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Wine Addiction

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Can You Develop a Wine Addiction?

Yes. It’s possible to develop an addiction to any type of alcohol. This includes all types of wine.

The following factors increase a person’s risk of developing an alcohol or wine addiction:

  • Family history, genetics
  • Mental health issues
  • Environmental factors, including social life

Understanding your risks and doing your best to reduce them is the best way to prevent substance addictions.

What is a Safe Amount of Wine to Drink?

Everyone is different, so the amount of wine that is safe to drink varies from person to person.

In general, consuming a moderate amount of wine is safe for most people. Moderate drinking means one drink per day for females and two drinks per day for males.

If you drink more than one or two drinks per day, you might consider seeking professional help for substance use. 

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Short-Term Effects of Drinking Wine

Wine consumption causes a variety of short-term effects, including:

Drowsiness

Wine tends to make you sleepy. This is why some people drink wine in the evening to ease out of a stressful day and prepare for bedtime.

Relaxation

Wine can take the edge off and help you feel relaxed. Many people enjoy a glass of wine to alleviate anxiousness.

Impaired Judgment

Like all alcohol, especially when consumed in excess, wine lowers your inhibitions and interferes with judgment.

Impaired Speech and Movement

Drinking wine, especially in excess, can affect your ability to speak clearly and coherently. This is why so many people slur their words when they have been drinking. 

Intoxication also causes blurred vision, dizziness, and the inability to walk straight. It significantly interferes with your ability to operate a car or truck (or other motor vehicle).

Increased Blood Pressure

Wine tends to cause blood pressure to spike, especially if you consume more than three glasses.

Hangovers

Most people experience negative symptoms as their body metabolizes alcohol. This is what causes a hangover. Symptoms usually include headache, light and sound sensitivity, dehydration, nausea, fatigue, body aches, and poor sleep. 

Consuming even a small amount of alcohol can leave you feeling off, regardless of whether or not you develop a hangover.

Blackouts

Too much wine can cause you to completely lose consciousness or ‘blackout’. Some people also experience memory loss and time misperceptions when they overindulge. This can happen even if they seem aware of what they’re doing. 

Long-Term Effects of Drinking Wine

In addition to the short-term symptoms listed above, wine consumption also causes a variety of long-term effects over time. These include:

Chronic Elevated Blood Pressure

Occasional wine consumption causes a blood pressure spike, but this tends to wear off. However, consistent wine binges can lead to chronic high blood pressure. This increases your risk of stroke.

Wine affects your heart health in indirect ways, too. Excessive drinking can cause weight gain, which negatively impacts cardiovascular health.

Memory Loss

Long-term binging habits can cause memory loss. Eventually, people who binge often can also experience brain damage, which affects memory and decision-making and self-sufficiency abilities.

Liver Damage

Long-term alcohol abuse impacts liver health. It increases your risk of:

  • Fatty liver disease
  • Cirrhosis
  • Alcoholic hepatitis

Many heavy drinkers eventually develop fatty liver disease. About 10 to 15 percent of alcoholics develop cirrhosis. The survival rate for people with late-stage cirrhosis is 60 percent for people who stop drinking and 35 percent for those who do not.1

Cancer

Excessive alcohol consumption is linked to several types of cancer, including:

  • Liver
  • Breast
  • Colon
  • Esophageal
  • Larynx
  • Mouth
  • Throat
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Signs and Symptoms of Wine Addiction

The signs and symptoms of wine addition are similar to other types of substance addiction. For example: 

Increased Tolerance

Increased tolerance means that over time, you’ll need to increase your alcohol consumption to achieve the same pleasurable effect.

Neglecting Responsibilities to Drink

If drinking wine interferes with daily life, including responsibilities and activities you once enjoyed, you might have an addiction. Making drinking a priority is often a sign of a substance use problem.

Inability to Stop Drinking

Drinking when you don’t want to or when you’ve said you aren’t going to is a sign of addiction.

Taking Risks

Drinking often leads to poor choices like driving under the influence, aggressive behaviors or fighting, and engaging in unsafe sex. 

Experiencing Withdrawal Symptoms

Too much alcohol consumption, especially on a long-term basis, causes withdrawal symptoms to occur when not drinking. Withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Shakiness
  • Headache
  • Foggy thinking
  • Fatigue
  • Clammy skin
  • Irritability 

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How to Overcome a Wine Addiction

There are several things you can do to overcome a wine addiction. For instance:

  • Limit how much wine you consume. This might make you less likely to develop an addiction.
  • Seek professional help for anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other mental health issues instead of self-medicating with alcohol.
  • Don’t drink alone.
  • Don’t routinely use wine for stress relief or as a celebratory tool.
  • Don’t keep wine or other alcohol in your home. This way you can only drink when you’re out.
  • Track how much wine you’re consuming in a journal.
  • Avoid alcohol binges. When you do indulge, limit your consumption to a glass or two per occasion.

When is it Time for Treatment?

How do you know it’s time to seek addiction treatment for wine addiction or any type of alcohol use disorder? 

Everyone is different, but you might consider substance abuse treatment if you:

  • Frequently drink more than the limit you’ve set for yourself. If you find yourself saying “I’ll just have one glass of wine” but then finish the bottle, it could be time for help for substance abuse.
  • Struggle with binge drinking, where you can’t stop at just a glass or two of wine.
  • Notice you drink far more than other people, especially in social gatherings where other people aren’t drinking as much or as quickly as you are.
  • Only socialize with other people who drink heavily and/or avoid teetotalers (nondrinkers). 
  • Have friends and family who mention concerns about your drinking and/or urge you to seek addiction treatment.
  • Have gained weight, and you suspect it’s linked to your heavy drinking. Alcohol consumption can also increase appetite, leading to weight gain.
  • Only enjoy activities that involve wine. If you find yourself only accepting invitations linked to drinking, it could indicate a problem.
Updated on April 22, 2022
7 sources cited
  1. The Epidemiology of Alcoholic Liver Disease.” Nih.gov, 2015. 
  2. CDC. “Alcohol and Substance Use (COVID-19).” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 12 Jun. 2020. 
  3. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. “Women and Alcohol.” National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), 26 Apr. 2019,. 
  4. CDC. “CDC - Fact Sheets- Preventing Excessive Alcohol Use - Alcohol.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2019.  
  5. CDC. “Fact Sheets-Excessive Alcohol Use and Risks to Women’s Health - Alcohol.” 2019.
  6. Shivani, Ramesh. “Alcoholism and Psychiatric Disorders.” Nih.gov, 2019.
  7. The Cycle of Alcohol Addiction | National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).” www.niaaa.nih.gov.

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