Skip to main content

Am I drinking too much?

Woman looking worried with the words "Are you drinking too much, too often?"









(Published April 1, 2022)

The fact that you are wondering if you may be drinking too much is a good start. You have come to the right place.

There is nothing inherently wrong with healthy adults drinking alcohol in moderation. In fact, for many people, following the low-risk guidelines for alcohol consumption can prevent problems. A glass of wine with dinner or an occasional drink with friends is usually not an issue. However, sometimes it can be hard to notice when your drinking behaviors turn into too many, too often. In fact, in Iowa, 23.7 percent of adults 18 and older drink in excess, compared with the national average of 18 percent, according America’s Health Rankings 2019 Annual Report.

But how do you know if you’re drinking too much?

Alcohol affects the body differently based on your age and sex, so when you start to develop a pattern of drinking that exceeds the low-risk guidelines, or you continue to drink despite negative consequences, then you may be developing problematic use of alcohol. For people over 65 and females, this looks like consuming more than four drinks on one occasion or more than seven a week. For males between 21-65 yrs. old, it can look like consuming more than 5 drinks on 1 occasion or more than 14 drinks a week. These patterns of drinking can lead to problems for yourself and your family. Problems may include accidents, injuries, health complications, difficulties accomplishing work and family responsibilities, and developing an alcohol use disorder.

Here are a few questions to help you recognize if you may be consuming too much alcohol:

  • Have you ever felt you should cut down on your drinking?

  • Have people annoyed you by criticizing your drinking?

  • Have you ever had a drink first thing in the morning to steady your nerves or to get rid of a 

  • Have you ever felt bad or guilty about your drinking?

  • Have you ever found yourself drinking alone or in secret? 

Despite the potential harm associated with alcohol consumption, many of the harmful effects are reversible. Identifying problematic drinking early and getting help is critical to reversing many of the resulting mental, emotional and physical side effects. Discovering that you may have a problem with your drinking can be unsettling and worrisome, but we are here for you. Your Life Iowa has resources, advice and a network of professionals that will listen and help you along the path to a healthier life.