ν 6 signs you’re a borderline alcoholic
SOME of us may admit drinking more than we should sometimes.
But what happens when “sometimes” becomes “most times”? Last month, singer Adele (35) told fans: “I stopped drinking maybe three and a half months ago. It’s boring.
“I was literally borderline alcoholic for quite a lot of my twenties, but I miss it so much.” It’s not the first dry spell for Adele — previously it reportedly helped her lose 7st.
But her on-off relationship with booze also led to her drinking through lockdown, and she admitted she once drank four bottles of wine before lunch.
Her experience may ring true for many drinkers.
More than half of us drink every week, and one in ten indulges on five or more days, according to the most recent NHS statistics from 2021.
So what does alcohol addiction look like, and are you at risk?
BEHAVIOURS OF A BORDERLINE ALCOHOLIC
DR Dave Nichols, an NHS GP and medical adviser at website MyHealthChecked, tells Sun Health: “A lot of people know that they sometimes drink too much, but many don’t know where the line is when it comes to problematic alcohol consumption.
“Being a borderline alcoholic means you are sitting dangerously close to the line [of alcoholism].
“It describes a pattern of harmful drinking where you may have a drink, or several drinks, every day or regularly binge drink.
“Because it is less easy to define, borderline alcoholics come in many forms and can experience more subtle presentations.”
Borderliners are likely to do one or all of the following, Dr Nichols says:
λ Drink alcohol every day without thinking about it
λ Binge-drink regularly
λ Only socialise where drink is involved
λ Drink regularly during the day
λ Find it annoying when others are not drinking
λ Drink more than the NHS guidelines every month.
If you are unsure if you are drinking too much, count how many units you typically drink in one week.
The NHS recommends drinking no more than 14 units spread across three days or more.
That equates to around six medium (175ml) glasses of wine, or six pints of four per cent beer.
The term “borderline alcoholic”, or even “alcoholic” is not used among health professionals.
The NHS defines hazardous drinking as 14 to 35 units per week for women, and 14 to 50 units for men, while anything more than that is “harmful” drinking — a pattern of consumption that’s causing mental or physical damage.
BORDERLINE alcoholics are at risk of falling into dependence. Dr Nichols says:
“While you may not yet have developed a physical dependence to this pattern of drinking, you are at high risk of developing alcohol dependence.”
Alcoholism, or alcohol dependence, is when a person has an uncontrollable desire to drink.
Dr Nichols says:
“Their body is dependent on alcohol.
“Alcoholics will usually develop physical and psychological symptoms if they stop drinking.”
There are some signs of problematic drinking, and Dr Nichols says: “Borderline alcoholics might experience symptoms such as abdominal pain, stress, anxiety, bad skin, trouble sleeping, irritability and higher blood pressure.
“They are early indicators that you need to significantly reduce your alcohol consumption.”
“The most common long-term physical impacts of borderline alcoholism are abnormal liver function, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and mental health problems, but these are often hidden diseases and patients are unaware of them until they progress.”
IF you fulfil the brief of a borderline alcoholic, are worried about your drinking and need support, see your GP.
After quitting drinking, you can expect to have more energy, better sleep, weight loss and better skin.
Long term, you may see improvements in your finances, relationships and mental health, and less risk of cancer, diabetes and heart disease. – The Sun.