Am I Drinking Too Much Alcohol?Anna Ciulla
Many people know alcohol as a common aspect of recreation or relaxation. Whether we enjoy a glass of wine or a bottle of beer at the end of a long day of work or order a cocktail at a local happy hour with our friends, we are typically met with numerous opportunities to partake in alcohol consumption over the course of our everyday lives. As some of us may know, moderate alcohol use can even have certain health benefits, such as reducing bad cholesterol.
Nonetheless, it is important to make sure we do not overindulge; moderation can be the key to drinking alcohol without suffering the repercussions.
Yet, who is to say how much alcohol is too much? Who defines what drinking in moderation looks like? In fact, alcohol affects individuals in such a variety of ways that it seems inappropriate to dictate a one-size-fits-all definition of proper alcohol use. For instance, due to differences in metabolism, it is recommended that one standard alcoholic beverage is the proper amount for one woman to drink, while the recommended amount for one man is two standard drinks. If you add to this the different effects associated with different kinds of alcohol, setting a general limit can get rather complicated.
Instead, it can be more helpful to look at all the possible symptoms that may accompany overindulgence in alcohol. From there, a person can make an educated decision on whether or not they are drinking too much alcohol and if they should potentially consider alcohol detox. If you happen to be worried about your alcohol consumption and think it may be turning in to an alcohol addiction, take a look at the potential signs of drinking too much listed below and see if they apply to you.
It is important to note that the potential signs of drinking too much alcohol listed below do not always occur all together. A single person may experience just one of these symptoms, or a combination of them. If you suspect that you, or someone you know, may be drinking too much alcohol, use these signs as a guideline for how your behavior may be affecting your body and causing an alcohol dependence.
The symptoms that indicate you might be drinking too much alcohol can also vary in severity. Many of these signs are subtle, and can be associated with a number of other causes. If you are concerned about your alcohol use, be sure not to overlook the potential signs of its effect on you, or to confuse them with something else entirely.
If you are worried about having an alcohol problem, you should take a look at your health history. Are you often sick? Of the many potentially detrimental long-term effects that drinking too much alcohol can have on a person, one of the most concerning is its ability to weaken the immune system.
As you may know, the immune system is the body’s frontline of defense against any potential diseases. When the immune system is weakened, a person becomes much more susceptible to becoming sick. Therefore, it is alarming to know that alcohol can place your immune system in a worse position to defend you from illness.
Experts at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism say that people who drink chronically are “more liable to diseases like pneumonia and tuberculosis than people who do not drink too much.” They even say that a “single occasion” of overindulgence can increase your susceptibility to disease and infection for up to 24 hours after you have been drinking. This clearly indicates that alcohol can have a detrimental effect on your overall health.
So, if you are concerned about your alcohol use, and notice that you have been getting sick more than usual, then perhaps it is time for you to cut back. The same holds true if you have been having a particularly difficult time fighting off illnesses. Even if you are not consistently sick, this knowledge can help you to make better choices when it comes to drinking alcohol and how to protect yourself from death from alcohol.
It is easy to blame difficulties with memory on stress and age, but the overuse of alcohol can be just as much of a factor in memory issues. Many of us can think back on a night involving alcohol of which we cannot quite remember all the details. This is the most common way in which alcohol can affect the memory: causing short-term memory loss. In the most extreme instances, people experience “blackouts” or the total loss of their memory of a certain period of time. Yet, alcohol does not just affect the memory in isolated instances.
While most people associate alcohol with short-term memory loss and “blackouts,” effects on the memory that are isolated to the period in which drinking occurred, they do not think that alcohol may actually damage their memory in the long-run. This is a misconception. According to Alcohol.org, drinking too much alcohol for a significant period of time can cause long-lasting effects to a person’s memory.
Memory loss is something that all humans eventually experience, to some degree, but if you feel that you are experiencing issues with your memory that are unusual for your age group, it may be the case that you have an alcohol problem or an alcohol dependence is forming in your body.
If your drinking habits begin to coincide with breakouts, this may be another sign that you could benefit from drinking less. Alcohol is known to cause inflammation in the skin which, among other things, leads to enlarged pores. Enlargement of the pores then allows an increased amount of bacteria to access your skin, eventually creating breakouts. This is not to mention the other issues that can accompany inflammation of the skin, such as wrinkling and discoloration. If your skin is suffering in any of these ways as a result of your drinking, it may be time to cut back on your alcohol intake.
Most alcoholic beverages contain a significant amount of calories. Even a glass of white wine holds approximately 150 calories. When it comes to beer, the numbers get even higher, not to mention the high calorie count of sugary alcoholic cocktails like margaritas. While consuming these drinks occasionally, and in moderation, should not pose a significant issue to your health, overconsumption can certainly cause weight gain. If you find that you are gaining more weight than you would like, and that this coincides with how much you drink alcohol, you might want to take a second look at your habits and consider consuming less drinks per week.
