There are plenty of reasons people may drink more during the Christmas holidays. Christmas parties, presents that included alcohol, family times that cause a bit of stress and anxiety, and more. And people may be off work, so they consider it “holiday time” and give themselves a little leeway.
But what happens when it feels like maybe it is getting to be a bit much?
It is an important question to ask: did I drink too much over the holiday? Even more, is my drinking becoming a problem?
What Is Considered Too Much Drinking?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), moderate alcohol consumption is defined as up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men. Of course, “a drink” can mean something different for each person.
So they define a drink as 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits.
Then there is binge drinking. This also happens over they holidays.
Excessive alcohol consumption, also known as binge drinking, is defined as consuming four or more drinks within a two-hour period for women and five or more drinks within a two-hour period for men. Binge drinking can increase the risk of short-term and long-term health problems, including liver damage, heart disease, and certain cancers.
Either binge drinking or drinking more than what the CDC considers moderate could be a symptom of problem drinking and may indicate some degree of dependency or AUD.
What is AUD?
Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a medical condition characterized by a pattern of alcohol use that is harmful to the individual or others. It is also known as alcoholism or alcohol addiction. Symptoms of AUD can include a strong desire or craving to drink alcohol, difficulty controlling the amount of alcohol consumed, and continuing to drink despite negative consequences. AUD is a serious condition that can have a number of negative impacts on an individual.
Did I Drink Too Much or Am I an Alcoholic?
Here are 12 signs that someone may have an alcohol use disorder:
- Drinking more or for longer periods of time than intended
- Inability to cut down or stop drinking despite wanting to
- Spending a significant amount of time drinking or recovering from the effects of alcohol
- Craving alcohol or feeling a strong desire to drink
- Struggling to fulfill work, school, or family responsibilities due to drinking
- Continuing to drink despite negative consequences, such as relationship problems or legal issues
- Giving up important social, occupational, or recreational activities because of drinking
- Drinking in dangerous situations, such as while driving or operating heavy machinery
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms, such as tremors, irritability, or insomnia, when not drinking
- Tolerance, or needing to drink more to feel the effects of alcohol
- Using alcohol to cope with problems or to relieve negative emotions
- Alcohol becoming the central focus of a person’s life
If you or someone you know exhibits several of these signs, it may be worth considering seeking professional help for an alcohol use disorder. A healthcare provider or mental health professional can help assess the severity of the problem and recommend appropriate treatment options.
Are There Medications for Alcohol Addiction?
Vivitrol (naltrexone) is a medication that is used to treat alcohol addiction and dependence. It works by blocking the effects of alcohol on the brain, which can reduce cravings and help prevent relapse.
When someone with an alcohol addiction drinks, the alcohol activates the brain’s reward system, causing the release of pleasure-inducing chemicals like dopamine. This can reinforce the behavior of drinking and make it difficult for the person to stop.
Vivitrol works by blocking the brain’s receptors for these pleasure-inducing chemicals, so the person does not experience the same pleasurable effects when they drink. This can help reduce the desire to drink and make it easier for the person to abstain from alcohol.
If you are in need of help with a possible addiction to alcohol, call us today. Our team can explain the use of medication for AUD and how an outpatient alcohol detox may be the right option for you or your loved one.