Am I Drinking Too Much?
To determine whether you’re drinking too much, you can evaluate your drinking habits and compare them to standard guidelines for what the CDC considers normal and safe.
Determining if you are drinking too much involves self-reflection and an assessment of your alcohol consumption patterns.
If you are concerned about your alcohol consumption or are uncertain if you’re drinking too much, it’s helpful to seek guidance from a healthcare professional.
Moderate Drinking According To The CDC
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is fairly safe for adults of legal drinking age to engage in moderate drinking.
Moderate drinking is defined as two drinks or fewer per day for men and one drink or fewer per day for women.
Opting for lower alcohol intake is considered more beneficial for health than consuming larger quantities. A standard drink is equal to 14 grams (0.6 ounces) of pure alcohol.
One standard drink can equate to:
- 12 ounces of beer
- 8 ounces of malt liquor
- 5 ounces of wine
- 1.5 ounces or one “shot” of distilled spirits or liquor
If you go above these numbers on a regular basis without wanting or meaning to, it could indicate a problem.
Assessing Your Own Drinking Patterns
Assessing your own drinking patterns can help you better understand your relationship with alcohol. To do this, you can start by looking at things like your drinking frequency and quantity.
Pay attention to how often you consume alcoholic beverages. Assess the regularity of your drinking, including the number of days per week or month.
Evaluate the amount of alcohol you typically consume on a single occasion and compare these numbers to CDC guidelines.
Be mindful of standard drink sizes when calculating the total number of drinks.
Reflect on instances of binge drinking, which involves consuming a large amount of alcohol in a short period. Identify if this is a recurring pattern.
Reasons For Drinking
Consider the reasons behind your drinking. Are you drinking for social reasons, for relaxation, or to cope with stress? Similarly, do you only drink with others, or do you often drink alone?
Understanding your motives can help you evaluate whether there is a problem.
Attempts To Cut Down
Look at whether you’ve attempted to cut down on your drinking and if you’ve been successful. Difficulty reducing alcohol intake may indicate a drinking problem.
Are There Negative Consequences To Your Drinking?
You can evaluate whether your drinking leads to negative consequences to assess the impact of alcohol on your life.
According to studies, excessive drinking has been linked to short-term and long-term medical conditions including liver disease, heart disease, and high blood pressure.
If you are experiencing physical health problems or believe you’re suffering a decrease in overall wellness due to alcohol, it could indicate a drinking problem.
Effects On Daily Life
Assess whether your drinking habits impact your daily life, responsibilities, or relationships. Note any disruptions or changes caused by alcohol consumption.
Evaluate how your drinking habits affect communication within your relationships. You can pay attention to whether your interactions have become strained.
Similarly, observe whether your social dynamics have changed due to your drinking. Consider changes in social circles, invitations, or the inclusion of friends in various aspects of your life.
Finally, note how your alcohol intake may be affecting your children, partner(s), or other family members. Look for signs of tension, disruption, or emotional strain within your family.
Consider whether your alcohol intake is leading to changes in your mood, decision-making, or overall conduct. Reflect on instances where alcohol may contribute to heightened impulsivity.
Evaluate alcohol’s influence on your social interactions, taking note of any signs of increased aggression, irritability, or withdrawal.
Additionally, consider the alignment of your behavior with personal values and goals, and whether excessive alcohol use has compromised your ability to make sound judgments.
Trouble At Work Or School
When evaluating whether your drinking has impacted your professional or academic life, you can start by noting specific ways alcohol may be influencing your goals.
Consider instances of absenteeism, decreased productivity, or impaired performance due to alcohol-related issues.
Furthermore, note the impact of alcohol on your ability to concentrate and maintain focus. Evaluate whether drinking has led to difficulties in sustaining attention during work tasks.
Pay attention to feedback from colleagues, supervisors, or classmates. Consider whether anyone has raised concerns about your performance, behavior, or reliability.
Reflect on any legal consequences associated with your drinking, such as DUI charges or legal issues arising from alcohol-related incidents.
If you’re able to observe negative consequences on your life due to alcohol, especially if they fall into more than one of these categories, it may be time to make changes.
Screening Tools For Alcohol Abuse
Screening tools for alcohol abuse are designed to help individuals, healthcare professionals, and researchers identify potential issues related to alcohol consumption.
These tools are often used to assess the severity of alcohol use and determine if further intervention is necessary.
Some commonly used screening tools include:
- AUDIT (Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test)
- CAGE questionnaire
- MAST (Michigan Alcohol Screening Test)
- DAST (Drug Abuse Screening Test)
- ASSIST (Alcohol, Smoking and Substance Involvement Screening Test)
- RAFFT questions
- TWEAK questions
It’s important to note that while screening tools can provide valuable information, a positive result does not necessarily indicate a diagnosis of alcohol use disorder.
Instead, it suggests the need for further assessment and, if necessary, intervention or treatment.
Healthcare professionals typically use these tools as part of a comprehensive evaluation process, but their expertise also plays a role.
Individuals concerned about their alcohol use are encouraged to seek guidance from healthcare providers or substance abuse professionals.
Getting Help With Problem Drinking
Seeking help for problem drinking is an important step towards addressing and managing alcohol-related issues.
If you believe you have a drinking problem, start with self-moderation. Decide how many drinks you would like to consume in a given day or week and use a journal to record your consumption.
If you’re able, you can involve loved ones to help you address underlying issues contributing to problem drinking, and set realistic goals for reducing or abstaining from alcohol.
If you find yourself unable to stick to your limits, or you frequently engage in binge drinking when you wish you could stop, it may be time to seek professional help.
Professional addiction specialists will work with you to create a personalized treatment plan that may include therapy, support groups, and lifestyle changes.
Ask About Your Treatment Options At Spring Hill
If you’ve been experiencing alcohol use disorder, there are many treatment options available. Contact our specialists at Spring Hill to learn more today.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/faqs.htm#:~:text=According%20to%20the%20Dietary%20Guidelines,for%20health%20than%20drinking%20more
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/moderate-drinking.htm
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/resources/publications/factsheets/alcohol.htm
- National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/overview-alcohol-consumption/moderate-binge-drinking
- National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) https://nida.nih.gov/nidamed-medical-health-professionals/screening-tools-resources/chart-screening-tools