Drinking alcohol everyday - when does it become an addiction?
If you are drinking alcohol every day, this in itself doesn't suggest that you have a drinking problem or an addiction. The UK Chief Medical Officers' guidelines for both men and women states that to keep possible health risks from alcohol to a low level, it is safest to drink no more than 14 units a week on a regular basis.
If you drink alcohol every day and find that you regularly go above 14 units on a weekly basis, this could be a sign of an alcohol problem or addiction. Factors such as the amount you drink, the reasons why you do so, your feelings and emotions towards alcohol, and your ability to stop will all determine where your problem with alcohol may reside.
Questions to ask yourself
If you are worried about the fact that you are drinking alcohol every day, think about the following questions:
- Have you ever felt that you should cut down on your drinking?
- Have people ever annoyed you by criticising 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?
If you answered 'yes' to any of the questions, this could a possible sign of an alcohol problem.
Signs and symptoms that could suggest an alcohol problem
There are emotional signals that can suggest that someone has an alcohol problem. These include:
- Feeling irritable
- Mood swings with temper outbursts
- Feeling tearful and emotionally tired
- Clouded judgement
You may also be aware of the following in your day-to-day life:
- Regularly drinking for stress relief
- Increased tolerance towards alcohol, where you have to drink more units and more regularly to feel the effects
- Being more angry, anxious, stressed or depressed than usual, as alcohol addiction can exasperate pre-existing conditions
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you haven’t drank alcohol for a certain period of time. These can include fatigue, nausea, anxiety, shakiness or emotional volatility
- Feeling clammy and sweating for no reason
- Weight loss or gain due to a lack of or increase in appetite caused by consuming alcohol
- Headaches caused by dehydration, a side effect of excessive alcohol consumption
- Tiredness and lack of sleep due to headaches, dehydration and nausea
- Caring less about your responsibilities, such as your work attendance and performance
- Hiding your drinking from others
- Reinstatement after abstinence
These symptoms will vary in severity from person-to-person, but if you find that you are displaying some of the signs, you may want to consider getting specialist help.
Claire Rimmer, the Lead Addictions Therapist at Priory Hospital in Altrincham says: "Recognising you have an alcohol problem can be very difficult to acknowledge. There is a solution though, and at Priory we can help you find that solution and live your life free of the difficulties you are experiencing."
Recovering from alcohol abuse
Priory's specialist alcohol services have helped many people to successfully overcome their dependence on alcohol.
There are several types of treatment that we offer, which are delivered according to your individual needs. These include alcohol rehabilitation, counselling for alcoholism, abstinence and alcohol detox. Priory also provides a tailored 1:1 outpatient therapy package for alcoholism.