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Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Are Your Drinking Too Much Alcohol?

Do you know if you’re drinking too much alcohol? Surprisingly, most people are shocked when they start to count up how much alcohol they have consumed over a month. It’s not about the number of beverages you drink, but how they are measured in terms of alcohol content. Here in the US, alcoholic drinks are measured by the volume of alcohol present, so a regular beer will have a 5% alcohol content, while lighter beers will have around 4.2%. The ‘standard’ drink in the US is considered to be around 14 grams of pure and undiluted alcohol. You’ll find 14 grams of alcohol in:

  • 12 ounces of a regular beer brand equals, on average, 5% alcohol
  • A glass of wine (around five ounces of liquid) averages at 12% of alcohol
  • Distilled spirits are most commonly served in 1.5-ounce measures, and that means around 40% alcohol

This disparity in alcohol volume means that it can be difficult to estimate your alcohol consumption. However, due to the health and lifestyle risks that too much alcohol can cause, it’s vital that you have a clear awareness of how much you are consuming on a regular basis.

Consequences of Too Much Alcohol
Some people think that they are better able to handle their booze, and that can make it very difficult to get a real evaluation of their alcohol consumption. However, even small but regular amounts of alcohol can have a negative effect on your health, so it’s important to be aware of your alcohol intake at all times. Binge drinking or regular, excessive drinking can have a variety of consequences, including:

Although this is a brief example of the health risks, there are many more that can occur after drinking too much. It’s also worth being aware of the social issues that may result from excessive drinking as well. These can include:

If you are asking yourself whether you are drinking too much, then there’s a very good chance that you are.

Problem Drinking
This is the definition of drinking, whereby the drinker will require professional help in order to reduce their drinking or stop altogether. While drinking is often seen as a social, fun activity, the fact is that the social factor of alcohol means it can be hard to identify whether you have a problem or not. It’s vital that you are honest with yourself about the amount that you drink. It is often useful to keep a record of how much you are drinking. If you experience blackouts (never a good sign), then try and keep a record of how much money you are spending on booze. The answer might surprise (and horrify) you.

Common Signs of Over Drinking
Some people will drink alcohol throughout their lives, with little to no negative effects. This can be hard to manage, so it’s important that you are aware of the danger signs that might indicate that you are taking your drinking too far. Be very aware of the following, and if you recognize your own behavior, then it might be time to reflect on your drinking habits.

Loss of Control
If you are unable to socialize or even get through the day without a drink, then this is a major warning sign. This is especially true if you have made the decision to cut alcohol out of your life completely but have been unable to do so. Problem drinkers often promise to stay sober after especially heavy nights, or when their actions have unintended and negative consequences. Those problem drinkers will then find it very difficult to keep that promise. This is not necessarily a moral weakness. Alcohol is a drug, and that means that you can develop addiction and dependence. Alcohol is the most popular and commonly used addictive drug in the US, so it’s important that you seek help if you have tried to reduce your consumption but have been unable to stop yourself.

High Tolerance
Alcohol is a drink that your body can get very used to. You build up a tolerance, and that means that you start needing more and more drinks in order to get the same effects. Building up tolerance should be a big warning sign that you are overdoing your drinking. If you realize that it is starting to take you more drinks to start feeling the alcohol that you consume, then this can be a sign that you are drinking too much too regularly. That’s why a diary is often a good idea. It doesn’t matter if you have a few nightcaps at the end of every day but don’t feel the effects. That’s not a positive, and should be included in your diary notes. As you build up a tolerance, your consumption will start to increase, and only by keeping a diary will you be able to identify when this is happening.

Accidents and Blackouts
Alcohol amnesia (or blackouts as they are most commonly known) are most often suffered by alcoholics. They can be very traumatizing, and can all too easily lead to accidents. Drink driving is a very common occurrence for blackout drunks, and it can affect your life in a huge variety of negative ways. Even if you managed to avoid the serious effects of a car accident while driving when intoxicated, if someone is injured or killed due to your drinking and driving then you can still face financial consequences if someone sues you. You can read more here about suing someone for wrongful death while driving drunk. If you want to avoid this happening to you, then it’s essential that you address your alcohol amnesia, and make real efforts to limit your total drinking amount.

Pre-Party Intoxication
It’s not uncommon nowadays to have a few drinks before hitting the bars, clubs, and parties. While ‘pre-gaming’ can save you a lot of money, it is still dangerous and a possible sign that you may have a problem. If you feel the need to down as many drinks as possible just to get drunk enough to socialize, then you are most likely using alcohol as a crutch, and that’s a big red flag. This is even truer if you are making use of pre-party drinks by yourself. Drinking on your own is also a red flag in terms of your alcohol consumption, and if you’re taking it so far as to be consciously hiding how much you drink from those around you, then it’s time to start looking at your drinking habits and taking them seriously.

If you think that you may have a problem with alcohol, then it’s important that you speak to your doctor. They can advise you on the best steps to take, and can help identify the obvious issues. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that alcohol dependence is a weakness. It’s a very real affliction suffered by millions, but with the right treatment and help, you can recover. Don’t try and do it alone and don't suffer in silence.


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