HEALTH

6 Signs You Drink Too Much Alcohol

  • You Become A Daredevil
    1 / 6 You Become A Daredevil

    Anyone who’s seen their normally shy co-worker dancing on the bar at the company party knows drinking can lower inhibitions. Getting drunk can come with repercussions far worse than feeling embarrassed—it can lead to risky decisions.

    “Drinking too much on just one occasion can change your life for the worse,” says Gregory A. Smith, M.D., an addiction specialist at the Comprehensive Pain Relief Group in Los Angeles.

    Alcohol is also a factor in approximately 60 percent of fatal burn injuries and drownings, 40 percent of fatal falls and car accidents, and half of all sexual assaults, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). 

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  • You're A Weekend Warrior
    2 / 6 You're A Weekend Warrior

    If you don’t drink daily but are drinking regularly, such as every Friday night, that’s a red flag, says Smith.

    While research shows that having about seven alcoholic beverages per week lowers your risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease, abstaining all week only to guzzle five or six glasses in a single sitting negates any of alcohol’s potential health benefits.

    Related: 5 Beer Myths You Didn’t Know About

    Moreover, binge drinking can raise blood pressure and interfere with certain medications. 

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  • You Don't Know Your Limits
    3 / 6 You Don't Know Your Limits

    Have you ever told yourself you were going to have only a drink or two at happy hour, and before you knew it you’d downed four?

    One of the clues that you may be a binge drinker is not knowing your limits—or feeling surprised when you’ve “suddenly” passed them.

    Like diabetes, heart disease, and other health problems, drinking problems develop gradually. That’s why it’s smart to reevaluate your drinking habits regularly by writing down how much you drink and when. That will make it easier to rein yourself in if you’re starting to get a little out of control. 

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  • Your Memory Has Temporarily Gone Missing
    4 / 6 Your Memory Has Temporarily Gone Missing

    Alcohol affects everyone differently, depending on your genes, what, if any, medications you’re taking, as well as whether you just ate a big meal (food slows the absorption of alcohol in your bloodstream).

    Still, researchers speculate that heavy drinking interferes with how you remember by disrupting a key brain messenger called glutamate, which is linked to memory.

    That means if you have ever “forgotten” parts of the night until your drinking buddies reminded you, or have woken up foggy as to how you got home and into bed, you’ve definitely had one (or three) too many.

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  • You Let Some Responsibilities Slide
    5 / 6 You Let Some Responsibilities Slide

    “Drinking is a problem when you notice that you’ve started to neglect things that are important to you for the sake of alcohol,” says Keith Humphreys, Ph.D., from the VA/Stanford University Center for Health Care Evaluation in Palo Alto, California.

    Maybe you’re normally a dedicated parent, but a Saturday night buzz means you have trouble putting the kids to bed. Or you skip your Monday morning workout because you feel hungover from the weekend.

    Related: 3 Ways To Avoid A Hangover After Drinking

    When drinking is prioritized over your normal day-to-day life, you’re probably in the danger zone.

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  • People Close To You Seem Concerned
    6 / 6 People Close To You Seem Concerned

    If your family, friends, or co-workers have hinted (or flat-out vocalized) that they’re worried about you, it’s time to cut back.

    “The first step is to recognize that you’re drinking more than you should, and then to set some goals for yourself,” says Deidra Roach, M.D., from the NIAAA.

    Tell your partner or friend what your drinking limit is going to be before you go to an event where alcohol is free flowing. This makes it easier to say no to the next drink, because you’re being held accountable by someone else.

    “And if you’re afraid to ask people if you drink too much, that’s probably a sign that you’re overdoing it, too” says Humphreys.

    Words by Holly C. Corbett

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