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5 Signs You’re Drinking A Little Too Much

5 Signs You’re Drinking A Little Too Much

A glass of wine with dinner, just one more beer for the road, a misty memory of the evening before. How do you know if the amount you are drinking is starting to get out of control?

Here are the five key signs that you are drinking to excess.

1. I need a drink…

You can’t say no to a drink, you crave alcohol and cannot wait for that 6 o’clock glass of wine or bottle of beer.

There is a point when having a social drink is not enough, you just need to have a drink. What started as a way to relax and put a stressful day behind you is now something you must do to relax.

2. I need to drink more to feel the same buzz…

Just that one drink is no longer enough, you need at least two or three beers to get the same effect or you find you are no longer putting the bottle of wine back in the fridge. As with any addiction you body will build up a tolerance and there is a risk you can slip into alcohol dependency.

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There are different levels of dependence and it may not necessarily involve drinking excessively, you can start with a psychological dependence, the ‘I need a drink’ feeling  or believing ‘I cannot relax without a drink’. Sadly this can all too quickly become a physical dependence where your body will show physical symptoms including shaking, sweating or nausea if you do not have alcohol in your system.

3. I have a drink most days…

Social drinking is perfectly acceptable, but when you find you are drinking most days, you need to consider if you have a problem. The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism states ‘”men should not exceed 4 drinks per day or a total of 14 per week and women should not exceed 3 drinks a day or a total of 7 per week”. The American Heart Association suggest even lower levels stating that “men should not exceed 2 units/day and women should not to exceed 1 unit/day to stay healthy.”

You need to be particularly careful when you drink at home, a single unit of alcohol is classed as a measure of spirits, half a pint of average strength lager or two-thirds of a 125 ml glass of wine. Outside of the controlled measures of a bar, it is easy to find yourself serving much more than a unit and slip into drinking more than you think you are.

4. I drink alone…

Finding yourself reaching for a drink when you are by yourself could be a sign of a problem. Research has shown that drinking alone can be linked to heavier drinking and a greater risk of addiction.

There is nothing wrong with enjoying a drink at home, but be aware when you find you are regularly drinking when you are alone.

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5. I don’t have a problem with drink… Honestly…

Denial can be a big sign, if you find you cannot admit you are drinking too much. When you hear yourself saying ‘I’m not that bad…’ or ‘I just have a drink or two,’ consider if this really is the truth.

This is where friends or partners can be vital to help you. Admitting you have an issue is a massive step but can be helped by those around you helping you see your drinking is becoming an issue. If your partner or friend is in denial your role in helping them recognise and acknowledge the issue is vital. You can be pivotal in getting them on the road to recovery.

What are the risks of alcohol?

There are many health risks associated with long-term alcohol abuse. These include high blood pressure, risk of stroke, liver disease, fertility problems, impotence and an increased risk of cancer.

To understand the risks of drinking, the following is what will happen to your body as you drink more alcohol:

  • Moderate drinking – 1 – 2 units

You may notice an increase in your heart rate and your blood vessels expand. You will become more sociable and talkative.

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  • 4 – 6 units

The alcohol starts to cause a reaction within your brain, with your judgement and decision making gets affected. You may start to feel more reckless and uninhibited. Your coordination and reaction time are reduced.

  • Heavy Drinking –  8 – 9 units

Your speech begins to slur and you may suffer from blurred vision. The alcohol is unlikely to be out of your body overnight so you will most likely wake with a hangover.

  • Excessive Drinking – 10 – 12 units

Your coordination will be seriously impaired and you are at a serious risk of having an accident. You may feel drowsy and depressed due to large amounts of alcohol in your bloodstream.

Of course, in addition, you need to consider the cost of alcohol and the large numbers of empty calories contained.

How to get back in control…

If you realise you are drinking too much you can take steps to recover, the first stage is to acknowledge you are drinking too much and to be willing to make a change. If you are at an early stage, you can look to reduce your alcohol intake and give your body time to recover.

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Having a break from alcohol can help you greatly. Research by University College London has seen individuals who gave up alcohol for four weeks notice improvements to their liver function, blood pressure and cholesterol levels and were also at lower risk of developing diabetes and liver disease. A break from alcohol can be useful to ‘reset’ your drinking levels and detox. Your body and your wallet will thank you!

However, if you are alcohol dependent, you may find that a sudden reduction may cause withdrawal symptoms including nausea, sweating, a craving for alcohol and shaking. Here it is best to seek professional advice before attempting to cut down on your intake. In this way, you can be advised of a sensible programme to reduce and then eliminate your dependency safely.

Enjoy life, in control

Nobody is denying that a drink with friends or family is a great way to enjoy an evening, or that a glass of wine with a meal is anything but positive. However, it is all about recognising how much is too much and to enjoy yourselves without needing alcohol.

Learn more about drinking in popular culture with the sober drinking game, where you can learn what famous people from William Shakespeare to Dudley Moore said about drinking!

Cheers!

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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