Alcohol’s Health Benefits: Do They Really Exist?

alcohol's health benefits

At Summit Disability Law Group, we love helping our clients find ways to lead healthier, longer lives. People often say that drinking small amounts of alcohol can reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. There is some credibility to this talk about alcohol’s health benefits, but it is a complex topic. A closer look at the risks and benefits of alcohol consumption is helpful. In this post, we outline the specifics about alcohol and health.

Studies on Alcohol’s Health Benefits

When scientists study the effects of alcohol, they sort subjects into three categories: non-drinkers, moderate drinkers, and heavy drinkers. Some studies show that moderate drinkers have the lowest rates of stroke, diabetes, and heart disease. This seems to support the idea that alcohol is beneficial. However, the results may be more complicated.

The first problem with the study? Many moderate drinkers are well-educated, well-off financially, and already quite healthy. One doctor points out that moderate drinkers look “good from a health perspective because they’re already healthy to begin with.” Additionally, some people included in the “non-drinker” category are former alcoholics. They are at a higher risk for a number of health problems.

These factors weaken the link between alcohol and health benefits. But, they do not prove that they do not exist. Light to moderate alcohol consumption may reduce your risk of stroke, diabetes, and heart disease.

What We Know About Alcohol Consumption

The dangers of heavy drinking are no secret. In fact, in the studies we mentioned above, heavy drinkers had the shortest life expectancy. Heavy drinking can —

  • impair your ability to think clearly
  • increase your risk for cancer
  • damage your liver and its ability to get rid of toxins
  • weaken your immune system and expose you to infectious disease

The benefits and risks of moderate drinking may be up for debate, but the dangers of heavy drinking are too clear to ignore.

Alcoholism itself does not qualify for Social Security benefits, but the serious physical, cognitive, and psychiatric disabilities it causes may qualify you for aid. The attorneys at Summit Disability Law Group are dedicated to helping our clients win the benefits they deserve. Contact us for a free consultation today, or order a free copy of our book, the Utah Social Security Disability Handbook.


Photo “Need a glass” copyright by Mohamed Aymen Bettaieb.