How do I know if I’m drinking too much?

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How do I know if I’m drinking too much?
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It’s easy to slip into the alcohol habit; alcohol abuse causes several problems that get in the way of health and well-being.
A simple rule of thumb is to answer these two questions;
• Do you drink alcohol every day?
• Do you remember the last day you did not have a drink?
If the answers are “yes” to the first question and “no” to the second, you need to be aware you have a potential problem. There are other symptoms, too, but we’ll come to those in a moment.
In all honesty, at the outset, addictions are not caused by the substances or things we are supposedly addicted, but to a need to mask, or get rid of some uncomfortable feelings and thoughts that are hovering at the brink of consciousness.
For example your relationship with the man of your dreams is not going as well as you would like. He doesn’t come around to visit as frequently as before and a little nagging voice at the back of your head is saying “something is wrong!” But, you don’t want to believe your thoughts. You start by having a glass or two of wine before and with dinner. This perks you up. It does this in two ways. First it increases your blood sugar levels and this gives you an extra spurt of energy; secondly it enhances dopamine levels. Dopamine is the “feel good chemical” in the brain All this dulls the pain of the relationship complications
Sadly, neither of these affects is long lasting. You feel better and then you inevitably crash as both dopamine and blood sugar levels drop. When sugar drops to a certain dangerously low level it must be increased or else the body is under threat. This turnaround is done by the adrenal glands secreting the hormones epinephrine and nor epinephrine. Rescue operations of this type begin to tax the adrenals if activated too often.
Alcohol also interrupts good sleeping patterns. We have already mentioned low blood sugar. Sometimes after drinking people have to make themselves something to eat before they can sleep or can even be awakened to eat, this is usually  a carbohydrate, snack. This shows the results of low blood sugar. Next, alcohol dehydrates, so there is a tendency of having a dry mouth which wakes you up to drink water. But most important of all alcohol interferes with “REM” or rapid eye movement sleep. This is the time of dreaming. Studies on rats show it is essential for continuing good health. In extreme cases “REM” deprivation can even lead to death! This deprivation leads to irritability in the morning, often a lack of concentration, where details are overlooked and mistakes made. Things are easily forgotten meaning that overall optimum functioning is often downgraded. Tendencies to be overwhelmed by reasonably small events and further studies have shown that the sleep deprived are more likely to be involved in accidents than others. It is also a major cause of depression. If you are experiencing any of these , be on your guard as something is definitely wrong.
Drinking alone and shunning the company of friends is not going to solve the underlying cause. The first thing to do is to stop drinking, even if it is only for a few days. Much better to keep the drinks for week-ends when you go out with your friends!

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