When does drinking become a problem?

Published 12:37 pm Friday, March 23, 2012

It is difficult to establish the defining lines between social or moderate drinking and problem drinking.  This is primarily due to rationalizing or denial on the part of the drinker.  Problem drinking can be defined as the repeated use of alcohol which causes trouble in the user’s personal, professional or family life.  What makes trouble is trouble. You may have a drinking problem if you…
– Feel guilty or ashamed about your drinking
– Lie to others or hide your drinking habits
– Have friends or family members who are worried about your drinking
– Need to drink in order to relax or feel better
– “Black out” or forget what you did while you were drinking
– Regularly drink more than you intended to
– Repeatedly neglect your responsibilities at home, work or school
– Experience alcohol related legal problems
– Have problems with relationships at home or at work.
Even though family and friends may recognize the trouble, it takes honest examination on the part of the individual to make positive change.
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 1 in 13 American adults is at any given time an alcohol abuser.  These problems generally occur between the individual’s mid-20s and early 40s.  So, the question is, “How much is too much?”  For most non-alcoholic adults, moderate use of alcohol – no more than two drinks a day for men and one for women and older people – is relatively harmless.  A drink means 1.5 ounces of spirits, 5 ounces of wine, or 12 ounces of beer – all of which contain 0.5 ounces of alcohol.
Some research has shown that these amounts – especially with wine – are actually healthy.