Learn how to spot the signs of an alcohol use issue

woman heart failure

April marks Alcohol Awareness Month, a time to think about how alcohol fits into your life. Often, drinking is part of celebrating and unwinding. But fun times can lead to trouble when it turns into binge drinking or overindulging.

It's important to be aware of your drinking habits. If you or a loved one experiences two or more of these signs within a year, it might be time to seek help:

  • Drinking more or longer than you meant to.
  • Wanting to cut down but not managing to.
  • Failing to do what you should at work, school or home because of drinking.
  • Having problems with friends or family because of alcohol and still drinking.

Knowing your limits and pacing alcohol intake is an important part of having responsible drinking habits. If you are drinking, it is better to do so slowly so that the alcohol in the bloodstream does not suddenly spike to dangerous levels. This can occur if a woman consumes four drinks or a man consumes five drinks in the span of 2 hours.

Symptoms of overdrinking

Drinking too much can lead to an alcohol overdose, which is when your brain can't handle vital functions. Symptoms include:

  • Being confused
  • Passing out
  • Throwing up
  • Having seizures
  • Breathing problems
  • Not being able to gag, which can stop choking
  • Being very cold

An alcohol overdose is an emergency. If you see these signs, call 911 right away.

What’s up with resveratrol?

Resveratrol is a substance found in grapes, wine, nuts and berries, and some studies over the past two decades have suggested it has potential antioxidant, anti-cancer and anti-aging properties. But recent research suggests the question is very complicated, and that drinking to ingest resveratrol can include substantial risks.

Responsible drinking is key to your health and safety. If you or someone close to you is drinking too much regularly, now's the time to get help.