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Is My Drinking a Problem?

People who drink alcohol may wonder how much is acceptable and when drinking turns into a problem. The Alcohol Screening organization suggests guidelines that include the following criteria:

  • Alcoholic beverages are harmful when consumed in excess
  • Some people (teens and pregnant women, for example) should not drink at all
  • Excess alcohol alters judgment and can lead to dependency
  • Excess alcohol can lead to many serious health problems
  • Moderate drinking is defined as one drink per day for women or two drinks per day for men
  • Excess alcohol can raise the risk for motor vehicle crashes, other injuries, high blood pressure, stroke, violence, suicide and certain types of cancer

Using these guidelines, a person can determine whether his drinking is acceptable or problematic.

Why People Drink

When determining whether your drinking is a problem or not, you want to consider why you drink. The most common reasons people drink include the following:

  • Effects of alcohol – alcohol affects the central nervous system and can result in feelings of euphoria, disorientation or a pleasurable release of tension
  • Curiosity
  • Social environment – alcohol is mainstream in the United States and is commonly served in most social situations
  • Environmental factors – if alcohol is regularly consumed in a child’s home, she is more likely to view drinking as an acceptable behavior
  • Defiance – most often associated with teens, some youth drink to defy their parents or other social constraints
  • Stress relief
  • Change a feeling – people who are anxious, depressed, inhibited or withdrawn may use alcohol to temporarily change their emotional state

If you drink for any of these reasons, consider achieving these results without alcohol. If you are unsuccessful, it may indicate that your drinking is a problem.

Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

Another reason that it is difficult to quit drinking is that, when you go long enough without a drink, any of the following withdrawal symptoms may occur:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Insomnia
  • Excitability or irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Cold or clammy skin
  • Nervousness
  • Depression
  • Headaches
  • Inability to focus or think clearly
  • Anxiety

These issues are difficult on their own, but in conjunction with each other can cripple someone trying to get sober.

How To Quit Drinking

To access your reasons for drinking and to manage your consumption of alcohol, you can take action in the following ways:

  • Write your reasons for cutting down or stopping, such as to improve your health or sleep better
  • Set a drinking goal that keeps you within the moderate range of one drink per day for women or two drinks per day for men
  • Track your drinking and include when, why and how much you drink, as well as any other factors about that drinking experience that can reveal your state

By keeping track for as little as one month, you will better understand your relationship with alcohol.

Help for Alcohol Abuse

If you abuse alcohol, you are moments away from becoming an addict. You then relinquish the control of your life to alcohol, which can take over your life incredibly quickly. If you struggle with alcohol or know someone who does, don’t wait to act. Call our toll-free helpline today; we are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you might have about alcohol addiction treatment. We are here to help.