A glass of your favourite alcoholic beverage is enjoyable, and many experts would tell you that it even has some health benefits. But drinking too much on any occasion or too frequently is neither healthy nor enjoyable. Alcoholism or alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a type of addiction where a person cannot control his or her alcohol consumption and is dependent on it both physically and emotionally.
AUD is a serious chronic disease and can lead to several health issues. According to a study in Alcohol Research Current Reviews in 2011, alcohol abuse is an underlying cause for more than 30 conditions - including cancer, infectious diseases, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and liver disease - and a contributing factor to many more. It should, therefore, be taken very seriously, and you should do all you can to stop its progress as soon as possible.
But how can one tell that they’re drinking too much? As per the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), moderate drinking refers to one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men. Drinking beyond this limit indicates drinking too much. You can use the following parameters as well to evaluate your drinking habits and ascertain if what you’re doing is having a good time or alcohol abuse.
1. Most of your plans involve drinking
There’s a difference between being a social drinker and a habitual one, and it lies within this factor. If consuming alcohol is a central part of most of the plans you make, or if you think that social gatherings are fun only when you have a peg or two at hand, you may have a problem and be using your social life to justify your drinking habit.
2. You drink whenever you’re stressed
Stress and anxiety are regular parts of life, and most people are able to cope with both through means other than alcohol. If you reach for a bottle whenever you’re stressed and use it as a crutch for your emotions, you might be addicted. Instead of unsuccessfully looking for answers at the bottom of a bottle, you should communicate with a loved one or a mental health professional about this.
3. You can’t stick to limits
Those dependent on alcohol have no trouble setting limits on their alcohol consumption while they’re sober. But the trouble lies with sticking to those limits after being two or so drinks down. Alcoholics set limits, but are rarely able to stick to them, and if you share this trait then it may be cause for concern.
4. Your loved ones comment on it
It’s usually the ones closest to you who can tell if something’s wrong even when you can’t see the problem yourself. If you’re finding your family or friends commenting frequently about how much or often you’re drinking, how bad the hangovers and withdrawal periods are, or how you behave when you’re under the influence then you should take a good look at your habits.
5. Your doctor says it’s too much
Alcohol abuse leads to many health issues, and if you go to a doctor about any of them you will be asked about your drinking habits among other things. If you’re honest with the doctor - and you should be, because your doctor wants the best possible health outcome for you - and he or she says you’re drinking too much, pay attention. This is a health professional who has probably seen all sorts of effects that alcohol abuse has on patients, so listen to them and cut down on the booze.
6. You have withdrawal symptoms
A mild hangover is natural after an overindulgence, but if you find yourself with frequent hangovers and other symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, you should know that things are not as fine as you thought they were. Signs of alcohol withdrawal include trouble sleeping, shakiness, restlessness, nausea, sweating, high heart rate and seizures.For more information, read our article on Alcoholism: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment. Health articles on News18 are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health.
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