Sick of being sick yet?
How do you know if you are an alcoholic or simply just drinking too much?
There is Healthy Alcohol Use, Alcohol Abuse and an Alcohol Use Disorder.
Men should drink no more than 4 standard drinks in a day and less than 14 in a week.
Women should drink no more than 3 standard drinks per day and less than 7 in a week.
What if you drink more?
If you drink more than the recommended amount you are abusing alcohol. This can lead to problems, either in your health, your employment, family or financially etc. As long as you can recognize these problems and cut back or stop you may be okay.
That annoying hang over on Monday, the irritability on Tuesday, forgetting to pay a bill on Wednesday or putting out the trash on Thursday. Spending too much on Friday and the horrendous hangover on Saturday and repeat on Sunday. If you can recognize these problems and willingly stop or cut back to a healthy amount you may only be abusing alcohol.
But, what if you can’t cut back?
Alcohol Use Disorder
The alcohol has started abusing you. It has caused disorder and despite the problems you can’t seem to stop.
This means you need help.
Let me say it again.
If you can’t STOP drinking or using drugs despite problems, YOU NEED HELP!
A typical story I hear in my line of work is this: “I was drinking a little too much and suddenly something bad happened and I started drinking more.”
This is the warning I have for you today. God forbid, knock on wood, hopefully nothing bad happens. But IF, something was to happen, it is possible that you may associate alcohol with the relief of psychological stress. More drinking to numb your feelings inevitably causes problems
What is a problem exactly?
ANY stress caused by the Alcohol, even the slightest discomfort.
The severity of an addiction is directly correlated to how many problems an addict will tolerate. The irony is that they do not actually tolerate the stress, instead they suppress it via substance use. The more problems that arise due to their substance abuse the more they have to abuse the substance to escape the stress from the problems.
In medicine we define the severity of an addiction with the following criteria. “Yes” to 4-5 questions means you have a Moderate use Disorder.
- Increased tolerance
- Inability to cut down
- Using/drinking more than intended
- Spending a lot of time obtaining, using and recovering
- Giving up social activities to use instead
- Giving up major life responsibilities
- Social/interpersonal conflict due to use
- Using in hazardous situations
- Keep using despite adverse consequences
If you said yes to 6 of these or more you have a Severe Substance Use Disorder.
Remember, if you experience stress from drinking, make sure you can cut back. If you drink because of stress you may already be on your way to developing an Alcohol Use Disorder.
If you think you may need help check out 5 Steps to Beat Your Addiction
Or start by doing some online AA meetings here.
Thank you for reading