Worried that you might be drinking too much alcohol? Identifying a drinking problem isn’t always as straightforward as some of us assume. Here are a few questions that can help you to better get to terms with how much you’re drinking – and whether it’s too much.
How many units are you drinking?
The simplest way to know whether you’re drinking too much is to count up the units. It’s recommended that men and women don’t exceed 14 units per week. Research has shown that regularly drinking more than 14 units can dramatically increase the risk of various health problems ranging from heart disease to oral cancer.
How much is 14 units? Roughly, it equates to about 6 pints of average-strength beer or 10 small glasses of low-strength wine. The average bottle of wine contains 10 units.
Many of us occasionally exceed 14 units in a single night (knowing as binge-drinking). This is fine, so long as you’re not binging every week and so long as you’re not continuing to drink throughout the week. Repeated bingeing is likely to cause serious health problems.
If you drink more than 14 units per week it’s worth trying to cut down. This could save your health in the long run.
Are you a responsible drinker?
You could also be drinking too much if alcohol regularly causes you to behave irresponsibly. A few signs that you’re an irresponsible drinker include:
· Regularly causing injury to yourself while under the influence
· Verbally/physically assaulting others while under the influence
· Neglecting important responsibilities such as work or childcare because of alcohol (e.g. sleeping in and arriving late to work, forgetting to pick the kids up from school)
· Overspending money while under the influence
· Breaking the law while under the influence
· Embarrassing yourself or others while under the influence
· Regularly getting into a mess that requires others to look after you for the night
Showing any of these signs could be an indicator that you need to cut down on your drinking. You may find that you only exhibit signs after having a certain amount of alcohol or after having certain drinks. Alternatively, you may find that you react badly to all types of alcohol (even in small amounts) in which cases giving up completely may be the better option.
Acts of irresponsibility don’t have to result in long-term damage. If you’re caught drink driving, there are services such as Leyba defense that can argue your case in court. If you embarrass yourself while drunk, you can slowly build up your reputation again. The important step is to reduce your alcohol intake to avoid such acts again.
Is long-term alcohol abuse catching up with you?
Once you start noticing health problems brought on by long-term alcohol abuse, you know that it’s time to reduce your alcohol consumption. Certain health problems may be hard to recover from – even if there is no recovery, you should start limiting your alcohol to stop the problem getting worse and to prevent other health issues from occurring. This guide at Addiction Campuses lists some of the long-term health problems.
Cutting down on (or indeed giving up) alcohol isn’t easy. Gradually cutting down your intake could be one way of doing it. You can also try non-alcoholic versions of drinks like beer and wine so that you don’t feel like you’re completely giving up these drinks. Setting yourself goals and getting the support of others can help.