Concern about your drinking may indicate that there is a problem
BY DR. KOMOROFF Universal Uclick
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
2/27/13 at 2:20 AM
Dear Doctor K: I started drinking more during the holidays. It seemed natural, as there were so many parties and happy hours. But the holidays are long over, and I haven't cut back. Could I have a problem?
Dear Reader: What constitutes "healthy" versus "harmful" drinking can vary quite a bit from person to person. So where is the line between social drinking and problem drinking? Does drinking every day or drinking a certain amount indicate a problem?
Here's the bottom line: If your pattern of drinking creates difficulty for you personally, socially or at work, then your drinking is likely harmful.
Having said that, I've known people who drink throughout the day and have liver and other problems because of it. Yet they would tell me that drinking wasn't interfering with their family or work life at all. Maybe that's the way it seemed to them, but their drinking was on its way to making them sufficiently sick that it later interfered with their lives.
If you're not sure if you might have a drinking problem, answer a few questions about your drinking habits. Several screening tests can help determine whether you might have a drinking problem. (I've put two of the tests, the CAGE questionnaire and the AUDIT, on my website, tulsaworld.com/DrK.)
Even if you aren't suffering from alcohol dependence or abuse, your drinking still could be cause for concern. I've known people who just "loosen up" enough that they start to say things they may not mean, and surely should not say. Their drinking still is hazardous to their home and work life, and to family and friends. It also puts them at risk for developing more serious problems with alcohol down the road.
The fact that you were concerned enough about your drinking to ask me about it is a red flag. Talk to your doctor about your alcohol use. If you do have a problem, you can work with your doctor to determine the best treatment options for you.
Write Dr. K at www.AskDoctorK.com or c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut, Kansas City, MO 64106