The Difference Between Drinking Too Much and Addiction
Alcohol is a socially acceptable activity within western society, as many people choose to have a drink or two on occasion during a social gathering or as a way to unwind after a long day. Sometimes, this can lead to drinking too much, as a few cocktails can eventually lead to one too many, leaving someone overly intoxicated and in for a rough wake up call the next morning. However, it’s important to distinguish between drinking too much and addiction, as there are significant differences between the two.
What Defines Excessive Drinking
According to Dr. Robert Brewer, Alcohol Program Lead at the Centers for Disease Control and prevention, excessive drinking encompasses several groups of people. This is because excessive drinking is dependent upon varying factors which can change due to the specific user. Excessive drinking, sometimes called binge drinking, covers men who have more than five drinks on one occasion and also applies to women who have more than four drinks at one time. The number of drinks which defines excessive drinking is different for men and women because women tend to have less water in their bodies and they also absorb and metabolize alcohol differently than men.
Excessive drinking can also be defined by men who consume more than 15 drinks during a week period and women who drink more than eight during the same time-frame. In addition to adults who drink an exorbitant amount of alcohol, excessive drinking also applies to anyone who consumes alcohol under the age of 21. Also, pregnant women who have a single drink constitutes excessive drinking, as drinking alcohol during pregnancy is advised against by the medical community.
When Excessive Drinking Becomes an Addiction
Drinking an excessive amount of beers, wine or cocktails can happen on occasion to anyone who consumes alcohol with a degree of regularity. A night out with friends or a special occasion can develop into drinking too much, leaving a person intoxicated beyond a healthy degree of moderate alcohol consumption. However, if this develops into a consistent pattern which leads to dependency, this is a sign an occasional occurrence has turned into an addiction.
There are some telltale signs to be aware of which can indicate that a person is addicted to alcohol. Regularly blacking out during with a period of short-term memory loss is a strong signal that one’s drinking has started to become concerning. Another symptom of alcohol addiction is when a person begins to exhibit irritability as well as experiencing extreme mood swings as a result of drinking. Drinking by one’s self in secret, making excuses for one’s drinking, isolating from friends and family in favor of alcohol, and choosing drinking over important obligations and responsibilities are all indications that an alcohol addiction has developed.
Excessive drinking can happen to a person who decides to overdo it during an isolated occasion, and is not necessarily a cause for alarm or a sign that an individual is addicted to alcohol. Nevertheless, it is important to be aware of how an occasional behavior can eventually develop into a serious addiction if left unchecked.
A serious alcohol dependence can lead to negative health outcomes in many areas of a person’s health, and it’s crucial to become as proactive as possible when treating this illness. Early recognition and detection of alcohol dependence can make the recovery and behavior reversal process more attainable.
Seeking Help When Your Excessive Drinking Becomes Something More
If you have noticed that your occasional excessive drinking has progressed to become a noticeable dependence, it’s time to consider seeking outside help to address this issue. Alcohol addiction can be incredibly difficult to overcome without any external support or guidance, and receiving treatment can provide the recipe for recovery that an individual dealing with addiction desperately needs. Professional alcohol addiction counseling can provide immense benefits and increase one’s chances of overcoming their dependence.
Springboard Recovery’s treatment center offers a stable environment to make this stressful life change bearable, especially during a period where a person will be most vulnerable to relapse. Our treatment facilities provide a controlled space to restrict a person’s potential temptations and reduce the possibility of engaging in the undesired activity. Seeking professional assistance can also offer invaluable insight into the root causes of why the addiction developed and what are some healthy alternatives which can provide a beneficial outcome in place of using alcohol.
If you or someone you love is battling alcohol addiction and want a strategy for tackling this often debilitating dependence, contact Springboard Recovery to begin the recovery and healing process. We help individuals who are struggling with addiction find a way to turn their downward spiral of alcohol abuse into an upward spiral of recovery. Our team of professionals understand that not every addiction is the same and we work with our clients to develop a personalized treatment plan which is uniquely tailored to their specific needs.