What Are Problem Drinkers?

Did you know that in the U.S, there are an estimated 9.7 million underage drinkers between the ages of 12 and 20?

In the 2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health compiled by the U.S Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), it reported that “There were an estimated 9.7 million underage (aged 12 to 20) drinkers in 2011, including 6.1 million binge drinkers and 1.7 million heavy drinkers.”

These statistics are alarming, considering all the consequences of alcohol abuse, which we will discuss a bit later.

If you are wondering ‘what are problem drinkers?’ this article will provide you with all the warning signs to look out for and also, what can be done to help.


Most problem drinkers will usually deny that there is any issue at hand. The individual may become stubborn and irritated if they are confronted about their drinking, even if they are sober.

In some cases, depending on the severity of the situation, the problem drinker may even become violent, abusive and unmanageable if the individual consumes massive amounts of alcohol, which could even cause them to experience a ‘waking blackout’, which enables the person to continue physical action without any mental awareness or inhibitions.

Career Problems

Problem drinkers won’t be able to focus and be productive in the workplace.

These individuals may stay absent from work, provide slow and poor quality productiveness and eventually move from job to job due to a loss of focus and/or termination of contract.

However, it’s been found that problem drinkers who do decide to get help are able to re-establish themselves in the workplace and become successful once again.

Drinking Over the Limit

Problem drinkers will consume excessive amounts of alcohol, way above the safe drinking levels each day.

According to the U.S National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), the safe drinking limits are as follows:

Moderate or “low-risk” drinking

Research shows that people who drink moderately may be less likely to experience an alcohol use disorder (AUD). These drinking levels, which differ for men and women, are:

For men:

  • No more than 4 drinks on any single day AND no more than 14 drinks per week

For women:

  • No more than 3 drinks on any single day AND no more than 7 drinks per week
  • To stay low risk for AUDs, you must keep within both the single-day and weekly limits.”

Source: http://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/overview-alcohol-consumption/moderate-binge-drinking

When these levels are exceeded on a regular basis, the problem drinker will eventually develop a higher tolerance to alcohol, meaning the individual will need to drink more and more to experience effects that were once achieved through consuming smaller amounts.

If you find that you or a loved one is drinking more than what you used to before becoming intoxicated, then it’s a clear sign that there is a problem at hand.

Breakdown of Relationships

Problem drinkers will also begin to experience the breakdown of relationships with the important people in their lives. Family and friends will often be neglected and avoided as the individual may feel ashamed about their drinking problem or simply choose to use their time to consume alcohol.

In some cases, problem drinkers may even begin to steal from family members and friends in order to fund their drinking problem.

Deteriorating Health

Problem drinkers who consume excessive amounts of alcohol will eventually begin to experience various health problems.

These may range from:

  • Nausea

  • Dehydration

  • Alcohol poisoning

  • Blackouts

Should the problem drinking continue over a prolonged period of time, the health effects may also include:

  • Liver Cirrhosis

  • Changes in body weight

  • Psychological disorders (depression etc.)

It Affects Everyone

As we mentioned above, alcohol abuse doesn’t only affect problem drinkers but also the people that love them the most.

It places not only their lives in danger, but also the wellbeing of their family, friends and even your co-workers if the individual drives or uses dangerous machinery while under the influence of alcohol.

So why wait until something bad happens before deciding to get help? We urge you to do the right thing and seek professional medical assistance before things get out of hand.

There are various supports groups that can help, such as the world famous Alcoholics Anonymous group, which has helped thousands of people live clean and sober lifestyles again.

You can also call us for help, as we provide access into the best private alcohol treatment centres in South Africa, the United Kingdom and Thailand.

Call us now and let one of our friendly and qualified addiction counsellors assist in finding the best treatment available for you or a loved one.

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