Everyone has their way of enjoying themselves and having fun. For some, it may mean snuggling on the couch with their loved ones, sharing a box of pizza. For others, it may mean relaxing under the shade of a tree, spending the afternoon lazily turning the pages of an old book. There may be those for whom fun comes in the form of glasses filled with bubbly drinks knocking into each other. While for others, this same fun may come in the form of drinking a can of cool beer with their head on another’s shoulder.
Each of these ways of relaxing is valid because they are what suit the comfort of the person engaging in them. Of course, it is always wrong to force someone to have fun in another’s way or to somehow judge their way of de-stressing.
Some people might not get how reading a book is interesting, while others fail to see the point of laughing over frothy drinks at a party. That is alright because not everyone finds comfort in the same things. The most important part is to do what you want to do without feeling pressured and without causing anyone else harm.
If you are having a drink or two is your way of treating yourself to a good time after a stressful week, you are perfectly valid. With New Year’s Eve around the corner, a lot of people may be looking forward to sending this exhausting year off with a glass of wine or a pint of beer. After all the things you have endured this year, you do deserve to wind down in the way you want.
However, you must remember that you have the most fun when you have the safest fun. You should not compromise your safety for the sake of a good time, because that can come with long-lasting consequences. This is especially true when it comes to drinking alcohol, because sometimes you may find yourself going overboard.
So, to help you with balancing your partying with taking care of your health, we are going to introduce you to a form of measuring alcohol content: the standard drink.
What is a standard drink?
The first question you might have is: what is a standard drink? Well, a standard drink is a method of measuring alcohol consumption. A standard drink is basically a hypothetical drink which has a fixed amount of pure alcohol content. Not all drinks contain the same amount of alcohol for the same volume and thus, a standard drink of beer will differ from a standard drink of wine in terms of volume.
This means that a standard drink of beer may be of x millilitres and a standard drink of wine may be of y millilitres but they will each have the same amount of pure alcohol and hence, they will have the same effect of drunkenness of the people who consume them.
This is done because all drinks have a different percentage and content of alcohol. The amount of drink in your glass is not equivalent to the amount of alcohol inside. So, it may be hard to keep track of much pure alcohol you are consuming. Hence, a standard drink is defined with a fixed quantity of alcohol and then all your other drinks are specified in terms of that standard drink.
For example, if a standard drink has 8 gms of alcohol and a certain brand of drink has 16 gms of alcohol per can, then each has will be said to have 2 standard drinks. This way, it will be easier for you to find out how much alcohol you are consuming so that you can have better control over it.
How many ounces are in a standard drink?
If you are wondering how many ounces are in a standard drink, the answer varies. The measurement of a standard drink is different for different countries. For the purposes of this article, we will be focusing on the standard drink measurement in the United States of America.
In the USA, a standard drink is any drink which has 14 gms or 0.6 fluid ounces of pure alcohol. This is also known as the alcoholic drink equivalent. Different types of drinks are then measured in terms of this alcoholic drink equivalent.
For the USA, the following measurements are equal to a standard drink i.e. having 14 gms of pure alcohol:
- 12 fluid ounces of regular beer, which contains about 5% alcohol.
- 8 to 9 fluid ounces of malt liquor, having about 7% alcohol.
- 5 fluid ounces of table wine, containing about 12% alcohol.
- 3 to 4 fluid ounces of fortified wine, containing about 17% alcohol,
- 2 to 3 fluid ounces of cordial, liqueur or aperitif, having about 24% alcohol.
- 1.5 fluid ounces of cognac or brandy, containing about 40% alcohol.
- 1.5 fluid ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits, having about 40% alcohol.
Thus, these are the measurements for standard drinks for different types of alcoholic drinks. Once you are aware of this, you can calculate the total amount of alcohol so that you know when to stop and call it a night.
Keep in mind that these numbers are only in terms of the USA, and other countries, such as New Zealand, Australia etc. have their own measure of alcohol in a standard drink.
Importance of controlling alcohol consumption
The point of measuring the alcohol in a standard drink is to then maintain a safe limit of consumption for people.
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), of the United States of America, females are advised to consume only maximum 3 or lesser standard drinks per day and not more than 7 standard drinks per week. This is because the female body is more vulnerable to adverse effects of consuming alcohol.
Thus, the safety amount for females is lesser than that for males. For the male body, the maximum 4 or less standard drinks per day and lesser than 14 standard drinks per week.
It is important to control your consumption of alcohol because extreme use can distrupt your normal bodily functions cause problems like high blood pressure, digestive problems, liver disease, stroke, etc.
It can also increase risk of certain serious conditions like cancer of the mouth, throat, breast, colon, oesophagus, etc. Even without all this, too many drinks a night may make you feel bloated and tired the next morning, which is never the best way to start the day.
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It can also take a toll on your mental health because while it may give you temporary relief from the stress, it can lead to a build-up of negative feelings in the longer run. It affects the chemicals in your brain and can contribute to depression, anxiety, etc.
Hence, it is important to control your alcohol consumption. You can start by measuring your intake in terms of alcohol in a standard drink and then working on other areas of your health. Try going for other healthier ways of coping with stress or pampering yourself, like massages, exercises, etc.
Balancing fun with safety
It is completely valid to relax and do things you enjoy, either alone or surrounded by the people you love. But at the same time, it is also important to exercise caution and not do anything you may regret later once the party and fun are over.
Always keep an eye out for your drinks and make sure no one has tampered with them. Also, never drink and drive, because in doing so not only do you put your own life at risk, but someone else’s as well.
You need to take care of yourself not just during the bad times, but also the good ones, because happiness can also lead to careless decisions sometimes. So, whether you are at a party or just by yourself, remember to look after your mind, body and soul. After all, this is your precious life and you owe it yourself to be as kind and gentle with it as possible.