. Keep in mind that this does not have to mean going for a run. This could mean a slower-paced 30-minute yoga routine to relax your body and mind. 

  1. Practice Mindfulness

While the true definition of mindfulness often entails a form of meditation, it is truly a collection of strategies that can look very different for every person. Meditation can be a form of mindfulness, but it may not be for you. For example, some people find yoga to be a more structured and physically active way to connect with their minds.

However, none of these may work for you, and that is completely okay. Find something that gives you joy, whether that means reading a book or going for a hike. 

The point of mindfulness is to take a moment, find your breath, and live in the present moment. That can be found in a number of things, so if you practice mindfulness by dancing in the living room, do it. 

  1. Stay Connected

Connection seems like such an odd term following a global pandemic, but it is essential for maintaining your mental health, especially if you struggle with depression. 

It is still important to be aware of your surroundings and follow protocol if face

masks are required. However, if you are vaccinated, see if you feel comfortable 

connecting with other people again. 

Some support groups are meeting in person with mask requirements, but if you 

are still uncomfortable with that, see if you feel safe meeting with an online 


  1. Practice a Consistent Routine

Try your best to intentionally plan out your weeks. As previously mentioned, don’t look at this as a requirement, but as a guideline to keep you motivated on the task ahead. Depression can be exhausting, but if you have a consistent schedule that keeps you going, that is the most important thing.

Make your bed the moment you get up. Set aside some time to exercise, read, and/or meditate. Make sure that you aren’t skipping meals, but don’t beat yourself up if you happen to miss one part of your daily routine.

More than anything, a routine is there to keep you going, one day at a time. 

  1. Get Some Sleep

Research has proven the benefits of good sleep hygiene. Even so, depression can often make you feel extremely fatigued, even if you have had a good night’s sleep.

With that being said, there are things that you can do that can help with this. If you go to bed at the same time every night, shut off all electronics, and turn off the lights in your room, your body will begin to prepare itself for sleep and feel more energized in the morning. 

A consistent sleep routine can prevent your depression from getting worse, allowing you to feel more motivation, energy, and mental wellbeing.

highly sensitive person parker Colorado

If you consider yourself to be very emotionally aware, a deep thinker, and very sensitive to your environment, it is possible you may be a Highly Sensitive Person.

Click here to take the official Highly Sensitive Person assessment.

Created by leading researcher Dr. Elaine Aron.

 As defined by Dr. Elaine Aron, a Highly Sensitive Person or HSP is a person who is born biologically more sensitive than most to their environment.  They naturally tend to process information that they receive from their senses and social interactions more deeply.  However, while this can provide great insights, it also means that the person can be more easily overstimulated and overwhelmed.  This biological trait is a great gift but can appear to be a curse for those who do not understand how to work with this trait.

I specialize in helping HSPs learn how to make the most of their gifts and better manage overstimulation.  As an HSP myself, I understand how being highly sensitive can affect every aspect of your life from your career to your personal relationships.  I have helped many HSPs learn the skills they need to find peace in a busy world of high stimulation and high demands.

Learn how to…

  • Use your sensitivity as a gift and take pride in being a HSP
  • Cope with strong emotions and better understand their purpose
  • Reduce overstimulation and adjust your environment to fit you better
  • Increase your self-esteem and strengthen your sense of self
  • Handle conflict without automatically switching into anxiety, guilt, anger, or withdraw
  • Maintain healthy boundaries with others and express your needs
  • Receive guidance from your own intuition

If you would like to learn more, please get in touch.