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You may see yourself or a friend as “the life of the party,” but if you depend on alcohol to have a good time or to get through the day, that can be a sign that you need help.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) defines heavy drinking as the following:

  • For men, consuming more than 4 drinks on any day or more than 14 drinks per week
  • For women, consuming more than 3 drinks on any day or more than 7 drinks per week

Further, the NIAAA defines one drink¹ as:

  • 12 ounces of regular beer, which is usually about 5% alcohol
  • 5 ounces of wine, which is typically about 12% alcohol
  • 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits, which is about 40% alcohol

Alcohol use disorder (AUD), sometimes called alcoholism, means that you are unable to control your drinking or always preoccupied with thoughts of drinking. It can also mean that you need to drink more to get the same effect, or that you experience withdrawal symptoms when you stop drinking. Not only is this unhealthy for the person who is affected by AUD, it can be harmful to those around them. Even a mild condition can get worse and lead to more serious problems.

The Effects of Alcohol

Drinking too much can be harmful to your health. According to the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics, nearly 141,000 Americans die every year due to the effects of alcohol. Over time, excessive drinking can increase your risk of:

  • Unintentional injuries (like car accidents or falls)
  • Violence (like homicide or suicide)
  • Liver disease
  • Diseases of the central nervous system (like stroke or dementia)
  • Heart disease including coronary artery disease, atrial fibrillation (abnormal heart rhythm), high blood pressure, and congestive heart failure
  • Cancer (for example: breast, colorectal and liver)

It is important to recognize the signs of alcohol misuse or alcohol use disorder. This empowers you to make changes as early as possible. Having even a few symptoms can be a sign of a problem with alcohol. Answer the questions in this self-check tool to see if you or someone you know needs help.

Get Help

If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol, help is available. You are not alone. AUD is a medical condition that can be treated with counseling, medicine or support groups. Your Horizon plan offers inpatient, outpatient, in-office or virtual treatment options.

Call Horizon Behavioral Health today at 1-800-626-2212, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to learn more, and get started on your road to better health.


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