Alcohol addiction is a rampant problem across the world. However, you can have problems drinking without developing an addiction. It’s always possible to lose control of how much you drink and experience adverse effects because of it. Overall, learning more about excessive drinking helps you recognize a need for help.
The Dangers of Drinking Too Much
Your liver can only handle so much alcohol at once. Drinking more than it can filter leads to liver cell damage. Too much alcohol can also produce toxic chemicals that damage the pancreas and can cause cancer. Not to mention, the over-consumption of alcohol can cause heart problems, intimacy issues, and further health complications.
What Is a Serving of Alcohol?
One drink or serving is about 0.6 fluid ounces of pure alcohol. An equivalent is 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits at 40 percent alcohol by volume or 80 proof. Others include a 5-ounce glass of wine, 12-ounce beer and 8 to 9 ounces of malt liquor.
However, these equivalents aren’t always accurate, because alcohol content varies among drink types. For example, depending on the recipe, a mixed drink can have one to three servings of alcohol within it.
Levels of Drinking
Generally, moderate drinking is mostly safe. It allows for women to have one drink and men to have up to two drinks a day. However, the moderate limit for seniors aged 65 or older is one drink no matter their gender.
For example, if you have a glass of wine with dinner, your risk for developing drinking problems is lower. However, problem drinking still develops because alcohol impairs balance and judgment even when it’s not in your system.
Overall, heavy drinkers are more likely to develop problems with alcohol. Experts define heavy drinking as when women have more than seven drinks a week or three drinks during a single occasion. For men, these amounts increase to more than 14 drinks a week or four drinks on one occasion.
Binge drinking involves having too many drinks within about two hours. You may not drink for days, but when you have just one, you can’t limit yourself. For example, women binge when they have four or more, and men binge when they have five or more.
Am I a Problem Drinker?
There are other factors that indicate that you have a drinking problem. You may lose sleep, become anxious, or develop depression. Heavy drinking also makes you feel sick, but you can’t stop despite this. You might engage in risky behavior, such as drinking and driving, as well.
In addition, your social life could change because of your problem. Relationship issues, trouble talking to strangers, and erratic behavior commonly affect problem drinkers.
Help for Problems Drinking
Over time, binge and heavy drinking increase your risk of developing alcohol abuse, dependence, and addiction. If you have a drinking problem, 1st Step Behavioral Health can help you prevent addiction development. We offer various programs and services, including:
- Relapse prevention
- Dual diagnosis treatment
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Inpatient program
- Outpatient program
- Holistic therapy