Someone who wants to pace their drinking could try…

In this blog post, we wrote 13 tips for someone who wants to pace their drinking.

We also wrote about the causes, the signs and symptoms, and the treatment of alcohol addiction.

How do you recognize alcohol addiction?

Alcohol is the most widely used and culturally accepted substance of abuse. 90% of people in most western societies consume alcohol, and alcohol problems occur in 30% of drinkers.

The definition of alcoholism refers to repeated impairments in different areas of a person’s existence, due to alcohol, despite which the person continues to consume alcoholic beverages.

The disorders associated with alcohol consumption can be classified into 3 groups:

  • Disorders related to the direct effects of alcohol on the brain: intoxication, withdrawal, withdrawal delirium and alcoholic hallucinosis
  • Behavioural disorders associated with alcohol: abuse and addiction
  • Persistent effects disorders: alcoholic dementia, Wernicke’s encephalopathy, Korsakoff’s syndrome.

Epidemiology of alcohol consumption

Drank at least once – 90%

Drink now – 60-70%

Temporary problems – 40%

Abuse – men 10%, women 5%

Addiction – men 10%, women 3-5%

Causes of alcoholism

Genetic hypothesis: close relatives of alcoholics are 4 times more likely to have problems with alcohol consumption.

Psychological hypothesis: the anxiolytic, antidepressant and relaxing effect of alcohol can be an easy solution to manage stress or traumatic situations.

Behavioural hypothesis: alcoholism is a behaviour learned through reward and reinforcement, after the first contact with alcohol.

Signs and symptoms of alcoholism

  • Tolerance – manifested by the need to ingest larger and larger amounts to achieve the desired effect.
  • Withdrawal – at the sudden cessation of consumption there are specific physical and mental signs that disappear if alcohol is consumed. The signs are anxiety, psychomotor anxiety, sweating, tremor in the extremities, general malaise, nausea, vomiting.
  • There are successive efforts to reduce or stop alcohol consumption, but they are unsuccessful.
  • Time and money are invested to obtain or consume alcohol, but also to recover from its effects.
  • Favourite daily activities are gradually abandoned in favour of consumption.
  • Alcohol use is continued despite awareness of the problem or the occurrence of physical complications.

Complications of alcohol addiction

Digestive: hepatic steatosis, risk of acute pancreatitis, esophagitis, gastritis, liver cirrhosis.

Cardiovascular: high blood pressure, alcoholic cardiomyopathy with heart rhythm disorders that can become fatal.

Neurological: peripheral neuropathy, hepatic encephalopathy with confusion, agitation.

Psychiatric: simple or complicated withdrawal syndrome, alcoholic dementia, alcoholic depression.

13 Tips to pace your drinking

Someone who wants to pace their drinking could try the following tips:

  1. Limit the time spent in a bar

Meet friends or set up meetings with business partners in a cafe, not a tavern. And if you just want to go out and relax with your friends, there are other great places that you can meet and that is not a bar.

For example, you could meet in a cosy cafe, bistro-restaurant, bowling alley or in the park.  

  1. Watch sports events at home

To avoid situations where you meet friends in a bar to watch a football match and who bring the risk of consuming more alcohol, especially being influenced by the social behaviour of those around you, watching them at home, whether it’s your home or a friend’s, it’s an alternative.

  1. Never drink alone

To discipline your routine and become aware of the amounts of alcohol you consume, it is recommended that you learn not to drink alone because in this way you will be less likely to consume excessive amounts.

  1. Don’t drink to comfort yourself

If drinking alcohol involves other emotional states than just enjoying a glass of wine, then you need to find other ways to improve your mood.

  1. Don’t always drink the same drink

This change can determine whether or not you have a routine when it comes to drinking alcohol.

If you show a preference for a certain drink, try to alternate its consumption with other options.

  1. Replace a bad habit with a better one

Choose a better option than the usual drink after work. It could be a non-alcoholic beverage, such as an iced tea or a fruit smoothie.

Or you could go for a run, you can invite a friend over, or just take a long bath to relax and read a good book. 

  1. Replace the standard drink

Switch to low-alcohol mixed drinks. There are many alternatives to standard alcoholic beverages such as gin, vodka or whiskey.

I am talking about juice with alcohol flavour, that has less than half of the alcohol content of a standard drink.

  1. Drink water

Always drink twice: in addition to the alcoholic beverage you order, make sure you also have a large glass of water nearby.

  1. Keep the wine away from the evening meal

Make sure you always have water on the table when you eat. Also, do not keep the wine bottle on the table.

This will cause a predictable behaviour of consuming until you empty the contents of the bottle. Pour a glass instead. 

  1. Create a list of rules

For example, no more than one drink a day. Drink only on weekends. Drink only wine mixed with carbonated water.

These are just some of the suggestions that can reduce alcohol consumption.

  1. Keep a journal

Tracking how many alcoholic beverages you consume each day will give you some surprising information that will encourage you to reduce or give up alcoholic beverages.

