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Alcohol & Health
Helping Alcoholics
Where Does My Call Go?
Updated on September 14, 2023
6 min read

Why Do I Drink So Much & What Are the Risks?

Many people drink to celebrate, unwind after a long day or socialize. In 2020, 60% of adults said that they drank alcohol.6

However, drinking frequently can become habitual and lead to excessive drinking. While some people can drink alcohol moderately, others have more difficulty managing their consumption. 

There is no definitive reason why some people drink more than others. Everyone has their own reasons for drinking alcohol. 

Why Do I Drink So Much Alcohol?

Many people drink more in certain situations or certain phases of their life. Circumstantial overdrinking doesn’t mean a person is an alcoholic, but it could indicate he or she needs better coping strategies. 

Some of the most common reasons people drink too much include:

  • Stress relief
  • Relaxation
  • Peer pressure
  • Escape from reality
  • Self-medicating a co-occurring disorder
  • Social anxiety
  • Easy access to alcohol

Alcohol use disorder (AUD) does have a genetic link, but not everyone who misuses alcohol is genetically predisposed to do so. Likewise, not everyone with a genetic risk of AUD develops the disorder. Examine your motivation for drinking; if it often leads to excessive drinking, you might want to consider treatment.


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Signs You Are Drinking Too Much Alcohol

Depending on your circumstances, it might be difficult to determine if you are drinking too much alcohol. Aside from the reasons listed above, you might be drinking too much if you:

  • Tried to reduce your alcohol intake and failed
  • Been confronted by loved ones about drinking
  • Felt guilt or shame because of your drinking
  • Struggled with relationships or in school or at work because of drinking
  • Have a drink by yourself every night to cool off
  • Had to drink first thing in the morning to offset nervousness or get over a hangover
  • find that your drinking interferes with daily life, like your job, friendships, or activities
  • Find yourself spending a lot of time drinking

Several assessments are available to help you determine if you drink too much. These include:

  • CAGE: Includes the scenarios listed above and qualifies you as an excessive drinker if two or more apply to you
  • MAST: The Michigan Alcohol Screening Test is a 25-question test that is used to help identify an alcohol dependency
  • AUDIT: The Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test is a simple and effective method of screening for unhealthy alcohol use

Self-assessments help determine if you should be concerned about your alcohol consumption. However, they are not a final diagnosis. Talk to a professional about your drinking habits if you think you have a problem.

How Many Drinks a Day Is Considered Too Much?

Recognizing how many drinks you consume daily can help you understand your relationship to alcohol. The consumption levels are measured by the number of drinks per day or week.

Moderate Drinking

Moderate drinking is defined as one standard drink per day for women or two standard drinks per day for men.

Examples of a standard drink include:

  • 12 ounces of beer
  • 5 ounces of wine
  • 8 ounces of malt liquor
  • 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor or distilled spirits (whiskey, rum, gin, etc.)

Daily consumption of more than this can be considered excessive alcohol use.

Binge Drinking

Binge drinking is consuming four or more drinks for women or five or more for men within 2 hours. Binge drinking or excessive drinking doesn't always mean you have an AUD.

However, binge drinking increases the risk of developing the disorder and indicates problematic drinking. Even if you're not alcohol dependent or an alcoholic, you can still benefit from treatment for alcohol abuse. All binge drinking is unhealthy, but doing it 5 or more days within the last month is considered heavy alcohol use. 

Heavy Drinking

Heavy drinking is defined as having eight or more drinks per week for women or 15 or more drinks per week for men. If you think you are a heavy drinker, you may want to seek treatment. Drinking heavily can lead to alcohol abuse and cause serious health conditions. 


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What Happens When You Drink Daily?

Anything beyond the minimum daily intake of alcohol can put you at risk. However, this depends on how long you've been drinking on a daily basis.

For example, someone who drinks daily for a month might have a drinking problem. But, their situation is likely less severe than someone who has been drinking daily for 5 years.

Drinking to the point of blacking out or experiencing memory loss is always a sign of unhealthy alcohol use. Drinking alcohol every day also increases the risk of the following:

Alcohol Dependence

Daily drinking increases your chances of developing an alcohol use disorder (AUD) or alcohol dependence, especially if you binge drink or drink excessively. Although not all drinkers have an AUD, excessive alcohol use can increase the chances of addiction.

