Did you know?1
- Each year around 3 million people around the world die as a result of the harmful use of alcohol.
- The harmful use of alcohol is a casual factor in more than 200 disease and injury conditions.
- Alcohol consumption causes death and disability relatively early in life. In people aged 20–39 years, approximately 13.5% of total deaths are attributable to alcohol.
Alcohol misuse vs Alcohol Use Disorder?
In general, alcohol misuse is considered a short-term issue, while AUD (commonly referred to as alcoholism) refers to a person’s alcohol consumption over a long period of time. Also, with alcoholism being an addiction disorder, people tend to struggle to stop drinking – even if they want to.
Have you ever asked yourself, “Am I drinking too much alcohol?” asks Beatriz Collado Bernabe, Nurse Case Manager at Cigna. “If you relate to some of these points below, you may be guilty of misusing alcohol.”2
- Others have criticized your drinking habits
- You feel you need to cut down on your drinking
- You regularly drink more than 14 units of alcohol per week
- After a night of drinking you’re unable to remember what happened the night before
- You fail to do something that was expected of you as a result of your drinking (e.g. missing an appointment)
- You feel like you need a drink as soon as you wake up in the morning
- You feel guilty about your drinking
Alcohol Use Disorder
Alcoholism – a pattern of alcohol use that is difficult to control. Someone with AUD is usually preoccupied with alcohol and will even continue to drink even though it leads to problems in their personal life. They often have withdrawal symptoms when they rapidly decrease their alcohol consumption or stop drinking.
Time to Cut Back?3
Cutting back on alcohol consumption can be an effective way to improve health, boost energy levels, lose weight and save money. Here are some practical tips to help cut back:
- Plan Ahead – set yourself a drinks limit and try your best to stick to it.
- Set a Budget – similarly, stick to an amount you’re willing to spend on alcohol each month – including an amount for going out.
- Choose Low-Alcohol or No-Alcohol Alternatives – instead of drinking spirits, switch to light or no-alcohol beer, or drink rose instead of red wine.
- Adapt Your Social Habits – instead of dinner and drinks, why not grab a coffee, meet up for brunch, or go out for a walk.
- No More Day Drinking – try limiting your alcohol intake to dinner time. Waiting to have a drink will make it that much more rewarding.
- Find a Hobby – Many people consume alcohol when they’re bored or stressed. Trying out a new activity is a good way to keep yourself entertained. Exercise, for example, will not only keep you busy, but it’s also an excellent stress reliever.
Do you have a problem with alcohol misuse or abuse?
Using data from the World Health Organization, Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT), has developed a short survey to help determine whether your level of alcohol consumption is a problem. Click here to take the survey.
If you have questions about alcohol misuse or abuse, contact your health care provider for advice and support.
1. World Health Organization. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/alcohol. Published May 9, 2022.
2. Overview: Alcohol misuse. NHS. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/alcohol-misuse/. Last updated October 4, 2022.
3. Drink less. NHS. https://www.nhs.uk/better-health/drink-less/. Accessed December 22, 2022.
This information is for educational purposes only. It's not medical advice. Always consult with your health care provider for appropriate examinations, treatment and health care recommendations.
This article serves only as a reference and is intended for informational purposes only. Nothing in this article constitutes legal, tax, financial planning, health or medical advice including diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. References to third-party organizations or companies, and/or their products, processes or services, do not constitute an endorsement or warranty thereof. Products and services may not be available in all jurisdictions and are expressly excluded where prohibited by applicable law. All group insurance policies and health benefit plans contain exclusions and limitations. For costs and details of coverage, contact a Cigna Healthcare representative.
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