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do i have a drinking problem

Do I Have A Drinking Problem?

It’s your 21st birthday in the United States. You want to do what many people do at the appropriate age. You want to take a drink for the first time in your life, knowing that drinking is legal and you can do it whenever you like.  At this moment, do you have a drinking problem? 

The answer is no. If you do not develop a drinking habit and do not develop an addiction or dependency on liquor, then today was just another day when alcohol crossed your mind but didn’t cross your lips. 

Heavy drinking can be classified by:

  • For men, consuming more than 4 drinks on any day or more than 14 drinks per week
  • For women, consuming more than 3 drinks on any day or more than 7 drinks per week
  • SAMHSA defines heavy alcohol use as binge drinking on 5 or more days in the past month.

What’s the Difference between Alcoholism, Alcohol Dependence, and Binge Drinking?

People do not go around asking others “Do they have a drinking problem?” It’s usually because somehow, somewhere, someone has said something which implies that drinking too much can be an addiction. But what does it mean to say you are addicted to alcohol or dependent on alcohol?

The general understanding is that alcoholism is an urge to drink so strong that it becomes uncontrollable. If there are people who do not understand the magnitude of drinking problems, then it would seem as if not having a drinking problem is an impossibility. 

However, knowing the difference between just being drunk once in a while and being an alcoholic or having a dependency on liquor makes all the difference in developing strategies for handling your life soberly.

Binge drinking involves drinking large amounts of alcohol in a very short time. Alcohol, in the beverage form, has four to five percent alcohol content. However, when liquor is mixed with other ingredients in cocktails, some drinks have up to 40% alcohol content. That means one bottle of beer or serving of wine can already contain an entire day’s worth of alcoholic drink in one sitting!

Health experts warn that binge drinking poses several health risks to people who do it often for years because this may lead to high blood pressure, heart diseases, and even cancer. There are several convenient websites today that provide online quizzes for drinkers who want to know if they have an addiction problem or not. The quiz feature lets people answer various questions about their drinking habits anonymously so no one will judge them.

Alcohol Abuse Trends in the US

Alcohol abuse trends in the US have witnessed an uptrend in recent years. Most American adults consume alcohol at least once in their lifetime. Among them, 6.7% will develop Alcohol Use Disorder. Alcohol causes 10% of deaths among 15- to 49-year-olds. Worldwide, up to 3.3 million people die every year as a result of alcohol abuse.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has determined excessive alcohol use is responsible for 7.1% of disease among males and 2.2% among females. As a result, 261 Americans die as a result of excessive alcohol use every day.

There are many reasons why alcohol consumption is on the rise, but the simplest reason is that drinking is socially acceptable. Alcohol consumption has become a way of life in social gatherings and certain cultural events. 

It is not uncommon for business meetings to be followed by dinner at an upscale lounge with unlimited drinks or cocktails being served throughout the night. Some bars have happy hours where alcoholic beverages are sold at discounted rates during peak hours.

What Are the Risks Associated with Alcohol Abuse?

The risks associated with alcohol abuse do not have to do with how much alcohol a person is drinking, but rather if they are having negative impacts from drinking. If you do not drink very often, it may be difficult for friends or family members to determine whether or not you have a drinking problem because your behavior does not seem out of the ordinary when compared with the way that other people behave while they are intoxicated. 

Research has shown that people who misuse alcohol have a greater risk of:

  • Liver disease
  • Heart disease
  • Depression
  • Stroke
  • Stomach bleeding
  • Cancers of the oral cavity, esophagus, larynx, pharynx, liver, colon, and rectum

These individuals may also have problems managing conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, pain, and sleep disorders. 

What Are Alcohol Withdrawals?

Alcohol withdrawals are one of the leading causes of death in hospitalized alcoholics. Alcohol withdrawals can include:

  • Sweating tremors light and noise sensitivity
  • Nausea
  • Delirium Tremens
  • Seizure
  • Coma
  • Irritability
  • Headaches
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Abdominal Cramps
  • Diarrhea

How Do I Know If the Withdrawals are Bad Enough to Require Hospitalization?

In general, if you have been drinking heavily for several days and begin experiencing seizures or DTs, you should be admitted to the hospital for alcohol withdrawal treatment.  If your symptoms do not become severe or dangerous, you may choose to manage them at home with medications and a treatment plan designed specifically for alcohol withdrawal.  

However, you must consult a doctor before going against medical advice in this way. The most important thing to do when you experience alcohol withdrawal symptoms is sought immediate medical help. This will usually involve the use of medications such as benzodiazepines and thiamine (vitamin B). 

Many different factors go into determining if you do have a drinking problem. It usually isn’t hard to tell if your consumption of alcohol is starting to become an issue, although there are some cases where people do not see it or think anything of it.  

Problems with alcoholism typically manifest themselves slowly over time and do not just happen overnight, although sometimes they do escalate very quickly.  Not knowing whether or not you do have a drinking problem is the first thing that needs to be addressed before any other steps can be taken.  

Am I An Alcoholic Test?

  • “How many times a month do you drink alcohol?”
  • “How many drinks in a sitting do you consume?”
  • “Do you often have more than 6 drinks in one setting?”
  • “Do you find yourself recovering from alcohol use often?
  • “Have you for a while wanted to cut back on alcohol?”
  • “Do you have persistent cravings for alcohol?
  • “Has alcohol use prevented you from maintaining your responsibilities, such as school, work, family, etc?”

Discover Treatment at Little Creek Recovery

Little Creek Recovery is on a mission to provide you with the tools necessary to relieve yourself of substance abuse. We understand the obstacles ahead for you to maintain sobriety but that does not mean there isn’t hope. If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction to alcohol or other substances, contact us today.

References:

https://drugabusestatistics.org/alcohol-abuse-statistics/

https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/brochures-and-fact-sheets/alcohol-facts-and-statistics


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