What makes an alcoholic, and how much is too much


Alcohol has become an important part of modern society, and indeed, it has always existed. It serves as an important ingredient during socialization or celebrations. However, for as long as alcohol has existed, alcoholism, or binge drinking has also been a major part of society. Alcoholism is a disease that can cause major concerns for the individual and their families but exactly how much alcohol is too much?


The effect of alcohol varies from person to person and normal drinking habits of one person could be considered bordering binge drinking for another. Then there is a concern about why one turns to drinking, often gambling away everything from their health and finances to family and dreams.  The only way out of this situation is to go seek professional help.

Do health, gender, age or family history matter.  Do potential alcoholics realize that they are undertaking a risky proposition every time they pick up their glass? Let’s have a look at what makes an alcoholic and why.

How much Alcohol is too much- at what consequences?

To fully comprehend the dangerous effects of alcohol one must first understand how Alcohol works.  The very first sip ensures that the alcohol has entered the bloodstream and from then on it can take anywhere from 8-10 minutes to get a buzz.  How much do you have to drink to be considered an alcoholic?

 Again, that depends on the size and endurance of the individual but with each sip the blood alcohol concentration rises, which starts causing impairment. This is the drunken state-or intoxication and it results in slurred speech, confusion, memory problems in the short term.

The loss of inhibition is what the person craves but it results in social issues ranging from automobile incidents to brawls and antisocial behavior.  Alcohol often leads to death by suicide and is considered a major cause for many unintentional and accidental deaths. How much alcohol is too much for an individual is usually underestimated by most.

Alcohol related statistics


These are some depressing reading: According to the National Institute of Alcohol abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA); a staggering 86.4 percentage of Americans above 18 have had alcohol at some point of their lives. Out of them, 26.9% have indulged in binge drinking.

How much alcohol is too much?

A startling data states that 5.1 million kids between 12 and 20 have indulged in binge drinking just in the past month. Globally things do not fare much better- every year the number of people that die due to alcohol related causes is close to 88,000. In 2014 alone, there were almost 10,000 automobile fatalities due to drunk driving.

According to another research study, alcohol was the fifth leading cause of unnatural death worldwide. It is the leading cause of death for people between 15 and 49. Normal drinking habits may seem alright but they often develop into full blown addiction which is the cause of such drastic numbers in recent years.

Why does one become an alcoholic?

social pressure

Reasons as to why one becomes a binge drinker can vary from something as redundant as social pressure to genetics and psychological makeup of the individual. In fact more than 50% of alcohol related cases are genetic. It isn’t about how much do you have to drink to be considered an alcoholic but how often do you think about alcohol that determines your psychological predisposition towards developing an addiction.

A lack of self control and getting a lot of mixed messages as far as drinking goes also helps in getting addicted without realizing. Also, because it is so readily available alcohol often becomes the go to solution for most people who suffer setbacks or trauma at certain times in their lives. How much alcohol is too much? The majority of alcoholics often end up with mental disabilities, financial troubles and bad interpersonal relationships. It is a tragedy.

Recommended levels- or how much is too much?

So exactly how many drinks a week is considered an alcoholic? Well, according to the NIAAA no more than four drinks in a day and not more than 14 in a week is considered low risk drinking. What this means is this is still a risk and you should try to keep it less than this.

According to the Institute just having one binge drinking session a month can increase your chances of having an alcohol disorder by 20% and if this happens on a weekly basis the chances jump up to 33%. How much alcohol is too much also depends a lot on gender and women should be having even less than the numbers mentioned above. Of course when they are pregnant it is suggested to completely withdraw from any alcohol intake. Last but not the least- young people under 18 years of age must abstain from alcohol outright.

Steps to recovery


Before the recovery process, the most essential thing that plays a vital role are the methods of diagnosing the alcohol levels in a patient. There are steps to recovery one can undertake if they wish to quit binge drinking, or even becoming a complete teetotaler. First is to realize that you are an addict. How many drinks a week is considered an alcoholic? Anywhere approaching 12 drinks weekly (or roughly a glass and a half daily) should make you realign your priorities.

Next step is to get support- This could mean looking for rehab or Alcohol anonymous options or even going to a doctor and looking things online. Then comes the detox phase- which is where your willpower comes into play. Every day you must make a decision to abstain from alcohol usage to some degree or another.

The notion of how much alcohol is too much shouldn’t even arise- complete abstinence is the only path towards getting clean. This is a tough act, but totally doable and many have successfully recovered and lead a normal healthy life.

Final thoughts

So, in final thoughts the question arises- How much alcohol is too much?

The best remedy is complete abstinence but since it is hard to be a teetotaler one can, and should measure their drinking habits. Alcohol has a drastic effect on the mind and the body, which is not perceived; well by either individuals or society.

If you are a binge drinker, it is a responsibility to have a sound knowledge of the risks involved. There is a reason alcoholism has been seen as a devilish act or something of a character deficit in all of human history, throughout many cultures- It takes over you and owns you. Better to stay safe and informed.

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