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Do I Have a Drinking Problem?

By Jude Vereyken, LMSW, CAADC  |  Apr 19, 2017

No one purposefully sets out to have problems when they begin to use alcohol. But excessive alcohol consumption is a risk factor for many health and social problems and is the third leading cause of preventable death in the U.S. 

Problem drinking can develop suddenly in response to a genetic predisposition or a stressful life change. Or it can creep up gradually as a person’s tolerance to alcohol increases.

The bottom line is how alcohol affects you. If drinking is causing problems in your life it’s likely you have a problem with your use of alcohol.

Any one of us can be at risk if we drink at excessive levels.

Binge drinking is the most common form of excessive drinking. For women a binge episode is consuming 4 or more drinks during a single occasion and for men 5 or more drinks.

Heavy drinking for women means consuming 8 or more drinks per week and 15 or more per week for men. One drink is considered 12-ounces of beer, or 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor.

Problems with alcohol use can sneak up on you, so it’s important to cut back your use if you are drinking at risky levels. It’s not always easy to recognize when your drinking has become a serious problem.

Warning signs you may have a serious problem include:

  • drinking more or longer than you intended to
  • needing more to get the same effect you want
  • trying to cut down or stop but can’t
  • spending a lot of time drinking
  • having cravings
  • drinking interferes with your family, friends, job or school
  • giving up or cutting back on activities you once enjoyed to drink
  • getting into situations when drinking that increase your chances of getting hurt—driving, using machinery, mixing with medications
  • not remembering events that happened when you were drinking

If you think you might have a problem a good place to start is to have a discussion your family doctor. Holland Hospital Behavioral Health Services provides assessment and treatment services to assist in achieving and maintaining abstinence from alcohol. To schedule an appointment call us at (616) 355-3926. You can stop in for a free brief alcohol screening to obtain a professional opinion about your use. We are located at 854 S. Washington Suite 330 in Holland. 

Do you see warning signs in your use of alcohol? Call us. We can help. 

Jude Vereyken, LMSW, CAADC

For 30 years, Jude has worked as an outpatient behavioral health clinician in the Holland community where she specializes in treating individuals (and family members) affected by substance use disorders; depression, anxiety and stress; grief/loss concerns; trauma histories; and adjustment and co-occurring disorders. Jude has a special interest in treating concerns that affect women’s lives. She lives in the Holland area with her husband and three very spoiled cats!

View All blogs by Jude Vereyken, LMSW, CAADC
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