Is Alcohol a Problem for You?

Copyright 1999 by the American Academy of Family Physicians

NOTE: Experts define one drink in this way:

  • One 12 ounce can of beer or bottled wine cooler
  • One 5 ounce glass of wine, or
  • One shot of hard liquor (1.5 oz.)

Is alcohol a problem for you?

You are thought to have adrinking problem when drinking causes problems in your life or health. Drinking alcohol affects your judgement, energy level, work performance and health. Even small amounts of alcohol may be a problem if you:

  • Have short or long term health problems
  • Are taking medicines (even over the counter or herbal medicines)
  • Have people in your family who have a problem with alcohol
  • Have had problems with your life or health because of alcohol
  • Feel down or depressed

What is a sensible drinking limit?

If you don’t have any of the problems listed above, it is probably safe for you to drink a limited amount of alcohol without affecting your health. A sensible drinking limit for people who don’t have a problem with alcohol is:

  • For men, no more than two drinks per day
  • For women, no more than one drink per day
  • For people over 65 years old, no more than one drink per day

Is alcohol causing a problem in your life?

  • Have your family or friends ever complained about your drinking?
  • Have you been absent or late for work or school because of hangovers?
  • Have you ever driven an automobile after drinking?
  • Have you had trouble with the law after drinking?
  • Have you gotten into a fight after drinking?
  • Do you drink even when you don’t feel well?
  • Have you ever tried to quit drinking?
  • Have you ever had a blackout while drinking?
  • Do you sometimes have a drink in the morning to ease a hangover?
  • Do you end up drinking more than you meant to drink?
  • Have you ever stopped doing things you used to do because you would rather drink?
  • Do you drink more than you used to?

If you said yes to any of these questions, drinking may be a problem for you.

What should you do?

Some people may be able to handle a problem with alcohol by drinking less. However, you will probably have to quit drinking completely if it is causing problems with your health or life. If you try to quit drinking and have trouble, there is help. Your counselor or doctor can help you choose a program that is right for you. Call the University Counseling Center at 448-4080, or visit us at 224 Elkins Hall.