Are You Drinking Too Much Alcohol
How much alcohol is too much? The national recommended limit is 14 units a week – that’s the equivalent of about six pints of beer a week or a bottle and a half of wine.
If that seems like an awfully small figure to you, don’t worry – many people exceed this amount and are able to continue leading functional, healthy lives. This is because the effects of alcohol vary from person to person. Some people have more of a tolerance or are able to compose themselves better whilst under the influence. As a result, when judging whether you drink too much alcohol, it’s better to base it on the effects you experience when drinking rather than the amount you’re drinking.
Here are just a few clear signs that you could be drinking too much.
It’s damaging your health
Alcohol can damage your health in a variety of ways. Short-term it may cause you to have accidents which causes injuries, or you could get alcohol poisoning. Long-term it could lead to liver disease, digestive problems, heart disease, cancer, memory loss or even mental illness. If you’ve already noticed that alcohol has caused one of these conditions, it could be a clear sign that you need to quit the booze – or at the very least cut back significantly. If you haven’t seen a doctor already about alcohol related illness, then it could be worth booking an appointment. In the US, it’s believed 88,000 people die every year from alcohol-related causes.
It’s damaging your finances
Another clear sign it’s time to cut back is if you’re spending money you don’t have on alcohol. A lot of young people get themselves into debt just to afford a weekly night out. There are also some people that make bad financial decisions when intoxicated – this could include anything from buying a round you can’t afford to going on an online shopping spree once you get home in the evening (some people have even booked vacations whilst drunk). There are other ways to control your spending other than cutting down on drinks such as leaving your bank card at home and only bringing a certain of change, or letting someone guard you bank card. However, cutting down on alcohol could be a more sensible option – especially if it’s the intoxication that’s leading your to spend frivolously.
You’re hurting other people when intoxicated
If alcohol causes you to be physically or verbally aggressive, it could be another sign that you need to reassess how much you’re drinking. In fact, if your personality regularly changes when under the influence or you find yourself unable to restrain negative emotions, it could be a suitable idea to quit alcohol entirely. Hurting yourself is one thing, but when you start hurting other people it’s a sign that you’ve crossed boundaries.
You’re neglecting important responsibilities
For some people, alcohol causes them to lose focus on what’s important in life. This could include turning up to work late because you didn’t set your alarm and slept in, or forgetting to pick the kids up from school because you got carried away drinking. Rather than cutting down on drinking to prevent this, you could think about changing the times which you choose to drink. For example, you may want to stop drinking on weekdays if you can’t get up for work the next morning. That said, cutting down may be wise if you regularly neglect responsibility to the point that you can’t even look after yourself – in such cases you’re becoming a burden on others and it’s probably best that you don’t drink so much.
You regularly embarrass yourself
We all occasionally regret things we said or did whilst intoxicated – alcohol gets rid of inhibitions, making us think less about what we say and do. This usually is something to laugh about the next day, however if you’re causing serious embarrassment on a regular basis, it could be a sign you need to reduce your drinks. By embarrassing yourself whilst drunk, you could be tarnishing your public reputation or creating social problems for yourself. You may even damage professional relationships if you embarrass yourself whilst intoxicated with work colleagues.
You act unlawfully when intoxicated
Another sign you could be drinking too much could be that you act unlawfully when under the influence. This could include stealing things, vandalising property, being disorderly in public or simply driving whilst intoxicated. This could be particularly a concern if your behaviour has already got you a criminal record. If you feel you’re unable to act lawfully after a few drinks, it could be time to limit your alcohol consumption.
You’ve tried to cut down, but can’t
If you’ve made attempts to cut down on your alcohol consumption in the past but failed, it could be a sign that you’ve got a dependency on alcohol. To develop a dependency, you must already be drinking too much. Without having the willpower to cut down yourself, you may have no choice but to seek professional help. This could involve seeing a counsellor or in serious cases checking into a rehab facility. Such professional treatment options may be able to teach you techniques or alter your environment to help you resist alcohol.
Other people have shown concern over your drinking
You may also want to think about cutting down if multiple people have shown concerns for the amount that you drink. Whist certain people may just be excessive worriers who would say the same about any unhealthy behaviour, others may be the type of people who you wouldn’t expect to show concern – it’s when these people make a comment that you should really start to evaluate your drinking habit.