If you have been drinking too much alcohol, you may also notice that you are not feeling as well rested as you expect to. This is because alcohol actually disrupts your circadian rhythm by interfering with the normal production of the chemicals that make you feel sleepy and stay asleep. Without your body’s natural processes to guide your rest, the overall quality of sleep worsens, contributing to feelings of fatigue.
This issue is made even worse by the general misconception that alcohol actually helps you sleep. It is true that alcohol, as a depressant, makes you feel sleepier in the short-term, but this is not an indicator of it allowing a truly good night of sleep. Drinking to help you fall asleep, then, can cause a cycle of tiredness. If you feel like you have this habit, or are tired throughout the week, it could very well be the case that your use of alcohol is interfering with your sleep.
Heightened Alcohol Tolerance
This symptom, like the issues alcohol can create for your sleep, is another side-effect of drinking too much. As with any concentrated substance, the consistent use of alcohol builds up a tolerance that requires one to drink even more than usual to achieve the same effect desired. If you are used to drinking a beer every night and find yourself needing to drink two or three to feel the same way, this is a sign that you have heightened your alcohol tolerance.
Allowing a high alcohol tolerance to dictate the amount you drink can be problematic, because it will lead you to drink more and more. Especially when combined with any of the other issues that might accompany drinking too much, this symptom can cause numerous issues for your health. If you find yourself building a resistance to alcohol, this may be a sign to check your drinking patterns and reduce your weekly consumption.
One potential sign that you might be drinking too much alcohol is if you are feeling its rebound effects in an especially marked way. While alcohol may initially create positive, happy feelings, the downside to this is that you might experience depression when your blood alcohol levels return to normal. The effects of depression with alcohol consumption are manifold, and can negatively impact your life in significant ways, from hurting your relationships to making it difficult for you to fulfill your responsibilities. It may be true that depression has a variety of causes, but if you think alcohol use may be causing your depression, this may indeed be a sign that you are consuming too much alcohol.
Whether or not it is the result of alcohol-related depression, finding that you are neglecting certain responsibilities for the sake of alcohol is another sign that you might need to reevaluate your drinking habits. It is rarely a good thing to let something frivolous get in the way of important responsibilities, but even less so if the impediment is a substance. If you find that you are choosing to drink instead of doing such important tasks like job duties or household chores, you might benefit from consuming less alcohol.
It may be the case that you drink alcohol socially, as a way of helping yourself build courage in new settings or of easing interaction with others. This is because alcohol inhibits the areas of your brain responsible for regulating your behavior, making you feel like you are freer and more willing to try new things. While many see this as a positive aspect of drinking alcohol, it can carry just a much danger with it as it can potential fun.
Science shows that people, especially young people, are at increased risk of injuring themselves, contracting sexually transmitted diseases, and hurting others (even homicide) when they consume too much alcohol. This increased risk results from the way in which alcohol lowers inhibitions, allowing people to put themselves in more dangerous situations than they otherwise would. If you find that you have been exposing yourself to unnecessary risks, or facing the consequences of risks you have taken while under the influence of alcohol, this may be a distinct sign that you are drinking too much alcohol.
Whether or not you notice any of the above signs in yourself, those who love you and see you regularly might be concerned if they notice that alcohol is affecting you detrimentally. While your use of alcohol may cause you to actively strain your relationships by neglecting responsibilities or acting exceedingly risky, as mentioned above, it may also cause tension by worrying the people to whom you are close with. If you find that the people you trust are expressing concern for you and your drinking habits, this may very well be the warning sign you need to reevaluate the way you use alcohol. In even more extreme cases, if you have pushed people who love you out of your life instead of listening to their concerns, this may be evidence that you are prioritizing alcohol—thus drinking too much.
Again, it is important to note that there is no single concrete diagnosis for how much alcohol is too much for a single person to drink. Nonetheless, there are a wide variety of signs that a person can potentially exhibit if they are, in fact, drinking too much. If you find that some, or all, of these signs are present in your own life, the answer to the question, “Am I drinking too much alcohol?” may, in fact, be a “Yes.”
Regardless of your habits, it is always wise to step away and reevaluate your lifestyle. Being that the answer to this topic can be subjective, it’s important to take a deeper look into your psyche, behavior, and your ability to perform in everyday life. If alcohol affects any facet of your wellbeing, chances are you’re drinking too much.
If you are binge drinking or think that your moderate alcohol consumption has gotten out of hand and need help, Beach House Rehab Center is here for you. Contact our Florida rehab center today to fight your alcohol addiction and go back to living a normal and happy life.