Knowing when drinking is a problem
Alcohol abuse is a problem that affects every walk of life. No gender, race, class, or ethnic group is immune to risks and dangerous of alcoholism, but few people know how to recognize the signs of problem drinking before abuse becomes severe. Knowing the symptoms of alcohol abuse can help you take action when necessary is you or someone you love is struggling with a drinking problem. If you recognize these symptoms, consider talking to your healthcare provider about the next steps you should take.
The amount of alcohol a person can safely consume depends on many different factors, however, there are some general guidelines as to what is considered to be excessive:
- For women, more than 7 drinks per week or more than 3 drinks per drinking session
- For men, more than 14 drinks per week or more than 4 drinks per session
- For people over 65, more than 7 drinks per week or more than 3 drinks per session
Drinking more than these guidelines on a regular basis is considered to be excessive. When people drink more than these guidelines per session, they are engaging in binge drinking. Binge drinking is an especially dangerous form of alcohol abuse that is associated with significant health risks and loss of life.
Taking risks while drinking is another sign of alcohol abuse. Some common forms of risky behavior people who are dealing with alcohol abuse may engage in includes:
- Drinking and driving
- Mixing drinks with medications
- Lying to healthcare providers about drinking
- Drinking while in charge of young children
- Engaging in risky sexual behavior
Alcohol abuse can cause someone to prioritize alcohol over other needs and responsibilities and to become physically and psychologically dependent on it. Some signs of alcohol dependency are:
- Trying to hide how much you’re drinking
- Worrying about not having access to alcohol
- Missing work and personal obligations to drink
- Experiencing shaking, anxiety, and other physical symptoms if you can’t drink
Alcohol abuse can be devastating for families, but help is available. Your healthcare provider at Riverside Community Hospital can help you understand if you are abusing alcohol and get the help you need. Get a referral to a physician in Riverside by calling (951) 788-3463.