Am I drinking too much alcohol, Signs, Symptoms & Self Assessment


How much alcohol is too much?

Men and women should refrain from routinely consuming more than 14 units of alcohol each week. The quantity of pure alcohol that a typical healthy adult can digest in about an hour is equal to one UK unit, or 10ml (8g).

Examples of what one unit of alcohol looks like are as follows:

  • Lager – half a pint with 3.6% ABV
  • Single shot (25ml) of a spirit drink with 40% ABV
  • Half of a standard medium (175ml) glass of wine with 12% ABV

According to recommendations, these units should be spread out over three or more days for anyone who consumes the maximum amount for the week. It’s better to have a few days a week where you don’t drink if you want to reduce how much you consume.

Recent research has shown that no level of alcohol use can be completely regarded as “safe.”

Low-risk drinking advice

To reduce your chance of suffering alcohol-related harm:

  • It’s recommended that both men and women limit their weekly alcohol consumption to no more than 14 units.
  • It’s recommended to distribute your weekly alcohol consumption of up to 14 units evenly throughout three or more days. People who binge drink, even if not above the recommended amount, are also at risk of developing an addiction to alcohol.
  • Several alcohol-free days each week are a good idea if you’re trying to cut back on your alcohol use.
  • If you’re pregnant or attempting to get pregnant, the best way to limit dangers to your baby to a minimum is to avoid drinking at all.
  • Regular or frequent drinking entails consuming alcohol on a daily or weekly basis.
  • Drinking alcohol regularly in any amount raises the risk to your health.

Signs of alcohol abuse and addiction

Sometimes it’s difficult to tell whether you’re having too much alcohol. Unhealthy habits might develop gradually to the point where you don’t realise how they are affecting your mind and body until much later.

If you or someone else has expressed concern about your drinking, or if you have begun to worry that alcohol has become a problem for you, keep reading to learn the symptoms of addiction, why it’s critical to seek assistance before the problem gets completely out of control.

These are a few indications that someone might be having excessive alcohol consumption:

Physical signs of alcohol addiction

  • Constant or excessively tired feelings
  • Having regular headaches caused by dehydration
  • Intense sweating (also without physical activity)
  • Appetite changes, eventually with consequential weight changes
  • Insomnia
  • Withdrawal symptoms after stopping or reducing alcohol consumption

Psychological signs of alcohol addiction

  • Anxiety (new or an aggravated existing condition)
  • Depression (new or aggravated existing condition)
  • Mood swings
  • Memory problems
  • Paranoia
  • Hopelessness feelings
  • Intense cravings for alcohol

Behavioural signs of alcohol addiction

  • Drinking heavily alone regularly
  • Secretive or dishonest behaviour
  • Pass out after drinking
  • Drinking at inappropriate times (right after waking up, for example)
  • Withdrawing from social activities or responsibilities (work, home, school, etc.)
  • Concern about the drinking expressed by friends and family
  • Unable to cut down the alcohol consumption
  • Cravings affecting concentration

7 Subtle Signs of Alcohol Abuse

So how can you detect whether a problem is emerging? Here are some typical clues you could be headed for trouble. Not all the cues are the same for everyone, but everyone feels some of the following when they’re developing an alcohol abuse problem:

  • You set restrictions, but you can’t keep them.
  • Your friends make comments about your drinking.
  • Most of your plans involve drinking.
  • You turn to alcohol when you’re anxious.
  • Your own drinking is a concern for you.
  • Your doctor recons excessive drinking on you.
  • You frequently get a hangover when you wake up.

What are the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal?

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms (also known as AWS – Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome) can appear anywhere from 6 hours and a few days following your last drink. Typically, at least two of the following are present in alcohol withdrawal:

  • Headache
  • Irritability
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Sweating
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Tremors
  • Muscle twitching
  • Shaking
  • Tachycardia
  • Palpitations
  • Chills
  • Diarrhoea
  • Constipation
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Heart palpitations
  • Shortness of breath
  • High blood pressure

Some individuals’ symptoms may get worse over the course of two to three days, while others may experience lesser symptoms for weeks. When you wake up with less alcohol in your system, symptoms might be more obvious.

The most severe alcohol withdrawal condition is delirium tremens (DT). The following are its warning indications and symptoms:

  • Extreme confusion
  • Extreme agitation
  • Fever
  • Seizures
  • Tactile, auditory and visual hallucinations, such as experiencing a false sense of stinging, burning, numbness, perceiving imaginary pictures, etc.
  • Excessive sweating
  • Increased heart rate
  • High blood pressure
  • Fast respiration
  • Coma
  • In extreme cases, death

If you experience severe AWS symptoms, you should get care right away. Visit the emergency room or make a call for help. If you experience a high temperature, hallucinations, or heart palpitations, you should visit a doctor immediately.

What are the risks of alcohol addiction?

There are a number of negative impacts and risks that can have both immediate and long-term effects on your physical and mental health as well as your lifestyle if you continue to consume large amounts of alcohol.

