Enjoying a glass of wine is a favorite pastime for many, and it can easily turn into a regular occurrence. Drinking a glass when you get home from work, while you’re cooking dinner, settling in for your favorite movie or sitcom can be part of a normal routine. For the most part, routines are familiar habits that are innocent enough. Still, there’s often worry when faced with the question: I drink a bottle of wine every night, so am I an alcoholic? The answer is not as straightforward as one might hope. The short answer is that it depends. Let’s take a look at more specific examples and cautionary signs that may indicate a larger problem.
Measuring Alcohol Consumption
First, let’s consider when health experts deem alcohol consumption normal versus excessive. In 2014, the World Health Organization member, Dr. Poikolainen, stated that alcohol consumption is bad after thirteen units. A bottle of wine is ten units. There is no research to back this guideline. If indeed, it was a successful unit of measurement, a full bottle of wine would not be indicative of excessive drinking. Interestingly, another study conducted by independent science news source, Laboratory News, noted that it’s difficult to measure healthy versus hazardous drinking habits given the complexity of individual lifestyles, health, and overall well being.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) defines a glass of wine as five ounces, and there are about five glasses in a standard bottle of wine. The U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend that American’s who consume alcohol do so in moderation. Moderation is defined as one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men. While this is often considered a good rule of thumb, it doesn’t necessarily mark someone who drinks more than recommended amounts as an alcoholic.
What matters more, scientists have discovered, are your drinking patterns. Studies show a few drinks a week may not be harmful. On the other hand, excessive or binge drinking can cause extensive issues short-term, including:
- Weight gain
- Impaired judgment
- Slurred speech
- Breathing difficulties
- Memory lapse
Long-term, drinking can also have lasting effects such as:
- Unintentional injuries (car crash, falls, etc.)
- Increased family problems
- Alcohol poisoning
- High blood pressure, stroke, and other heart-related diseases
- Liver disease
- Nerve damage
For these reasons, it’s important to identify the signs that may point to an ongoing issue or even a full-blown addiction to alcohol.
Health experts suggest considering a glass or two at a sitting and leaving two or three days between drinking. They advise against binge drinking and heavy consumption. The general consensus is to make that bottle of wine last a week.
Alcoholism in Colorado Defined
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcohol Use 2018 study, over 14 million Americans suffer from alcohol use dependency. This encompasses almost eight percent of adult males and more than four percent of adult females. More than one and a half percent of youth under 18 had an alcohol dependency. Excessive drinking is often the term referred to when describing binges, underage consumption, and or any drinking by pregnant women. The statistics are even more alarming in Colorado and include the following:
- 1 in 5 adults drink excessively
- 5 deaths per day are due to excessive drinking
- $5 billion is the economic cost
Eighty-eight thousand Americans die from alcohol-related causes annually. Alcohol is the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States, and only tobacco use and poor diet, and a sedentary lifestyle resulted in more preventable deaths. In 2014, drivers who were alcohol-impaired caused nearly 10,000 deaths. Annually, alcohol abuse costs Americans almost $250 billion a year.
Drinking a Bottle of Wine Nightly Am I An Alcoholic?
We return to the question, I drink a bottle of wine every night, so am I an alcoholic? While drinking a full bottle of wine can be considered excessive, especially when looking at the measures for moderate drinking, it’s still not a definitive answer. That said, it’s important to consider health implications from consuming that much wine on a daily basis. For example, how does it impact your diet?
The USDA offers guidance and according to its website, an average dry table wine has one to two grams of sugar per a standard 5-ounce serving, while sweet wines can contain upward of 8 grams of sugar per 3.5-ounce pour. Excess sugar consumption has been linked with health problems including diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, tooth decay, and more. The sugar content alone should dissuade most from drinking more than a few glasses per day.
Furthermore, alcohol is often a direct influence or link to mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. In fact, one of the major signs of alcohol abuse is drinking specifically to combat depression. There have been several studies completed that show the negative impact that drinking can have on overall mental health. In addition, drinking in combination with prescription medication to treat mental health disorders can carry extreme risks and adverse effects.
How Do I Know If I am an Alcoholic?
To assess your alcohol consumption, ask yourself these questions:
- Do you frequently intend to stop at one drink and over imbibe?
- Have you tried to quit drinking and been unsuccessful?
- Do you drink almost every day?
- Do you get cravings for alcohol?
- Do you miss school, work, or family functions because you’re hangover?
- Is your drinking causing problems in your family life or friendships?
- Has your drinking caused you to give up the activities you once enjoyed?
- Is your alcohol consumption stretching your income?
- Does your drinking put you in a position dangerous to yourself or others?
- Is your drinking affecting your physical health?
- Do you require increasing amounts of alcohol to get that happy feeling a drink or two used to give you?
- Do you feel depressed, insecure, anxious, irritable, or unloved because of your drinking?
- When you don’t drink, do you experience withdrawal symptoms like headaches, irritability, insomnia, difficulty concentrating, anxiety, or tremors?
Steps to Take if Battling Alcoholism
I drink a bottle of wine every night; am I an alcoholic?
Drinking a bottle of wine per day is not considered healthy by most standards. However, when does it morph from a regular, innocent occurrence into alcohol use disorder (AUD) or alcoholism? First, it’s important to note that building tolerance in order to drink an entire bottle of wine is a definitive red flag. Drinking these amounts can cause other issues including memory lapses or increased symptoms of mental health disorders. Answering affirmatively to two of the symptoms above suggests signs of AUD.
Living with alcohol use disorder or alcoholism can be detrimental to your quality of life. Fortunately, there are steps to take to begin the process and journey into recovery. AspenRidge offers supportive services for those that are battling with ongoing addiction issues. Our alcohol recovery program is tailored for all levels of alcohol dependency, and we utilize proven methodology to help individuals overcome these specific issues.
AspenRidge Alcohol Recovery Program Colorado
Options for care are offered in a wide variety of methods which include:
- 90-Day Partial Hospitalization Program focused on Alcohol Recovery
- Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) for Alcoholism
- Outpatient Therapy
- Alumni Support
All of our professionals at AspenRidge are licensed by the State of Colorado The methods of treatment and assessment utilized at AspenRidge are evidence-based and we take a dual diagnosis approach to also treat underlying mental health issues.
If you are questioning your daily drinking habits, it’s important to talk with a qualified professional that can help assess and determine the best steps for you moving forward. For more information, you may contact AspenRidge Recovery Centers in Colorado directly at 855-281-5588.