How do I know if I have a drinking problem?

Beer

The question: I like to have a few drinks with dinner, but I drink almost every night. How do I know if I have a drinking problem?

It is perfectly reasonable to enjoy a beer with a burger, a glass of wine to wind down after a long day or even getting drunk on daiquiris during your Caribbean vacation. There is even documented medical research that suggests a drink or two daily may have certain healthy benefits in modifying risks for cancer or cardiovascular disease. On the other hand, public health research estimates that up to 30 percent of all Americans have abused alcohol at some point. So how do you draw the line between healthy and “problem” drinking?

Alcoholism and alcohol abuse are somewhat different health concerns associated with drinking. Both result from alcohol use interfering with health, family, occupation, relationships and financial or legal well-being.

Alcoholism results in physical addiction from excess alcohol intake and symptoms that might include tolerance to excess drinking, or withdrawal from cessation of alcohol use (tremors, nausea, vomiting, hallucinations, etc.)

Alcohol abuse causes illness or physical harm due to injury, or interferes with the responsibilities and activities of daily living, all without the signs of physical addiction. If you have fallen down drunk and hit your head, called in sick to work vomiting and dehydrated from a hangover or forgot to pick up your kids after school following a two-martini lunch date, then you have abused alcohol to some extent.

The bottom line is that if boozing messes up your relationships, empties your wallet, gets in the way of adult responsibilities or has your local law enforcement officer asking you to puff on a Breathalyzer, you drink too much. The amount of alcohol is not the determining factor. “I only had one drink” is not a valid excuse if your personality or judgment is affected in a way that makes you belligerent or unreliable. If you’ve ever wondered whether you drink too much, or a loved one or colleague has suggested as much, you likely have an alcohol-related problem that should be addressed.

There are a number of resources available if you need help. A good place to start is with your primary care physician or a mental health professional who may assess your individual circumstances and make recommendations for moderating alcohol intake or abstaining from alcohol altogether. Support from family and friends is also important, and organizations such a Al-Anon or Alcoholics Anonymous may be an option if you have an ongoing identified alcohol addiction.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Girl, 10, dies after being pulled from water…

A 10-year-old girl died after being pulled from the waters off Coney Island Beach in Brooklyn on Tuesday night, police said.

News

NY judge throws out lawsuit by Empire State…

A New York state judge has thrown out a lawsuit in which longtime investors in the Empire State Building claimed they were shortchanged out of hundreds of millions of dollars…

Local

Mysterious white flags appear over Brooklyn Bridge

Two white flags mysteriously appeared over the towers of the Brooklyn Bridge yesterday in place of the American flags that are a traditional fixture.

National

Judge sets January start for murder trial of…

By Elizabeth BarberBOSTON (Reuters) - Former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez will be tried in January for the murder of semi-professional football player Odin…

Arts

Don't miss 'Charles James: Beyond Fashion' at the…

Have you been meaning to see "Charles James: Beyond Fashion"? There are only two weeks left to get to the Met and catch this amazing American fashion designer's collection.

Television

Zac Posen talks 'Project Runway' and what it…

We talked to Zac Posen, judge and designer extraordinaire, about the new season of "Project Runway" and what keeps him coming back after three seasons.

Television

'Face Off' contestant David 'DOC' O'Connell sounds off…

David "DOC" O'Connell tells us about getting cast on Season 7 of Syfy's "Face Off," premiering tonight at 9.

Arts

PHOTO: Wildlife photographer Marc Mol captures amazing aerial…

This aerial image was taken by photographer Marc Mol who spotted the animals during an air safari in Zambia.

NFL

David Tyree hiring has gay rights advocates angry

Former Giants Super Bowl hero David Tyree will re-join the franchise as its new director of player development.

NFL

Ben McAdoo's new offense has Giants excited to…

Even Tom Coughlin feels he has a lot to learn about offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo’s new offense, which makes the veteran coach very excited.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead…

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead pack

NFL

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will…

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will win Super Bowl?

Tech

Learn Braille with these gloves

U.S. scientists have designed high-tech gloves to help users understand Braille in a matter of minutes.

Home

5 New Ikea products that will change your…

We round-up the latest must-have products.

Food

Recipe: Wolfgang Puck's Buttermilk French Toast

We recently spent some time chatting with restauranteur/celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck at his Wolfgang Puck American Grille in the Borgata in Atlantic City. Puck wanted…

Style

Go retro with your sneakers

The best of wacky new sneakers.