The Difference Between
Casual Drinking and Alcoholism

Let’s say you don’t have the typical risk factors or habits of an alcoholic. You have a home, a family, a good job, you are honest, you don’t steal, and you have never had a DUI – this must mean you are not an alcoholic, right? You are not alone in this belief. Many people who are addicted to alcohol don’t realize it. Look for differences between causal drinking and alcoholism.

Bottles and glasses of assorted alcoholic beverages

 

Signs of Alcoholism

Sometimes being an alcoholic isn’t as cut and dry as you would think. In general, we all enjoy having a drink or two with friends. We all know that having one or two glasses of your favorite alcoholic beverage with dinner or over the weekend is, for the most part, harmless. But do you ever find yourself drinking more and more, even after your friends have gone? Have you ever wondered if your casual alcohol drinking has turned into an alcohol addiction? Do you know the signs of alcoholism? Have those few beers and glasses of wine on the weekend turned into a couple or more drinks every day? Maybe you are even having more than a couple every day?

You may not be homeless or at risk for homelessness, but do you find yourself couchsurfing, facing eviction from your place of residence, or escaping violence in your home? There are many questions you can ask yourself to find out if you or a loved one is addicted to alcohol. Once diagnosed, it is strongly advised that one moves forward with alcohol addiction treatment.

Alcohol is one of the biggest risk factors for death, ill-health, and disability for people between 16 and 50. Millions of people nation-wide turn to alcohol to escape reality, but how do you know if you are actually addicted to alcohol or not?

 

Do I Have an Alcohol Problem?

Do you find yourself avoiding your family and close friends when you are drinking? Do you find yourself having a drink when you have had had an argument with someone or you are unhappy or disappointed? Can your body can handle more alcohol now than several years ago?

Teenager drinking beer

 

Signs of Alcohol Abuse – You May Be Surprised

Do you consider yourself a light, moderate or heavy drinker? There are many definitions to help you understand if you have a drinking problem. Bear in mind that a standard drink is not that large glass you may enjoy. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that a standard drink is 12 ounces of beer, five ounces of wine and one and one-half ounces of 80-proof spirits which includes gin, vodka, scotch, etc.

Moderate Drinker – According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism (NIAAA), moderate drinking is up to four alcoholic drinks for men and three for women in any given day, with a maximum of 14 drinks for men and seven drinks for women per week.

Binge Drinking – In 2015, nearly 27 percent of people in the United States reported binge drinking in the past month. If you find yourself in a pattern where you are bringing your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 grams percent or above, then you may be considered a binge drinker. This typically happens when men consume five or more drinks and women consume four or more drinks in two hours. The intention may or may not be to become intoxicated, but, nonetheless, it is recognized as a pattern of heavy alcohol consumption.

Heavy Drinking – The number of drinks that the CDC considers abuse during the course of a week may surprise you. The CDC considers men as heavy drinkers if men have 14 or more drinks a week. For women it is much less – the CDC states that eight or more drinks would be considered heavy drinking.

Unfortunately for women, they begin having alcohol-related problems at lower levels of alcohol consumption than males. This is because women have less water in their bodies, women generally weigh less than men, women have lower levels of alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) than men, and women have hormonal factors that play a role in blood alcohol concentrations, particularly around menstruation. Also, a woman’s body absorbs 30 percent more alcohol than a man’s after drinking the same amount.

 

What Are The Warning Signs of an Alcoholism?

Here are the 10 warning signs that might help you determine if you are an alcoholic:

  • Find yourself wanting alcohol most days and could even be considered a craving.
  • Not able to stop at one or two drinks and find yourself having several drinks several times a week.
  • Over time you find yourself drinking alone more often. You do not want to admit to family and friends just how often you really drink.
  • You have lost interest in other activities because you would prefer a drink or you feel a little tired from over-indulging the night before.
  • Do you feel guilty about how much alcohol you are consuming? Do you think you drink a little too often for your own good health?
  • Drinking alone is happening more and more often. You find that you do not want others to know how much you are really drinking. You want to keep it a secret.
  • You notice your health is not quite as good as it once was. Maybe you are having financial problems. Maybe there are problems in your family. You think alcohol may have a little to do with these issues – but you keep drinking.
  • You have tried to stop drinking, but you have noticed alcohol withdrawal symptoms at least once such as sweating, headaches, strong cravings, and anxiety.
  • Alcohol is your “go to”. It is starting to come before your job, family, hobbies, and other responsibilities.
  • Maybe you have found yourself having a drink first thing in the morning. Or maybe it’s a glass before lunch on a regular basis.

 

Do I Have a Drinking Problem?

If you have any of these issues or know of someone struggling with these issues, then know you are not alone. Alcoholism is a battle that knows no boundaries, it affects people from all walks of life. Treatment Centers XL offers two convenient treatment facilities with a variety of specialized day and overnight drug rehabilitation programs. Call us today to start conquering alcohol addiction.

Sources:
https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/265799.php
https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/index.htm

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