Realizing you may have problems with alcohol can be very tricky. Since drinking is such a socially acceptable activity, recognizing when you’re drinking too much or too often can be near impossible. This is one of the reasons why alcohol use disorder and people struggling with alcohol consumption so often go unnoticed. If you’re worried, you might be developing an alcohol issue. Understanding what a healthy relationship with alcohol really looks like can help you get a better idea of whether you need help.
Number of Drinks
The recommended moderate number of drinks per day is two or fewer for men and one for women. This translates to 14 drinks or fewer per week for men and seven or fewer per week for women. Drinking more than this recommended limit doesn’t necessarily indicate alcohol addiction, but, when accompanied by other signs of alcohol abuse, it could mean that something is wrong.
Every drink wasn’t created equally, and some alcoholic drinks contain more alcohol than others. When trying to gauge the amount of alcohol that counts as moderate consumption, a standard drink is either:
- 12 fluid ounces of beer (up to 5% alcohol)
- Five fluid ounces of wine (up to 12% alcohol)
- 5 fluid ounces of distilled spirits (up to 40% alcohol)
With this general standard, you should be able to calculate the number of drinks and amount of alcohol you consume in a week.
How Often You Drink
Consuming alcohol is a hallmark of the American working and party culture, but how many drinks are too much? Understanding your drinking habits and comparing them to the recommended rule can help you notice if your consumption is getting out of hand.
According to the general rule of the number of drinks acceptable per day, a man should consume 14 or fewer drinks per week, and a woman seven or fewer. This typically shouldn’t all be taken on the same day but spread out over several days of the week. Having a drink or two every day after work, for example, could quickly get you up to your weekly limit.
One of the first signs of alcohol abuse and alcoholism is building a tolerance to alcohol, where you need to drink more and more to get the same feeling of drunkenness or tipsiness you used to get from fewer drinks before. If you notice you are building a tolerance to alcohol, you may want to address your consumption early on and avoid drinking more to get the same effect.
Hiding Alcohol Use
Showing reclusive behavior and hiding how much you drink to avoid criticism could indicate that you are developing a bad relationship with alcohol. Drinking at home, lying about how much you’ve had to drink, and other secretive behaviors when it comes to drinking rarely indicate a healthy relationship with alcohol.
When to Get Help
Alcohol abuse isn’t always obvious. It’s easy to hide behind the excuse of having a good time or just “living a little,” but if you’ve developed a tolerance for alcohol, started hiding your alcohol use, had alcohol affect your mental health, or don’t fit into the general description of having a healthy relationship with alcohol, you may have an addiction.
Once you develop an alcohol dependence, where you can’t seem to function normally without drinking alcohol regularly, you may also start experiencing withdrawal symptoms whenever you become sober. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms include:
At this point, you should get professional help. If you or a loved one needs help with alcohol abuse or addiction, our experienced team at Adelante Recovery Center can help you understand the treatment process, what services are available to you, and how they can help you become sober. For more information, contact our team at (949) 427-9099 today.