Alcohol Withdrawal

If you drink excessively on a daily basis, you may experience alcohol withdrawal when you stop drinking. Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal range from mild to potentially fatal.

Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal include:

  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Nightmares
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sweating
  • Increased heart rate
  • High blood pressure
  • Tremors
  • Delirium tremens

Symptoms last just a few hours or for several weeks. The severity of symptoms depends on how much you drink daily.  The longer and more you drink, the greater the likelihood of intense withdrawal symptoms.

Mental and Physical Health Problems

Excessive drinking habits can damage your mental and physical health. This is especially true if you do it daily.

Daily overconsumption of alcohol can lead to:7

  • Liver, kidney, and brain damage
  • Lowered immune system
  • Esophagus, rectum, mouth, colon, voice box, liver, throat, and breast cancer
  • Increased anxiety and depression
  • Early dementia

Younger people who drink every day can experience developmental issues. This includes memory loss and learning problems, such as poor school performance.8

Issues With Relationships and Daily Life

Alcohol and its effects can make living a normal and healthy life difficult. Drinking every day can also interfere with work and school performance, as well as personal relationships.

Many alcoholics experience strained relationships with friends and family. They can also have difficulty holding jobs or being responsible for daily tasks.

Injury or Violence

Injury and violence are often linked to the overconsumption of alcohol. Some examples include:9

  • Drinking under the influence (DUI)
  • Car crashes
  • Drowning
  • Homicide
  • Sexual assault
  • Suicide
  • Domestic abuse
  • Alcohol poisoning

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Finding Help For Alcohol Addiction

Help is available to help people with an alcohol addiction or those who drink too much but have not yet developed a disorder.

Support and treatment options include:

  • Medical detox: Medically supervised detox used to avoid harmful withdrawal effects
  • Inpatient treatment: Involves checking yourself into a rehab facility for 24-hour medical supervision
  • Outpatient treatment: A treatment program where you are freely allowed to leave the rehab facility
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy: A short-term therapy technique that explores the link between thoughts and drinking patterns
  • Medication-assisted treatment: Involves using medication, counseling, and therapy to treat addiction
  • Support groups: Provide a much-needed community to help maintain sobriety after treatment
  • 12-step programs: Support groups that follow a 12-step process designed to help you manage alcohol-related problems
Updated on September 14, 2023
8 sources cited
Updated on September 14, 2023
All Alcoholrehabhelp content is medically reviewed or fact checked to ensure as much factual accuracy as possible.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only link to reputable media sites, academic research institutions and, whenever possible, medically peer reviewed studies.
  1. CDC - Fact Sheets-Alcohol Use And Health - Alcohol.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2018.
  2. National HIV Curriculum. “CAGE-AID Questionnaire - Substance Use Screening - National HIV Curriculum.” www.Hiv.Uw.Edu.
  3. Hingson, RW and Zha, W. “Age of Drinking Onset, Alcohol Use Disorders, Frequent Heavy Drinking, and Unintentionally Injuring Oneself and Others after Drinking.” Pediatrics, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2008.
  4. Wiseman,  et al. “Evaluating Correlates of Awareness of the Association between Drinking Too Much Alcohol and Cancer Risk in the United States.” U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2019.
  5. PennState Extension. “Alcoholic Beverage Consumption Statistics and Trends 2022.”, 2022.
  6. Roswall N, Weiderpass E. “Alcohol as a risk factor for cancer: existing evidence in a global perspective.” J Prev Med Public Health, 2015.
  7. Rehm J, Hasan OSM, et al. “Alcohol use and dementia: a systematic scoping review.” Alzheimers Res Ther, 2019.
  8. Sontate, et al. “Alcohol, Aggression, and Violence: From Public Health to Neuroscience.” Front Psychol, 2021.
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All content created by Alcohol Rehab Help is sourced from current scientific research and fact-checked by an addiction counseling expert. However, the information provided by Alcohol Rehab Help is not a substitute for professional treatment advice.
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