By Dr. Mallika Marshall, WBZ-TVBy Dr. Mallika Marshall

BOSTON (CBS) – It can be very easy to pour that second glass of wine or crack another beer open. What may seem like a harmless act can have real health consequences, particularly for women.

After a hectic day, Michelle often felt that she needed help relaxing. “I remember having a glass of wine, giving her a bath, fixing dinner. I didn’t think anything of it.” Michelle’s first glass usually led to another. “I had girlfriends who were mothers who kind of did the same thing.”

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Dr. Wendy Walsh, a psychologist and host of an online wine group, often hears similar stories. “Most of my friends were saying they were drinking half a bottle a day.” Over time, Dr. Walsh realized her two glass a night habit had become too much. The first clue was the onset of massive red wine headaches.

This dilemma isn’t about being an alcoholic. But many casual drinkers are exceeding recommended guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control. For example, a woman should have one glass of wine a day, and that glass should only be five ounces. For men, the guideline is two glasses a day.

Dr. Danny Mendoza, head of psychiatric services at the Beth Israel Deaconess in Plymouth believes there are many misconceptions about drinking. “A lot of people really think that beer is OK, that wine is OK . . .it is still alcohol and it still has the impact on the body and the brain and it still has the impact on your functional status at home and school and work.”

Boston University professor of nutrition Joan Salge Blake says today’s larger glassware can make it hard to gauge how much alcohol is really being consumed. She says many of her clients would show her how much they would pour in a wine glass. “It wasn’t a glass of wine. It was possibly two glasses of wine.”

Health consequences from consuming too much alcohol go beyond well-known problems like liver damage and increased risk of breast cancer. Dr. Mendoza explained, “There have been recent students that indicate that there is a high association between alcohol, consumption, and Alzheimer’s disease, particularly in women.”

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Dr. Walsh went through a behavior modification program to adjust her habits. She no longer pours without giving it a little thought. “Ask yourself, hmm, would I like a glass of wine? Plenty of times the answer is no, and sometimes the answer is yes.”

Dr. Mendoza often uses the “CAGE” assessment to make a determination if drinking is starting to cross the line into a problem area.

“C” stands for, have you ever wanted to cut down?

“A” represents whether you have ever been annoyed over a comment regarding your drinking.

“G” is for guilt over drinking

And “E” is for eye opener; have you ever felt you needed to start the day with a drink?

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Dr. Mallika Marshall