The term “problematic drinking” is used here to cover a wide range of alcohol use and is not meant to just be designated for “alcoholics.”
Answering a few questions can be a great start to examining the impact of your situation:
What constitutes a standard drink:
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) identifies binge drinking to be five or more drinks in one day for men and four or more drinks in one day for women. Binge drinking is considered risky drinking, as decision making and judgment are impaired, and therefore risky behaviors may ensue. Binge drinking may reflect Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD).
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) outlines warning signs and symptoms of Alcohol Use Disorder. If you are questioning whether you have problematic drinking, you are encouraged to talk to a professional who can help you recognize any symptoms and identify healthy ways to intervene. It is never too early or too late to seek help.
A professional can conduct a formal assessment of your symptoms to see if AUD is present. Talk with your doctor and/or mental health professional to determine the best course of action for you, and see NIAAA’s resources for more information.
Even if you are not consuming this many drinks, please keep reading, as problematic drinking is not solely defined by the amount of drinks consumed. Read on to identify if you may have an issue that could be addressed with the help of other alcohol resources or a peer mentor.
Signs are what may be observed by others. Symptoms are the things reported by a first responder. Many of the following can be signs or symptoms:
As defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual - Fifth Edition (DSM-5) used by psychology professionals, 11 things may be present if alcohol use is a concern. They are as follows:
These goals are only examples. Use them as a guide, not an absolute. You know if there is a problem; let now be the time to fix it.
Reaching out for help is never a sign of weakness, but rather one of strength. It may be annoying or frustrating to think about what to do and how to approach it, but it can be done. There are other first responders who understand where you’ve been. If you cannot reach or maintain all of these goals on your own, get connected with a peer support mentor.