I drink…Is it a problem?
It depends on HOW MUCH and WHY you drink!
Alcohol, if consumed in moderate and controlled doses, can be an appropriate social activity. In fact, moderate drinking is even recommended by some medical experts. How much is considered too much? Recommended amounts and patterns of alcohol consumption, include:
- Drinking no more than 3-4 standard drinks per drinking episode.
- Drinking no more than 7 drinks per week for women.
- Drinking no more than 12-14 drinks per week for men.
If your drinking habit is along these lines – you are probably OK.
But, if you have difficulty controlling alcohol intake…you may need help. If you catch yourself drinking too much, too often, and spend a great deal of your time drinking or recovering from hangovers…you probably have developed a problem with alcohol use and require medical help.
Feel like you’ve had enough?
Our free helpline is here to assist you!
Call us for help with drinking.
ANYTIME: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Continue reading to learn more about unhealthy alcohol consumption, signs and symptoms of alcohol abuse, and how to recognize a drinking problem in yourself or a loved one. Then, check out our suggestions for treatment and help responses to help you control your drinking or deal with booze abuse. At the end of the page we invite your questions and try to respond personally and promptly to all legitimate inquiries.
What is alcohol abuse?
Alcohol abuse is a pattern of drinking that harms all aspects of your life. It follows a maladaptive pattern of drinking and a number of negative repercussions as a result of alcohol consumption. In drinking amounts alcohol abuse can be represented as:
- Drinking more than 15 standard drinks per week if you’re male.
- Drinking more than 12 drinks per week if you’re female.
- Drinking more than 5 drinks per day at least once a week (binge drinking).
Such pattern of alcohol abuse is called ‘a disease’ because it can destroy:
- Your physical and mental health.
- Your social relationships with family, loved ones, and friends.
- Your educational and professional aspirations.
- Your financial stability.
- Your good legal records.
…and your life as you knew it.
5 common risk factors for alcohol abuse
There are many reasons and factors that can influence one’s likelihood to turn to drinking alcohol in unhealthy ways. Here, we outline some of the most common reasons that can hide behind a person’s alcohol abuse.
REASON #1: Genetics. Experts believe that genetics makes up 50% of the risk for alcohol abuse and addiction. But not all people who drink will become addicted, dependent or even drink regularly. However, the genetic factor is not something to be ignored if you have a family history of alcohol use problems, especially in your closes family circle.
REASON #2: Stressful environments. People may abuse alcohol because they think it is a way to cope with problems, pressures or stress in life. What does a typical alcohol abuse pattern look like? Something like this:
- You need a way to deal with problems or stress in life.
- You drink alcohol!
- Drinking causes other problems in life.
- This in turn creates additional stress and problems…which compel you to drink!
…and the pattern repeats again and again.
REASON #3: Social surroundings. If alcohol is commonly present in your social environment, i.e. your peer group at school or work, your community, or your country…you are more likely to engage in drinking. Additionally, if you were brought up in a household where drinking too much alcohol was present, it is likely that you will also see it as an acceptable activity.
REASON #4: Drinking at an early age. According to the Mayo Clinic, individuals who start drinking at an early age are more likely to have an alcohol problem or a physical dependence on alcohol in the future. There are three (3) main reasons that contribute to this factor:
- One reason for this is that with time drinking can become a comfortable habit.
- Another reason is that at an earlier age your brain is more susceptible to change in structure and in function under the effects of alcohol.
- A third reason is that with frequent alcohol abuse your body’s tolerance levels will increase, so you need to drink more to feel drunk.
REASON #5: Mental health problems. It is not uncommon for a person to turn to alcohol when suffering from anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, or other mental health issues. The effects of alcohol may seem to temporarily ease feelings of anxiety or depression, which in turn can result in abusing alcohol more and more.
NOTE HERE: These are only some of the most common factors that contribute to the development of an unhealthy relationship with alcohol. Personal reasons that compel alcohol abuse are highly individual and may include some or all of the above, as well as other factors (mixing alcohol with illicit or prescription drugs, biological makeup, past traumatic events and experiences, cultural expectations of alcohol consumption, etc.)
Signs and symptoms
Looking to determine whether you have a problem with alcohol abuse or not?
