When does drinking become alcohol abuse?

When does drinking become alcohol abuse?

For most adults, moderate alcohol use–no more than two drinks a day for men and one for women and older people–is relatively harmless and not  alcohol abuse. (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.)

Moderate use, however, lies at one end of a range that moves through alcohol abuse to alcohol dependence:

Although severe alcohol problems get the most public attention, even mild to moderate problems cause substantial damage to individuals, their families, and the community.

From “Social Drinking” to “Problem Drinking” (alcohol abuse):

As previously stated, alcohol problems can be difficult to detect, since alcohol is such a large part of our society and culture. Many people go through their lives just fine, only consuming alcohol on special occasions such as birthdays and weddings. These people are considered “social drinkers”, as they usually partake in drinking only during social events or parties. There are other people who drink everyday without crossing the barrier to becoming an alcoholic. These people may enjoy just one glass of wine or one beer with dinner in the evening. Sometimes this is customary behavior, depending on the individual’s cultural background, but other times it is just a mere routine. So when does drinking go from acceptable to unacceptable? In other words, when does a person’s drinking become problematic and a cause for concern? Perhaps the following will help you to decipher acceptable drinking behavior from problem drinking behavior.

A person with a alcohol abuse drinking problem may:

  • Feel as though he/she needs to drink in order to relax or unwind
  • Feel guilty about his/her drinking habits and may attempt to conceal their drinking behavior
  • Lie to others when asked about their drinking habits (i.e. how much, how often, etc.)
  • Drink more alcohol than they originally intended to (i.e. saying they’ll just have one and instead they’ll have six)
  • Experience “black-outs” where they forget what happened during  periods of time while they were drinking/drunk
  • Alcohol abuse is a drinking pattern that results in significant and recurrent adverse consequences.
  • Alcohol abusers may fail to fulfill major school, work or family obligations. They may have drinking-related legal problems, such as repeated arrests for driving while intoxicated. They may have relationship problems related to their drinking.
  • People with alcoholism–technically known as alcohol dependence–have lost reliable control of their alcohol use. It doesn’t matter what kind of alcohol someone drinks or even how much: alcohol-dependent people are often unable to stop drinking once they start.
  • Alcohol dependence is characterized by tolerance (the need to drink more to achieve the same “high”) and withdrawal symptoms if drinking is suddenly stopped. Withdrawal symptoms may include nausea, sweating, restlessness, irritability, tremors, hallucinations, and convulsions.

Another clear way to tell if you have a drinking problem is to examine your life and the effects that alcohol is having on it. For instance, is your drinking causing concern from your close friends and family members? Have people commented on your drinking behavior before? Have you missed work or school because of your drinking? The bottom line is: if drinking is causing disruptions or problems in your life, then your drinking is alcohol abuse and...more>>

When Does Moderate Drinking Become alcohol abuse ? : NPR
Dec 27, 2010 When Does Moderate Drinking Become A Problem? by Patti Ducote says he’s a big guy who tolerates more alcohol than most. When he


Alcohol Abuse Stats

alcohol abuseAccording to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), 1 in 13 American adults is an alcohol abuser or alcoholic at any given time.

People make a wide variety of choices about drinking, including whether to drink at all, and how much to consume if they do decide to drink. Here are some general trends in the United States for alcohol abuse.

How many American adults (ages 18 and over) drank in the past year and how much did they drink? (Source: Wave 1 NESARC, conducted by NIAAA’s Laboratory of Epidemiology and Biometry)
Women Men
Percentage who had at least one drink 59.6% 71.8%
Percentage who have never drank — lifetime abstainers 22.5% 11.6%
Percentage of binge drinkers — drinkers who consumed 4+/5+ (women/men) drinks within 2 hours at least once 28.8% 43.1%
How many drinks did drinkers usually consume on a drinking day?
1 drink 48.2% 28.7%
2 drinks 29.9% 29.0%
3 or more drinks 21.9% 42.3%












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:When does drinking become alcohol abuse ?