Short-term risks of alcohol addiction

No matter how much we drink, alcohol has a very swift effect on us. You run the risk of experiencing any or all of the following short-term dangers when you consume alcohol heavily:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Vision problems
  • Passing out
  • Alcohol intoxication and poisoning

Long-term risks of alcohol addiction

Other longer-term dangers pose a major risk to your health and existence:

  • Liver damage
  • Cancer
  • High blood pressure
  • Nerve damage
  • Irreversible brain damage
  • Increased health risks involving the cardiovascular system

In addition, many people who battle alcoholism discover that their drinking strains their bonds with friends, family, and co-workers.

It’s crucial to be aware that losing control over your life, relationships, and obligations can get harder the longer you abuse alcohol.

How to get help for alcohol addiction

You should be pleased with yourself for taking the major step of admitting that you could have an alcohol problem. It is imperative that you speak with someone if you wish to cut back on your drinking. Enlisting emotional support will ensure that you have someone by your side as you take your initial steps toward recovery and will assist you in realising that you are not alone.

At specialised treatment centres, skilled professionals have helped many patients who were battling alcohol addiction, enabling them to live happier, more normal lives with a considerable reduction in their prior symptoms. Together with our partners, we provide a variety of treatment alternatives, including therapeutic support and alcohol detoxification, through a range of alcohol addiction treatment programmes and facilities.

Alcohol Addiction Treatment

The first step in every addiction treatment is to admit the problem. Only if a person knowledges their real situation is capable of committing to a treatment process and is able to sacrifice and make a real effort to overcome the addiction. A fulfilling alcohol-free life is possible for every addict when they devote themselves to a structured alcohol treatment plan.

A successful alcohol treatment strategy generally involves three phases:

  • Alcohol detox: where the body is freed of all alcohol-related toxins after a thorough full diagnosis of the person
  • Therapy: where the causes of addiction are addressed, and helpful techniques for dealing with triggers are learned. Therapies can include: individual counselling, group or family therapies, cognitive (or dialectical) behavioural therapy, alternative therapies, sport and art therapies, etc
  • Aftercare: continuous support after leaving therapy to help patients return to their daily lives

Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol detoxification

Clinical research and the most recent clinical advancements serve as the foundation for clinical practice. The residential alcohol addiction treatment programme would include the alcohol detox programme as a recommendation. Where necessary, the expert addiction consultants are highly experienced at providing carefully crafted, medically assisted alcohol detoxifications.

Residential alcohol addiction treatment

Although there are alternative lengths of stay available, most alcoholism addiction treatment programmes are intended to continue for 28 days. These programmes are offered in treatment centres, and they include both individual and group treatment sessions within a daily structure.

Some therapies are based on the 12-Step paradigm, which emphasises recovery via abstinence and lays forth guiding principles. They might also provide free 12-month family support and family counselling as part of their private rehab programmes (depending on the facility or care provider individuals choose).

Outpatient/day-care alcohol addiction treatment

The outpatient therapy programmes are offered at a number of facilities throughout the UK. Some facilities can also provide services in a day-care setting, allowing patients to complete a comprehensive treatment plan over a number of full or half days while still having the option to go home in the evenings.

Get in contact with us right now for a free, no-obligation evaluation if you’d like to learn more about the support that specialists can offer you. This will offer you a chance to speak with our staff and learn more about the treatment plan that will work best for you and your recovery.

Alcohol Addiction Relapse Prevention

Recovering is not simple. However, if you’re prepared to change, you can give up alcohol and still enjoy a happy life. Here are some pointers for thriving following treatment:

Learn to Refuse.

Consider whether what you wish to accomplish will benefit you personally or only someone else. If you decide to move forward with something, be sure alcohol is not a part of it.

Sleep Well.

Attempt to get seven hours or more each night. You are more likely to drink if you are sleep deprived.

Eat Healthily.

Skip the fast food. Make sure to consume nutritional foods that make you feel full. Avoid sugar and coffee as well because they can impact your mood and make you need more food.

Practise Exercise.

Regular exercise lowers anxiety and boosts confidence. Five times a week, aim for 30 minutes of moderate exercise.

Take care of yourself.

Keep your hair and skin in good shape. Wash your clothing often. Keep your home organised and cleaned.

Stay connected.

Find things to do with friends and family that you enjoy. Don’t isolate yourself: look for those who don’t consume alcohol.

Take time off.

Stress makes it difficult to sustain sobriety. Take a break from drinking. Take a weekend or vacation trip or plan regular vacation days.

Keep busy.

Maintain your participation in work, school, hobbies, athletics, and religious initiatives. They improve alcohol diversion.

Look for help when You Need it.

Ask your doctor or therapist for advice if you have any questions about managing stress. Alateen, Alcoholics Anonymous, or other local organisations might be able to support you. You can also call us on 0800 999 1083 for confidential help and to discuss treatment options.

Last Edited: September 19th, 2022
Clinically Reviewed: July 26, 2022
Clinical Reviewer


BACP accredited psychotherapist with 16 years experience working in mental health specialising in psychodynamic person-centred therapies treating those with a range of mental health disorders including anxiety, depression, OCD and Addiction.