Alcohol intake has become a regular part of many social gatherings. Some people may not know whether they drink too much or too often. It is always good advice to cut back on or even abstain from alcoholic drinks to avoid developing alcohol dependence.
How Much Alcohol Intake Is Too Much?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), moderate drinking equals two drinks or less per day for men or one drink or less per day for women. A standard drink contains 0.6 ounces of pure alcohol. Any amount exceeding this is considered excessive drinking.
Excessive drinking not only happens among adults above the legal drinking age of 21 but also among people who should not be drinking alcohol. These include individuals who are younger than 21, pregnant women, drivers, users of prescription medications, and those who are recovering from alcoholism.
What Health Risks Can Excessive Drinking Present?
Excessive drinking begets health risks to many major organs of the body. For example, because alcohol intake interferes with the brain’s neurological pathways, it may affect moods and behavior. Alcohol consumption over time may also cause irregular heartbeat and other heart-related dysfunctions.
Excessive alcohol use may lead to chronic diseases, including high blood pressure, stroke, liver disease, cancer, weakened immune system, memory problems, mental health problems, and more. In addition, pregnant women who drink alcohol may have miscarriages, stillbirths, or fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. Excessive drinking can also lead to motor vehicle accidents, fatal falls or drownings, and aggressive behaviors such as domestic violence. It can also cause alcohol poisoning.
Young adults (18- to 24-year-olds) in the transition to independence are especially vulnerable to alcohol abuse. Statistics show that more than 5000 young adults die from unintentional injuries related to alcohol use every year. Other health risks include sexual assault and sexually transmitted diseases.
What Are Some Effective Prevention Strategies?
People may begin drinking for different reasons. Therefore, it is essential to watch for different stressors in various stages of life. For example, drinking may increase during adolescence or in the early 20s due to experimentation or peer pressure. Later in life, stressors may include work stress or relationship difficulties.
Prevention should always begin with education and early intervention. Learning healthy coping mechanisms for emotional and mental health is a great way to prevent resorting to drinking as a method of self-soothing. In addition, young people should be cautioned against attending social events where excessive drinking is the norm.
How Should I Cut Back on Drinking?
One can first reflect on the reasons to avoid alcohol addiction to reduce drinking habits. For example, one may consider the importance of healthy relationships apart from health reasons. Making a list of reasons like these can motivate individuals to action.
Small steps help. If an individual feels they cannot practice abstinence now, they may try setting a limit on how much they will drink. Keeping a drinking diary to track the frequency and amounts can help individuals understand their current habits. Equipped with this information, they can determine strategies to wean themselves off.
Prepare mentally for peer pressure when it comes to drinking. Practice ways to say no politely. Remember that no one has to drink just because others are doing so. Individuals should stay away from people who pressure them to drink more.
Try not to drink on a particular day of the week. Even better, an individual could abstain for a week in a month to see how they feel physically and emotionally without alcohol. This gradual reduction in alcohol usage is a good way to achieve abstinence—or at least moderation management eventually. Use this time to engage in sober hobbies.
When and How Should I Seek Professional Help?
Individuals who cannot stop drinking or cut back on their own should seek professional help. Many people benefit from attending a 12-Step support group. One may need to consult health professionals for an evaluation depending on how severe one’s alcohol dependence and other related health concerns are.
Those who decide to go through rehab treatment should spend some time finding a program that feels right to them. Look for a program that offers customized treatment for each client’s unique problems and situation. A good treatment plan should address not only alcohol use but also the potential underlying causes of the problem.
What Adjustments Should I Make in Social Life?
To prevent alcohol use, individuals should surround themselves with non-drinkers. Socializing with people who can have a good time while staying sober can do immense good. Participating in activities with people where drinking is not a focal point can help recovering individuals retrain their brains to have fun without alcohol.
Recovering individuals should share concerns about drinking with trusted family and friends to have more accountability partners. Having the support of these caring people can help individuals keep to their goals. Each step in the right direction, one takes a small win.
Drug and alcohol addiction treatment can appear to be a complicated process. Many people have tried quitting on their own but failed. You need guidance and support from health professionals to achieve lasting recovery. Laguna Shores Recovery is the place to be if you are looking for a quality treatment center with a history of success. Here, we offer specialized programs to prevent and treat alcohol addiction. We apply evidence-based treatment and adopt an integrated approach to recovery. Our experts will customize a plan for you. We will walk alongside you and your loved ones to offer support and guidance. Our alumni programs include aftercare and connect you with a community of recovering individuals. Call us today to discover how you can be part of our program. You will not be disappointed. Call 866-934-5276 for more information on our programs.