Alcohol & Health
Treatment
Helping Alcoholics
Where Does My Call Go?
Updated on February 4, 2023
6 min read

Why Do I Drink So Much?

It’s not uncommon to enjoy an alcoholic beverage from time to time. Many people drink to celebrate, unwind after a long day, or socialize.

In 2020, 60% of adults said that they drank alcohol.6 While some people can drink alcohol in moderation, others have more difficulty managing their consumption. 

Why Do I Drink So Much Alcohol?

There is no definitive reason why some people drink more than others. Everyone has his or her reasons for consuming 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.

It helps to examine your motivation for drinking too much and if it’s not a one-time occasion, you might 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 moderate drinking guidelines listed above, you might be drinking too much if you:

  • Have 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
  • Your drinking interferes with daily life, like your job, friendships, or activities
  • Find yourself spending a lot of time drinking

There are several assessments 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 (Michigan Alcohol Screening Test)
  • AUDIT (Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test)

Self-assessments help determine if you should be concerned about your alcohol consumption. However, they are not a final diagnosis. 

You should speak to a medical professional about your drinking habits if you believe you have a problem.

How Many Drinks a Day is Considered an Alcoholic?

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

According to health experts, 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.

Binge Drinking

Binge drinking is consuming four or more drinks for women or five or more for men within 2 hours

Binging and excessive drinking does not always mean someone has an alcohol addiction or alcohol use disorder (AUD). However, it increases the risk of developing the disorder and indicates someone’s drinking habits are problematic. 

Even if he or she is not alcohol dependent or an alcoholic, they could 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 is dangerous and can cause serious health conditions. 

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What Happens When You Drink Everyday?

Some people have a small, daily glass of wine for its health benefits. However, anything beyond a minimum daily intake of alcohol could put you at risk.

It also matters how long you’ve been drinking every day. For example, someone who drinks every day for a month might have a drinking problem. However, their situation is likely less severe than someone who has been drinking alcohol daily for 5 years.

Drinking to the point of an alcoholic blackout is always a sign of alcohol misuse. If you are blacking out often, you should consider treatment.

Drinking alcohol every day also increases the risk of the following:

Alcohol Dependence

Drinking every day increases your chances of developing an alcohol use disorder (AUD) or alcohol dependence.

Although not all drinkers have an AUD, drinking every day can increase the chances of addiction.

Alcohol Withdrawal

People who drink more than a serving of alcohol per day might experience alcohol withdrawal if they stop drinking.

Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal range from mild to potentially fatal and 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

Daily overconsumption of alcohol damages your body, especially your liver, kidneys, and brain. It can also make you more susceptible to illness because it lowers your immune system. 

Drinking every day can cause cancer of the breast, esophagus, rectum, mouth, colon, voice box, liver, and throat.7 

Mental health problems, such as anxiety and depression, are also linked to daily alcohol consumption.

Younger people who drink every day can experience developmental issues. This includes memory loss and learning problems, such as poor school performance. It can also lead to early dementia.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. 

Injuries like car crashes and drownings are more likely if you’ve been drinking. 

Similarly, many homicides, sexual assaults, suicides, and domestic abuse situations are a result of heavy alcohol use.9

Alcohol poisoning is also a possibility when engaging in heavy alcohol use. Alcohol poisoning can be deadly.

Insurance Can Help Pay for Addiction Treatment

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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:

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Updated on February 4, 2023
8 sources cited
Updated on February 4, 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.” www.extension.psu.edu, 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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