How Much is Too Much?
We have all heard the saying “everything is good in moderation.” This can even be true of alcohol! But do you know when enough is enough?
The first step is determining how risky your drinking pattern is. Low risk drinking for men is a maximum of 4 drinks a day, and a maximum of 14 drinks a week. For women, it is no more than 3 drinks a day, and no more than 7 drinks a week.
Everyone’s bodies react to alcohol differently. Women are at a higher risk while drinking because they typically weigh less than men. If both a man and a woman were to drink the same amount of alcohol, the woman’s blood alcohol content would be higher if she were smaller than the man.
What is high risk drinking? It is any amount of drinks higher than the maximum for low risk drinking. A common rule of thumb is too much+too often=too risky. If you are having heavy binge drinking days fairly often, you are at a higher risk of developing an alcohol use disorder or other related health problems, such as injuries, disease, or birth defects if drinking while pregnant.
Unfortunately, alcohol use disorders are rampant in our country. In 2015, it is estimated that at least 16 million Americans ages 18 and older suffered from an alcohol use disorder. Luckily, it is treatable and some of the symptoms can be caught early. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism states that “To be diagnosed with AUD, individuals must meet certain criteria outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). Under DSM–5, the current version of the DSM, anyone meeting any two of the 11 criteria during the same 12-month period receives a diagnosis of AUD. The severity of AUD—mild, moderate, or severe—is based on the number of criteria met.” (2)
Common questions to ask when assessing whether you or someone may have an alcohol use disorder are:
-Have you ended up drinking more than you planned?
-Have you tried to cut down on drinking, but couldn’t?
-Have you spent a lot of time drinking?
-Have you ever craved alcohol?
-Has drinking interfered with your work or home life?
-Have you continued to drink even though it interferes with your life?
-Have you continued to drink even though you don’t want to?
-Have you been put in a dangerous situation because of alcohol, but continued to drink?
-Have you ever blacked out from drinking?
All of these are symptoms of an alcohol use disorder. If you or your loved one has more than one, you may need to consult a professional. Here at Waterford, we do free assessments to try to get you the help you need. We help start an open and honest dialogue between you and your child regarding their substance abuse, to give your child the treatment they need and the peace of mind you deserve.
- What’s low-risk drinking? – Rethinking Drinking – NIAAA. (n.d.). Retrieved August 09, 2017, from https://www.rethinkingdrinking.niaaa.nih.gov/How-much-is-too-much/Is-your-drinking-pattern-risky/Whats-Low-Risk-Drinking.aspx
- What are the symptoms of an alcohol use disorder? – Rethinking Drinking – NIAAA. (n.d.). Retrieved August 09, 2017 from https://www.rethinkingdrinking.niaaa.nih.gov/How-much-is-too-much/Whats-the-harm/What-Are-Symptoms-Of-An-Alcohol-Use-Disorder.aspx
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