You are not alone!
Many people question their drinking patterns. To get to the bottom of the issue, you will need to pay a close attention to your behavior and get honest with yourself. Here are some of the most common signs and symptoms of alcohol abuse that signify you have developed an unhealthy drinking habit:
- Consuming alcohol and getting drunk to relieve stress.
- Drinking despite awareness of possible health conditions worsening.
- Drinking in critical situations like driving, operating machinery or while on medication.
- Experiencing accidents or injuries after drinking.
- Having interpersonal relationship problems due to alcohol use (separation, bitterness, and loneliness).
- Neglecting duties and responsibilities at work, home, or school due to drinking.
- Repeatedly facing alcohol-related legal problems (like DUI ‘s).
If you find two (2) or more of the statements above to be true for you or someone close to you – it may be time to seek professional help. After all, an alcohol abuse problem can best be diagnosed by professional medical doctor or healthcare provider. They will do a physical exam and ask you questions about your drinking habits to make a professional diagnosis and recommend adequate treatment options based on your individual situation and needs.
Help for alcohol abuse
Wondering “Who can help me for my problem with alcohol abuse?” Take hope! There are plenty of professionals and resources that aim to help any person facing an alcohol abuse problem quit alcohol and rebuild a sober, successful life. Here are some suggestions:
1. Alcohol abuse helpline – Alcohol helplines exist to give you direction and information about where to look for help about your addiction issues. They primarily exist to provide you with basic resources and recovery options. You can call us NOW to speak with trusted treatment consultants who can help you find an alcohol recovery program suited to your individual needs.
2. Alcohol Treatment Centers – Alcohol addiction treatment programs and alcohol detox treatment facilities help people with alcohol problems to regain sobriety and maintain abstinence from alcohol. Treatment programs may take place at an inpatient or outpatient setting, depending on individual needs and preferences, as well as the severity of the alcohol abuse problem.
3. Pharmacists – Some medications can help people with alcohol problems achieve sobriety by making drinking unpleasant, or make alcohol dependence recovery easier. These medicines can be dispensed by a pharmacist with a doctor ‘s prescription. Pharmacists can also help recommend some over-the-counter medication that can help you manage minor alcohol withdrawal symptoms as they occur.
4. Poison Control Center – Call 911 or 1-800-222-222 to get access to immediate medical support and advice if you or a person next to you is suffering from acute alcohol poisoning.
5. Prescribing Physician – Doctors can help people with alcohol problems to achieve sobriety by monitoring the withdrawal phase, prescribing medicines specifically to treat alcohol abuse, and providing referrals to further treatment for alcohol abuse. The doctor may prescribe the following meds:
- Antabuse (disulfiram) which makes drinking an unpleasant experience.
- Revia (naltrexone) to block the pleasurable effects caused by drinking.
- Campral (acamprosate) to block good feelings induced by alcohol.
6. Psychiatrists – Psychiatrists are medical doctors who are trained to help individuals (and their families) with alcohol problems. A psychiatrist may prescribe medicines to help improve alcohol recovery outcomes, address cravings and compulsions to drink, and can explore the roots cause for alcohol abuse.
7. Psychologists – Psychologists are trained to help with alcohol abuse problems. In cases of alcohol abuse, psychologists perform counseling and behavioral therapy to help you identify, avoid and cope with situations that induce drinking.
8. Social Workers – Social workers focus the alcohol abuse treatment on the person and address issues within the family, notably the children. Social workers assess the impact of alcohol abuse within the family unit, help with recovery, and ensuring the wellbeing of the client and the family is taken into consideration within the alcohol rehab program.
9. Addiction Specialists – Some physicians have a certificate to work with people who face alcohol addiction. These are also called Certified Addiction Specialist (CAS). Doctors with CAS certification are highly knowledgeable in the management of addiction disorders, including alcohol abuse.
Got more questions?
We hope to have helped you find answers to many of your questions regarding alcohol abuse. For any additional questions, please CALL the number listed on the top of our page or leave a comment in the designated section below. We do our best to respond personally and promptly to all legitimate inquiries. In fact, we strive to help all who need a hand to make alcohol abuse a thing of their past once and for all.