Rethinking Drinking


Are you thinking about making a change in your relationship with alcohol?
Re-thinking your drinking is a personal decision, and you alone have the power to make a change.

How much is too much? A standard drink (one bottle of beer, 5 oz. of wine, or a shot of whiskey) contains 0.6 fluid ounces of pure alcohol. According to U.S. Dietary Guidelines, adults of legal drinking age can choose not to drink at all, or drink in moderation by limiting intake to 2 drinks or less in a day for men, and 1 drink or less in a day for women. Drinking alcohol while pregnant can harm the growth and development of a baby. Alcohol can also interfere with some medications, or make existing health conditions worse. It can make it unsafe to drive or use machinery.


What is binge drinking? Some people go months without drinking, and then binge on an excessive amount of alcohol in a short period of time. Weddings and holidays are prime opportunities for binge drinking because of social pressure, traditions, or easy access. Binge drinking is particularly dangerous because it can lead to alcohol poisoning, or even death. Women are at higher risk of damage to their health from alcohol, such as liver disease, breast cancer, or memory blackouts, than men. Women’s bodies contain less water than men’s bodies, which means if a man and woman of the same weight drink the same amount of alcohol, the woman will have a higher blood-alcohol level.


How do I know if I am abusing alcohol? People who binge drink, or drink heavily, are at risk of alcohol abuse. Heavy drinking is defined as: Men consuming more than 4 drinks on any day or more than 14 drinks per week; or women consuming more than 3 drinks on any day or more than 7 drinks per week. Have you had times when you ended up drinking more or longer than you intended? Have you wanted to drink so badly that you couldn’t think of anything else? Have you continued to drink even though it was causing problems with your work or family? Have you continued to drink even though it was making you more depressed or anxious, or making a health problem worse? These are all indicators you may be at risk of alcohol abuse.


Where can I get help? Southeast Health Group provides a wide array of services to support you in rethinking your drinking, including individual and group counseling, withdrawal management, medication assisted treatment, peer support services, and transitional residential treatment. It is very courageous to ask for help. Services are nonjudgmental and confidential. Call 1-800-511-5446 to request services.

To learn more, go to

www.rethinkingdrinking.niaaa.nih.gov.

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