Kim Morgan from The Houston Chronicle ran a story on Thursday about looking at the effects of alcohol on you. The authors suggests that if you have to drink alcohol to unwind, relax or take the edge off on a regular basis that, these are signs of a path from social drinker to someone who abuses alcohol. The important distinction is that it is NOT necessarily how much you drink, it is more about whether your drinking is causing a problem.
Take a few moments to ask yourself about the negative effects of alcohol in your life. Do you tend to be more irritable when having had a few? Fight more? Get depressed or moody? Have trouble sleeping, so you drink?
The definition and diagnosis of alcoholism has two distinct types. Someone can abuse alcohol and have a dependency. Alcohol abuse is periodic/excessive or binge drinking with an inability to stop.
Alcohol dependence is characterized by drinking on a daily basis and requiring alcohol to get through the day. I have done assessments of some people drinking anywhere from a pint a day starting first thing in the morning to a gallon of vodka a day to maintain their tolerance level.
In doing couple’s counseling, we find that one of the most significant triggers of emotional or physical abuse is predominately associated with alcohol. The article states that a good test to determine your relationship to alcohol is to see how long you can go without alcohol. My belief is that “if your partner complains about your drinking”, you have to take a look at your attitudes and behaviors related to use or abuse of alcohol and do something about it. Another risk factor is determined if you have a genetic predisposition. If you have a parent or grandparent that is alcoholic, you have five times higher risk than someone who has no addiction in the family.