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Is Drinking Every Night Bad?

Many people drink alcohol recreationally when celebrating, socializing, or relaxing. Some people enjoy a beer or glass of wine each day after work. However, it can be complicated to determine whether drinking every night is harmful. It usually depends on the individual’s circumstances.

It is essential to remember that alcohol is a drug. Some studies demonstrate that moderate drinking links to specific benefits. For example, red wine, in moderation, is known to be heart healthy. On the other hand, other research shows no benefits and connects moderate drinking to diseases such as breast cancer and an increased risk of stroke.

Drinking Every Night Bad

Drinking in moderation means limiting intake to 2 drinks or less a day for men and 1 drink or less a day for women.

You should avoid alcohol entirely if you are:

  • Taking any medications that interact with alcohol
  • Living with a disease or condition that could worsen with alcohol consumption
  • Planning to drive a vehicle or operate any machinery
  • Pregnant or are trying to get pregnant

When it comes to upper limits for healthy adults, men are advised not to consume more than four drinks in one day or 14 per week. Women are recommended not to drink more than three alcoholic beverages in one day or seven per week.

If you consume more than these amounts, medical professionals consider it heavy or at-risk drinking. This means it places you at higher risk for developing health problems. Around one in four people who drink more than these recommendations have an alcohol use disorder (AUD).

When Nightly Drinking is a Problem

The term ‘too much’ is subjective, and it varies from person to person. ‘Too much’ alcohol for one person may not affect another person in the same way. For some people, one drink a day may be too much. For others, it could be four drinks a day.

If nightly drinking leads to more frequent alcohol consumption or the inability to cut back, this could be a problem. Nightly drinking could quickly develop into the early signs of alcoholism or alcohol dependence.

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When Nightly Drinking is Not a Problem 

If someone typically enjoys one drink a night to unwind or relax after work, or similar, this does not usually pose a problem. However, it depends on the individual and their circumstances.

Effects & Risks of Drinking Alcohol Everyday

The effects and risks of drinking daily can be complicated. People who have developed alcohol addiction will likely have problems reducing or stopping how much they consume. The feeling of lacking control or craving alcohol can be a side effect of dependence and addiction.

Alcohol addiction and dependence are just two risks of drinking daily. Heavy alcohol consumption can lead to other serious health risks, including liver and heart disease.

Short term effects of alcohol consumption include:

  • Poor judgment
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness 
  • Confusion
  • Issues concentrating
  • Decreased coordination
  • Slowed reaction time
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Decreased body temperature
  • Mood swings
  • Vomiting
  • Blacking out

Long term effects of alcohol consumption include:

  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Depression
  • Cancer (throat, stomach, oral cavity, esophagus, liver, breast cancer, rectum, colon)
  • Anxiety
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Memory issues
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Irregular menstruation

Drinking in Moderation vs. Dependence vs. Addiction

The health effects of drinking alcohol in moderation vary based on certain factors. These factors include a person’s overall health and how much alcohol they consume. 

Drinking in moderation does not always mean drinking every day. Many healthy adults who consider themselves moderate drinkers consume alcohol a couple times a week or less.

However, millions of adults in the United States are dependent or addicted to alcohol. While many adults who drink alcohol do not develop alcohol use disorder, many adults have a physical and psychological dependence on alcohol.

Problems with alcohol consumption often develop over time. While drinking alcohol is the primary cause of dependence, the reasons why an individual develops a drinking problem can be complicated. 

If you think you may have alcohol or binge drinking problems, ask yourself why you are drinking so much. Relieving stress or wanting to feel more relaxed in social situations are common reasons why people drink. However, they can also be warning signs of alcohol addiction.

You may have a problem with alcohol if you:

  • Feel unable to control your drinking
  • Are unable to stop drinking
  • Drink to numb or avoid your feelings
  • Experience withdrawal effects when you are not drinking (tremors, headaches, anxiety, insomnia, sweating)
  • Cannot imagine not drinking daily

Many people experiencing alcohol dependence or addiction are somewhat aware that their drinking habits are not normal. However, it is also common to be in denial. 

How Do I Stop Drinking Every Night?

If you do not have a dependency or addiction to alcohol, there are various steps you can take to reduce the amount of alcohol you consume:

Introduce an Evening Routine

Consider writing out a plan for each evening, including activities to keep your mind occupied. With a daily evening itinerary and schedule, you are less likely to feel the urge to drink.

Keep a Dry House

Many people who consume alcohol daily do so in the house. If you drink in the home, remove any alcohol to reduce the temptation.

Talk to People

Tell people that you are going to cut down on the amount of alcohol you drink. If people are aware that you are trying to reduce your intake, they will be more likely to help you.

Focus on the Benefits

Reducing your alcohol intake has various benefits. It can give you more time to spend on the things you enjoy, improve your health, enhance your sleep, and save money.

Understand Why You Are Drinking

It is crucial to address the reasons why you have been drinking. If you have been drinking because of your job, stress, mental health issues, relationship, or low self-esteem, consider what you can do to address these issues. Perhaps it is worth looking for a new role or seeking therapeutic help to assist with specific problems.

If you find that you cannot stop drinking every night, despite your attempts to reduce your consumption, you may require professional medical advice and help.

Treatment Options for Alcohol Abuse

If you believe that you are dependent or addicted to alcohol, it is highly recommended that you seek professional treatment. There are various treatment options available for alcohol addiction.

Detox

Quitting drinking alone can be dangerous when you are physically dependent on alcohol. When you are experiencing alcohol withdrawal, there are many symptoms you can have.

Some people may experience delirium tremens (DTs), which is a severe form of alcohol withdrawal. DTs cause seizures and, in some cases, can be fatal. As withdrawal symptoms can be severe, people must detox as part of a medically assisted program.

During a medically assisted detoxification program, the patient is surrounded by professionals who can provide them with the essential care and support they require.

Rehabilitation

A rehabilitation program can help patients develop insight and awareness into the reasons why they drink heavily. Patients learn and develop strategies to support long term recovery and remain abstinent. 

Rehabilitation centers typically have a team who are experienced in treating alcohol addiction using various methods. These methods include detoxification, individual and group therapy sessions, seminars, and workshops.

Many rehabilitation centers also provide free aftercare whereby patients receive support from the team following their time within a treatment program.

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Resources

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Is drug addiction treatment worth its cost?, National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), 3 Jun. 2020, https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment-research-based-guide-third-edition/frequently-asked-questions/drug-addiction-treatment-worth-its-cost 

Dye, Meredith Huey et al., The availability of integrated care in a national sample of therapeutic communities., The journal of behavioral health services & research vol. 39,1 (2012): 17-27, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3907078/ 

Treatment for Alcohol Problems: Finding and Getting Help, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIH), 2014, https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/brochures-and-fact-sheets/treatment-alcohol-problems-finding-and-getting-help 

Alcohol: Balancing Risks and Benefits, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/healthy-drinks/drinks-to-consume-in-moderation/alcohol-full-story/ 

Molina, Patricia E, and Steve Nelson. “Binge Drinking's Effects on the Body.” Alcohol research : current reviews vol. 39,1 (2018): 99-109, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6104963/

Vergés, Alvaro et al. “Intensity of Daily Drinking and Its Relation to Alcohol Use Disorders.” Alcoholism, clinical and experimental research vol. 42,9 (2018): 1674-1683, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6120766/

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