Drinking Too Much Alcohol

Signs of Drinking Too Much Alcohol

Many adults consider themselves social or casual drinkers. However, what starts as drinks after work or going out on the weekends with friends can eventually escalate into an alcohol use disorder and alcohol dependency.

Recognizing when casual drinking turns into heavy drinking is important for maintaining a healthy, balanced lifestyle. If you’re wondering if your drinking has crossed the line, here are some of the most important signs that you’re drinking too much

Casual Drinking Vs Heavy Drinking

Casual drinkers or social drinkers might go out for a drink with friends once a week. They limit their intake to one or two drinks. They might have a glass of wine with dinner occasionally, or they might have a beer on a warm day after mowing the lawn. For them, alcohol is an occasional indulgence, and they drink responsibly—meaning they limit their intake so that they don’t become intoxicated. 

If you’re consuming alcohol more frequently and at a level where you often become intoxicated, regretting your decisions the next morning, this could be considered problem drinking. Alcohol may be part of a lifestyle with problem drinkers, and they may notice effects on their health and responsibilities. Still, at this point, alcohol can be given up independently, without withdrawal or needing treatment. 

Engaging in heavy drinking on a regular basis, especially when it’s daily, is a sign that there’s a drinking problem. Heavy drinkers are at a high risk of becoming alcohol dependent, and having that dependency affects their health, family, work, and social life. 

How Much Alcohol Is Safe

If you’re someone who drinks only occasionally and is curious about whether your alcohol consumption aligns with health guidelines, it’s important to consider the current recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Here’s what they advise:

Moderate drinking is described as one drink or less per day for women, and two drinks or less per day for men. Examples of a single drink include

  • 12 ounces of beer at 5% alcohol content – adjust the amount according to the alcohol content if higher
  • 5 ounces of wine with a 12% alcohol content
  • 8 ounces of malt liquor at 7% alcohol content
  • 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor – whiskey, rum, gin, vodka, etc.

10 Signs You Are Drinking Too Much Alcohol

When you’re wondering how to tell if you drink too much, the advice that’s offered can be confusing and contradictory. Each person is different, as is their tolerance and relationship with alcohol. 

One person may be able to safely have a drink or two a day without venturing into problem drinking territory. At the same time, someone else may not be able to be in the same room that alcohol is being consumed in due to their personal history with alcohol, including a family history of alcoholism

These signs of heavy drinking may indicate a drinking problem, but it’s best to discuss your situation with an alcohol addiction treatment professional if you think you’re drinking too much. 

  1. You’ve begun self-medicating with alcohol – you’re finding a drink in your hand whenever you’re stressed, tired, worried, or dealing with uncomfortable feelings and situations. 
  2. You regularly exceed the recommended limits for alcohol use – You’re exceeding one standard drink per day for women and two standard drinks per day for men. Keep quantity in mind. A twelve-ounce glass of wine is technically more than two drinks. 
  3. You’ve become dishonest or secretive about your drinking – You hide your drinking from others because you don’t want to deal with their questions or accusations about alcohol intake.
  4. You find yourself frequently drinking alone – Some people enjoy relaxing with a cocktail or glass of wine by themselves occasionally but consuming multiple drinks alone on a regular basis is a sign of a problem.
  5. Those closest to you have begun to express concerns – family, friends or loved ones have mentioned your alcohol use either causally or directly, expressing concern.
  6. You frequently drink to the point of intoxication or blacking out – you’re drinking to the point of intoxication and beyond. This is dangerous behavior and a strong signal that you need help. 
  7. Your work, home life, and relationships are being affected by alcohol use – you might not have the energy, mental function, or desire to contribute to relationships and daily responsibilities, preferring to drink instead. 
  8. You’ve tried reducing alcohol intake but keep relapsing – previous attempts at giving up alcohol have resulted in a return to drinking, often escalating beyond what you were previously consuming.
  9. Your daily and social activities begin to revolve around drinking – you begin to plan your day around when you’ll be able to drink. You may skip certain functions or activities if they interfere with your drinking habits. 
  10. You’re drinking more but feeling the effects less – this is called tolerance and is common with regular heavy drinking. 

Seeking Help for Alcohol Dependency 

Alcohol dependency is an addiction illness that can sneak up unexpectedly. What starts as social drinking can transition into alcoholism, and affect every area of your life. If you’re wondering if you’re drinking too much, the Massachusetts Center for Addiction is here to help, whether you have questions, just need to talk, or are ready to get help for alcohol dependency. 

Contact the Massachusetts Center today at 1-844-486-0671. Someone is here to answer your call twenty-four hours a day. 

MCA Staff
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