  1. Decide why you want to give up alcohol

Make a list of reasons why you want to reduce your alcohol consumption.

For example: you want to be healthier, you want to improve your focus, you want to sleep better, to lose weight, to build stronger relationships with your family members.

Keep this list in your wallet or someplace visible, and look at it every time you feel tempted to have another drink. 

  1. Involve your friends in the process of change

The fact that you let other people around you know that you have decided to give up alcohol will reduce the chances that they will expose you to the temptation to drink an extra glass before you get up from the bar. 

A study published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs showed that a determining factor that could reduce excessive alcohol consumption is increased taxes.

Specifically, using data from 16 countries, the researchers found that increasing Texas to 50% alcohol would be the most cost-effective policy to reduce harmful alcohol consumption.

This measure is more effective than alternative options in the same price category, such as sales and advertising time restrictions, and is much less expensive than other policies.

Alcoholism treatment

The goals of the treatment are:

  • Increasing the motivation for abstinence
  • Stabilization of acute physical or psychiatric conditions
  • Identifying social support resources and correcting them
  • Improving professional integration
  • Increasing the chances of successful treatment by maintaining adherence to post-treatment structures or self-help groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous
  • Prolonged support for restructuring an alcohol-free life and for reducing the risks of relapses.

Treatment of alcohol withdrawal

Withdrawal occurs about 12 hours after the last alcohol intake and reaches maximum intensity in 48-72 hours.

It is a medical emergency that can result in death without proper treatment.

It involves revitalization with preparations that must contain vitamin B1, administration of mineral preparations with zinc, magnesium, vitamin D, oral hydration and/or intravenous therapy.

Benzodiazepines such as diazepam or lorazepam are the most commonly used.

Doses are adjusted by a psychiatrist based on the severity of symptoms, the amount of alcohol ingested daily and the period of consumption, the degree of damage to the liver or other vital organs.

On-going treatment for the patient with alcoholism

Maintaining total abstinence primarily involves the patient’s acceptance of the existence of a problem related to alcohol consumption.

Alcoholic anonymous group therapies and family therapy are effective.

Disulfiram – And Alcohol – is a drug that generates an extremely unpleasant reaction to the ingestion of even a small amount of alcohol, with throbbing headaches, sweating, anxiety, difficulty breathing, weakness, confusion. Rarely, complications can occur that can lead to death.

Naltrexone – Revia – decreases the desire to consume alcohol, thus helping the patient to remain abstinent.

It is much more effective as part of a complex intervention program to which is added psychotherapy.

Acamprosate – increases abstinence rates.

Most psychiatrists recommend that the alcohol-dependent patient stay abstinent for life and discourage attempts to drink normally.

Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.

Conclusions

In this blog post, we wrote 13 tips for someone who wants to pace their drinking.

We also wrote about the causes, the signs and symptoms, and the treatment of alcohol addiction.

The definition of alcoholism refers to repeated impairments in different areas of a person’s existence, due to alcohol, despite which the person continues to consume alcoholic beverages.

Someone who wants to pace their drinking could try the 13 tips we mentioned above.

The important thing to remember is that you are not alone, there is treatment available. 

If you have any questions, comments or recommendations, please let us know in the comments section below. 

FAQ about someone who wants to pace their drinking could try

When trying to convince a friend not to drive after drinking you should try?

When trying to convince a friend not to drive after drinking, you should try talking to your friend how unsafe him driving after drinking is.

Remind them that you care about them and that you want them to be safe.

Try to find an alternate solution for them to get home safe. 

Which of the following is a key factor that influences BAC?

BAC or Blood Alcohol Content is influenced by the amount of alcohol you drink but is also strongly influenced by your weight (not by the type of food you eat nor by your height).

Which of the following are potential side effects of drinking alcohol while taking medication?

Some of the potential side effects of drinking alcohol while taking medication are dizziness, nausea and vomiting, fainting, loss of coordination, headaches. 

What has to do with how quickly alcohol enters the bloodstream?

Alcohol takes anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours to enter your bloodstream.

How quickly this happens varies based on your weight, the amount of alcohol, and whether it was consumed with or without a meal.

Further reading

Alcohol and You – 21 Ways to Control and Stop Drinking: How to Give Up Your Addiction and Quit Alcohol, by Lewis David

Alcohol Lied to Me: The Intelligent Way to Escape Alcohol Addiction, by Craig Beck

Easy Way to Control Alcohol (Allen Carr’s Easyway), by Allen Carr 

Alcohol Explained, by William Porter  

The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober: Discovering a happy, healthy, wealthy alcohol-free life, by Catherine Gray

References

NIAAA. Tenth Special Report to the U.S. Congress on alcohol and health. Bethesda MD: NIH; 2000. 

CDC. Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS) 2008. 

Cut Back on Alcohol: 17 Tips to Drink a Little Less. 

The Effectiveness of Tax Policy Interventions for Reducing Excessive Alcohol Consumption and Related Harms. 

Was this post helpful?

[Sassy_Social_Share type="standard"]