- How do I know if I have a problem with alcohol?
- What is alcoholism?
- What causes alcoholism?
- Are certain people more likely to have problems with alcohol?
- Can you still have problems with alcohol even if you’re not an alcoholic?
- How can I cut down on my drinking?
- Where can I get help for an alcohol problem?
What is binge drinking?
Binge drinking is consuming five or more drinks on the same occasion at least once during the past 30 days. Drinking excessively and becoming That Guy is binge drinking.
Why is binge drinking risky?
Binge drinking can cause serious problems with your work and career, your family life and your health, including injury and alcohol poisoning. It can also put you at risk of legal problems, such as arrests for driving under the influence, assault or domestic abuse.
How much drinking is okay?
For most adults, moderate drinking causes few problems. Moderate drinking is defined as up to two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women. Don’t be That Guy who drinks so much and gets out of control.
What if I only drink on weekends?
You should still stick with the recommended amount (no more than two drinks per day for men and no more than one for women). The recommendations do not mean you can abstain during the week to “save up” drinks in order to drink more on the weekend. Seven drinks on Saturday night will have far more serious consequences than one drink per evening all week. Nobody wants to be That Guy!
Is it better to drink beer than liquor?
It’s true that beer, wine, and liquor have different concentrations of alcohol, but when consumed in their standard size servings (12 oz. beer, 5 oz. wine and 1.5 oz. liquor), each drink will have the same amount of alcohol. The effects of each drink will be the same on the drinker.
What is BAC?
“Blood alcohol concentration” or BAC is the amount of alcohol in the bloodstream. BAC is influenced by how much and how fast you drink, the amount of food in your stomach, body weight and sex, among other things.
Is drinking healthy for your heart?
Research shows that moderate drinking (two drinks or less per day for men and one drink per day for women) can help prevent a certain form of heart disease. However, if you are a nondrinker, you can get the same benefits from healthy eating, exercising, and not smoking. Heavy drinking can increase the risk of heart failure, stroke and high blood pressure.
Does alcohol affect men and women differently?
Research shows that women are more vulnerable to alcohol-related diseases. For example, women have a higher propensity to develop liver disease than men do. The amount or alcohol necessary to produce cirrhosis in the liver in women is two to three times less than in men. When men and women drink the same amount of alcohol, women develop higher blood alcohol levels than men do. In other words women get more intoxicated and get intoxicated faster than men do.
Source: Lieber, Charles S. "Gender Differences in Pharmocokenetics of Alcohol." Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research: Vol. 25, No. 4; April 2001.
Is it safe to drink while on medication?
There are more than 150 over-the-counter and prescription medications that increase the risk of illness, injury, or even death when taken with alcohol. This includes medicines that depress the central nervous system, such as sleeping pills, antihistamines, anti-depressants or painkillers, and medicines for certain disorders, including diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. Check with your doctor or pharmacist.
For more information on interactions between medications and alcohol, go to:
How do I know if I have a problem with alcohol?
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Have you ever felt you should cut back on your drinking?
- Have you missed work because of drinking?
- Have people annoyed you by criticizing your drinking?
- Have you ever felt bad or guilty about your drinking?
- Have you ever had a drink first thing in the morning to steady your nerves or get rid of a hangover?
- Have you ever been That Guy?
If you answered “yes” once it’s possible you may have a problem. More than one “yes” means it is highly likely that there’s a problem. You should see a health care provider or [military referral] for help.
What is alcoholism?
Alcoholism is a chronic disease with four main symptoms:
- Craving, or a strong urge or need to drink.
- Loss of control, or not being able to stop drinking once you’ve started.
- Physical dependence, such as withdrawal symptoms (nausea, sweating, shakiness, and anxiety after stopping drinking).
- Tolerance, or the need to drink more alcohol to get drunk.
What causes alcoholism?
Genetics and lifestyle both play a role in the development of alcoholism. While family history is important, other factors such as your friends, stress in your life, and the availability of alcohol may increase risk for alcoholism.
Are certain people more likely to have problems with alcohol?
Alcohol abuse and alcoholism are not limited to any specific group. Nearly 1 in every 13 adults abuses alcohol or is an alcoholic.
In general, men are more likely than women to be alcohol dependent or have alcohol problems. Problems with alcohol are also highest among young adults ages 18-29. Someone who starts drinking at an early age (14 or younger) is also more likely to have problems with alcohol at some point in their lives.
Can you still have problems with alcohol even if you’re not an alcoholic?
Yes. You can still abuse alcohol – drinking too much or too often and becoming That Guy – without being an alcoholic. For example, alcohol abuse can lead to problems at work, with family or the law; violence and injuries; car crashes; and drinking-related medical conditions.
How can I cut down on my drinking?
There are many steps you can take to reduce your drinking:
- Set limits for yourself, and stick to them
- Keep alcohol out of your home
- Drink slowly on a full stomach
- Stick to one drink per hour or less
- Regularly take a break from drinking
- Learn how to say no
- Stay active and find other interests
- Get support from family and friends
- Avoid temptations, such as certain people or places that make you want to drink
Where can I get help for an alcohol problem?
If you think you have a problem with alcohol, see your health care provider. You can also call the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment toll-free at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) to talk to someone about a treatment referral and other substance abuse information or find local treatment centers online at www.findtreatment.samhsa.gov.
In addition, you can visit www.tricare.mil/ProviderDirectory/, or call your regional contractor: West Region: TriWest 1-888-874-9378, North Region: HealthNet 1-877-TRICARE and South Region: Humana Military 1-800-444-5445.
Source: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
1 Lieber, Charles S. “Gender Differences in Pharmacokenetics of Alcohol.” Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research: Vol. 25, No. 4; April 2001.