How much alcohol is too much? People are so used to the “happy hour” or “thank God it’s Friday” scene that they binge on alcohol thinking there is nothing wrong with it. Yes, alcohol for those who are of legal age is an allowed beverage. It can temporarily make you escape reality with its soothing and intoxicating effect. This is perhaps the reason why some people get addicted to it without knowing what hit them. Howards C. Samuels, Psy.D. shares, “I’ve encountered, time and again, hapless souls whose journey into addiction began with the client being completely aware that something was terribly wrong with them, yet not knowing how to deal with it or—even worse—not having the resources to deal with it.” He added, “For them, drugs and/or alcohol are little more than a coping mechanism that oftentimes quickly blossoms into newer and harsher problems that become the cure that almost kills them.”
Are you just a social drinker, a heavy consumer of alcohol on occasions, or developing alcohol use disorder? Is your way of drinking considered the “moderate” way? Here is a way to measure that.
If you’re a man, one moderate drink enough for a day is equal to two servings of:
- 5 ounces of hard liquor like rum, whiskey, tequila, vodka, and others
- 5 ounces of wine
- 12 ounces of beer
If you’re a woman, you can only have 1.5 ounces of hard drink per day, 5 ounces of wine each day, and 12 ounces of beer in a 24-hour time span. This is universally considered moderate daily drinking.
One must also assess the way he or she drinks on a weekly basis. Do you drink almost every day? If for women, they drink more than seven servings a week, then that is considered “at-risk” drinking. Three servings of drinks in a day is also regarded as heavy. Men, on the other hand, have twice the limit on women. If they drink more than 14 drinks a week or more than four drinks in a day, then that is excessive.
When Does It Become Alcohol Use Disorder?
Alcohol Use Disorder is a medical and mental health condition. “Alcoholism, also called AUD (alcohol use disorder) is a debilitating disorder that results in a wide range of mental and physiological health problems. On average, alcoholism reduces the life expectancy by 10 years,” Sebastian Ocklenburg, Ph.D. reveals. In the United States, at least 16 million people are suffering from this disorder, adolescents and adults alike. You may also be at risk of alcohol use disorder if your parents have it since there is a slight chance that it will be passed down. The environment you live in and work in, as well as your psychological settings, can also create an impact on the issue.
Signs And Symptoms Of Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)
- You have this overpowering desire to drink alcohol.
- You have no control over how much alcohol you drink.
- You think of negative thoughts when you’re not intoxicated.
- You drink even when the situation is dangerous or risky.
- Your drinking habit becomes a hindrance to your daily obligations and duties.
- You continue to drink alcohol even if it interferes with your life, in general.
- You stop doing things that you regularly do just because of your drinking habit.
It is possible for people to have mild AUD or moderate to severe, as well. It will depend upon the symptoms present on the person and its intensity. Those with severe AUD are sure to display almost all of the signs mentioned above.
You Have AUD If Two Or More Of These Signs Are Present (Regular Basis)
- The only way for you to relax or fall asleep at night is when you’ve had a drink.
- You have to drink one shot of alcohol when you wake up in the morning to power you up.
- Drinking will make you a friendly person.
- Alcohol consumption is your escape from reality.
- You drink and drive.
- You drink your meds and your dose of alcohol altogether.
- Even if you’re pregnant or tending a small child, you still drink alcohol to the point of intoxication.
- If your significant other, family, or friends ask you how much alcohol you’ve consumed, you lie.
- You become violent and physical if you’re drunk.
- It’s difficult for you to remember what happened or what you did after a drunken episode.
- You no longer fulfill your responsibilities on a day to day affair because of your constant drinking.
- Your drinking has brought your legal troubles.
- You attempted to end your drinking habit, but it wasn’t a success.
- You always think of drinking.
- You drink more and more alcohol to feel its numbing and “feel good dizzying” effects.
- You experience withdrawal signs when you haven’t drunk alcohol for a period.
How To Get Help
Alcohol use disorder is a severe mental health issue. It can also cause a multitude of physical and psychological problems not just on you, but also your loved ones. Your relationships will be damaged. Your work will be compromised, and you will slowly deteriorate. “Chronic alcohol abuse can lead to a number of health conditions, including cirrhosis of the liver, heart and circulatory problems, and premature death,” explains Cynthia Turner, LCSW, LSATP, MAC. “Long-term alcohol abuse can also cause mental health problems and brain damage.” The only way for you to bounce back is to get help.
You need to undergo an Alcohol Use Disorder intervention program which is comprised of alcohol use rehabilitation, counseling, and for some, medication. Speak to your physician about this program at the soonest time possible.