Am I drinking too much?
You are drinking too much if one of the following statements is true. You are:
- A woman who has more than 7 drinks* per week or more than 3 drinks per occasion
- A man who has more than 14 drinks* per week or more than 4 drinks per occasion
- Older than 65 years of age and have more than 7 drinks* per week or more than 3 drinks per occasion
*One drink = one 12-oz bottle of beer (4.5 percent alcohol), one 5-oz glass of wine (12.9 percent alcohol) or 1.5 oz of 80-proof distilled spirits.
Am I drinking heavily?
You are drinking heavily if one of the following statements is true. You are:
- A woman who has more than 3 drinks every day or 21 drinks per week
- A man who has more than 5 drinks every day or 35 drinks per week
Am I taking risks with alcohol?
You are taking risks with alcohol if one or more of the following statements are true. You:
- Drink and drive, operate machinery or mix alcohol with over-the-counter or prescription medicine
- Don’t tell your doctor or pharmacist that you are a regular drinker
- Are pregnant or are trying to become pregnant and drink at all (even small amounts of alcohol may hurt an unborn child)
- Drink alcohol while you are looking after children
- Drink alcohol even though you have a medical condition that can be made worse by drinking
Has my drinking become a habit?
Your drinking has become a habit if you drink regularly to:
- Relax, relieve anxiety or go to sleep
- Be more comfortable in social situations
- Avoid thinking about sad or unpleasant things
- Socialize with other regular drinkers
Is alcohol taking over my life?
Yes, if you:
- Ever worry about having enough alcohol for an evening or weekend
- Hide alcohol or buy it at different stores so people will not know how much you are drinking
- Switch from one kind of drink to another hoping that this will keep you from drinking too much or getting drunk
- Try to get “extra” drinks at a social event or sneak drinks when others aren’t looking
Has drinking alcohol become a problem for me?
Alcohol has become a problem for you if one or more of the following statements are true. You:
- Can’t stop drinking once you start
- Have tried to stop drinking for a week or so but only quit for a few days
- Fail to do what you should at work or at home because of drinking
- Feel guilty after drinking
- Find other people make comments to you about your drinking
- Have a drink in the morning to get yourself going after drinking heavily the night before
- Can’t remember what happened while you were drinking
- Have hurt someone else as a result of your drinking
What can I do about drinking too much?
Try to cut down to safe drinking levels: fewer than 7 drinks per week and fewer than 3 drinks per occasion for women and men older than 65 years of age, and fewer than 14 drinks per week and fewer than 4 drinks per occasion for men younger than 65 years of age.
How can I get help for an alcohol problem?
If you feel you need help to cut down, you can contact:
- Your doctor for advice, treatment or referral
- Self-help support groups (see “Other Organizations”)
- Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (see “Other Organizations”). Call for information about local treatment programs and to speak to someone about your alcohol problem
Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff.
Problem Drinking and Alcoholism: Diagnosis and Treatment by MA Enoch, M.D., M.R.C.G.P. and D Goldman, M.D. (American Family Physician February 1, 2002, http://www.aafp.org/afp/20020201/441.html)
Original article: http://familydoctor.org/online/famdocen/home/common/addictions/alcohol/755.html