Users' questions

Why do I drink to excess?

Why do I drink to excess?

Alcohol problems come from drinking too much, too fast, or too often. People with alcohol dependence are addicted to alcohol, and they can’t control their drinking. When alcohol-dependent people try to stop drinking, they may feel anxious and irritable—so they may drink some more, and it becomes a vicious cycle.

Is it possible to control your alcohol intake?

For some drinkers, controlled drinking or moderate drinking is an option, and for a small portion of the population, about 5%, controlled drinking is nearly impossible.

What’s the best way to limit your drinking?

Set a drinking goal. Set a limit on how much you will drink. You should keep your drinking below the recommended guidelines: no more than one standard drink per day for women and for men ages 65 and older, and no more than two standard drinks per day for men under 65.

When do you think your drinking is out of control?

When many people are asked about their drinking habits, they dismiss concerns as irrational. You might say that you drink just as much as everyone else does, that you can stop drinking whenever you want, and that your drinking is not excessive. But over time you may start to doubt yourself and question if your drinking has gotten out of control.

What happens if you don’t get help for your drinking problem?

It labels people “alcoholics” for life and creates undue shame and stigma around seeking help when most people who over-drink aren’t alcoholics and simply want to drink less. It takes the individual’s power to decide to change away, then the 90%+ who fail treatment believe not only that they are powerless, but that they can’t ever succeed.

Can a person control how much alcohol they drink?

One of the symptoms of alcoholism is that once you start drinking you cannot predict or control how much alcohol you will end up consuming. The vast majority of alcoholics who talk themselves into thinking they can return to “normal” drinking find that they quickly return to unsafe or binge drinking.

Can a person with a drinking problem have just one drink?

For years, the answer was assumed to be no, there is no room for “just one drink” for anyone with a drinking problem. Today, there are programs like Moderation Management, which do allow for a certain level of controlled drinking and have helped many learn to drink safely.

Why are some people not able to control their drinking?

Moderate drinkers do not have superhero powers or huge reserves of willpower. Instead, their drinking is likely to be controlled by other factors. For example, some people don’t like feeling drunk or out of control. They actively avoid that sensation rather than chase it.

Can a person who is not an alcoholic drink moderately?

Social drinkers don’t do that. But alcoholics do. “It could be that you’re not an alcoholic, but remember that more than one drink per day for a woman or two drinks per day for a man is risking health problems. Can you moderate to one drink per day and perhaps a couple occasionally? Or will there be times when you can’t control it and binge?