Having Trouble Drinking in Moderation?
Alcohol-related problems — which result from drinking too much, too fast, or too often — are among the most significant public health issues.
Many people struggle with controlling their drinking at some time in their lives. Approximately17 million adults ages 18 and older have an alcohol use disorder (AUD)and 1 in 10 children live in a home with a parent who has a drinking problem.
Does Treatment Work?
The good news is that no matter how severe the problem may seem, most people with an alcohol use disorder can benefit from some form of treatment.
Research shows that about one-third of people who are treated for alcohol problems have no further symptoms 1 year later. Many others substantially reduce their drinking and report fewer alcohol-related problems.
Signs of an Alcohol Problem
Alcohol use disorder (AUD)is a medical condition that doctors diagnose when a patient’s drinking causes distress or harm. The condition can range from mild to severe and is diagnosed when a patient answers “yes” to two or more of the following questions.
In the past year, have you:
- Had times when you ended up drinkingmore, or longerthan you intended?
- More than once wanted tocut down or stop drinking, or tried to, but couldn’t?
- Spent alot of timedrinking? Or being sick or getting over the aftereffects?
- Experiencedcraving— a strong need, or urge, to drink?
- Found that drinking — or being sick from drinking — ofteninterfered with taking careof yourhomeorfamily? Or causedjobtroubles? Orschoolproblems?
- Continued to drink even though it was causingtroublewith yourfamilyorfriends?
- Given uporcut backonactivitiesthat were important or interesting to you, or gave you pleasure, in order to drink?
- More than once gotten into situations while or after drinking thatincreased your chances of getting hurt(such as driving, swimming, using machinery, walking in a dangerous area, or having unsafe sex)?
- Continued to drink even though it was making you feeldepressed or anxiousor adding toanother health problem? Or after having had amemory blackout?
- Had todrink much morethan you once did toget the effectyou want? Or found that yourusual numberof drinks hadmuch less effectthan before?
- Found that when the effects of alcohol were wearing off, youhad withdrawal symptoms, such as trouble sleeping, shakiness, irritability, anxiety, depression, restlessness, nausea, or sweating? Or sensed things that were not there?
If you have any of these symptoms, your drinking may already be a cause for concern. The more symptoms you have, the more urgent the need for change. A health professional can conduct a formal assessment of your symptoms to see if an alcohol use disorder is present.
For more information about substance abuse and addictions, the following resources may be helpful.
- What is Substance Abuse? WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/addiction/substance-abuse#1
- Understanding and Finding Help for Substance Abuse. Canadian Mental Health Association. https://ontario.cmha.ca/documents/understanding-and-finding-help-for-substance-abuse/
- Canada’s Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines. Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction. http://www.ccsa.ca/Resource%20Library/2012-Canada-Low-Risk-Alcohol-Drinking-Guidelines-Brochure-en.pdf
- Ontario’s Drug and Alcohol Helpline. http://www.drugandalcoholhelpline.ca
- Parent Action on Drugs (PAD). http://parentactionondrugs.org
- Mental Health and Addiction Index. Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). https://www.camh.ca/en/health-info/mental-illness-and-addiction-index
- Government of Canada — Talking about Drugs
The contents on Avail such as text, graphics, images, and information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this or any other website.