Causes, incidence, and risk factors
How much you drink
can influence your chances
of becoming dependent
There is no known cause of alcohol abuse or alcoholism. Research suggests that certain genes may increase the risk of alcoholism, but which genes and how they work are not known. How much you drink can influence your chances of becoming dependent. Those at risk for developing alcoholism include:
- Men who have 15 or more drinks a week.
- Women who have 12 or more drinks a week.
- Anyone who has five or more drinks per occasion at least once a week.
- One drink is defined as a 12-ounce bottle of beer, a 5-ounce glass of wine, or a 1 1/2-ounce shot of liquor.
- You have an increased risk for alcohol abuse and dependence if you have a parent with alcoholism.
Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Abuse
- Continue to drink, even when health, work, or family are being harmed.
- Become violent when drinking.
- Are not able to control drinking — being unable to stop or reduce alcohol intake.
- Make excuses to drink.
- Miss work or school, or have a decrease in performance because of drinking.
- Stop taking part in activities because of alcohol.
- Need to use alcohol on most days to get through the day.
- Try to hide alcohol use.
- Memory lapses after heavy drinking.
- Needing more and more alcohol to feel “drunk”.
- Alcohol withdrawal symptoms when you haven’t had a drink for a while.
The following questions are used by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism to screen for alcohol abuse or dependence:
- Do you ever drive when you have been drinking?
- Do you have to drink more than before to get drunk or feel the desired effect?
- Have you felt that you should cut down on your drinking?
- Have you ever had any blackouts after drinking?
- Have you ever missed work or lost a job because of drinking?
- Is someone in your family worried about your drinking?
If you or somebody close to you is feeling the effects of alcohol abuse there are plenty of resources available. Please feel free to take one of the confidential and completely anonymous ASSESSMENTS to help you gauge where you may be in you use.
- ACCESS RESOURCES has many programs available.
- You can call also call our FIRE support crisis line for more resources.
- In addition, your medical insurance covers rehab and detox facilities.
- You can also access many substance abuse therapists to aid you along the way to recovery.