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Men & Alcohol

Men are five times more likely than women to have a problem with alcohol abuse. Men are also more likely to be binge drinkers and alcoholics than women.

Alcohol abuse and alcoholism are different, but both have serious health and social consequences.

  • Alcohol abuse is a pattern of drinking otherwise known as problem drinking. It can lead to alcoholism.
  • Alcoholism is different in that it includes alcohol dependence. It is significantly different from alcohol abuse because it is chronic, progressive and potentially fatal.

Alcohol abuse and alcoholism can have detrimental effects on your health. There are a number of risk factors associated with alcohol abuse and alcoholism. Risk factors include:

  • Being male
  • Family history of alcohol abuse (parents)
  • Cultural factors (is drinking too much widely accepted and part of the social norm?)
  • Mental health problems (or history)
    • Individuals who have high expectations of themselves or have a low frustration tolerance may use alcohol to ease their tension and lack of confidence. Individuals with psychiatric disorders (i.e. depression, schizophrenia or abuse disorders) may use alcohol to try to reduce the symptoms of the disorder, which could make things worse.

Being able to recognize the symptoms of alcohol abuse and alcoholism is useful in helping others or yourself.

Symptoms of alcohol abuse include:

  • Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol frequently (The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has established a limit of two drinks per day for men as the limits to safe drinking)
  • Drinking and driving
  • Frequent excessive drinking (known as binge drinking)
  • Interpersonal difficulties with family, friends or co-workers
  • Legal problems related to drinking

Symptoms of alcoholism include:

  • Craving—A strong need or urge, to drink
  • Loss of control—Not being able to stop drinking once drinking has begun
  • Physical dependence—Withdrawal symptoms, such as nausea, sweating, shakiness and anxiety after stopping drinking
  • Tolerance—The need to drink greater amounts of alcohol to feel the effects.

For individuals who are afflicted by alcoholism or have problems with alcohol abuse there are treatment resources. You can find out more by visiting Alcoholics Anonymous Link Opens in a New Window or the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Link Opens in a New Window. You can also visit HAP’s website for a free, confidential and anonymous alcohol screening Link Opens in a New Window. If you have concerns about your drinking and would like to get help, please talk to your doctor or call HAP’s Coordinated Behavioral Health Management Department at (800) 444-5755.

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