What is Disordered Drinking?

By: Renown Wellness Team

January 11, 2023

Bar with empty drinks

An alcohol problem can affect anyone at any age. Many factors, including job stress, genetics or depression, may contribute to the start of disordered drinking. 

Drinking alcohol exists on a continuum. For example, if someone feels down in the dumps for some time, it doesn’t mean they are clinically depressed. So if someone goes through a period with above-normal alcohol consumption, it doesn’t necessarily mean they abuse alcohol.

Although “alcoholic” and “alcoholism” are common, they are not clinical descriptions. Alcohol use disorder is the preferred term. Symptoms are often mild but can be the start of a more significant problem. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), over 16 million adults live with alcohol use disorder.

Symptoms of Alcohol Use Disorder

Do you recognize any of the following symptoms in yourself or someone you know?
  • Drinking more or longer than intended
  • Trying to cut down or stop drinking but not able to
  • Having to drink more than you once did to get the same feeling
  • Being annoyed when family members discuss your drinking
  • Regretting your behavior while you were drinking

Alcohol Health Risks

Studies show there is no safe level of alcohol consumption, as the negative effects outweigh any health benefits. Harmful drinking can cause the following health problems:
  • Depression
  • Social problems
  • Alcohol-related accidents
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Various types of cancer
  • Sleep loss
  • Liver disease
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism there is a difference between heavy drinking and binge drinking.
  • Heavy drinking: Having more than seven drinks per week
  • Binge drinking: Having over four drinks within two hours

If you're worried about alcohol overuse, consult a doctor or addiction service. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has 24/7 helpline available for treatment referrals: 1-800-662-HELP (4357).


    • Previous Article

    10 Facts About Seasonal Affective Disorder

    Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a form of depression linked to seasonal changes. Learn to recognize the symptoms of SAD in your kids (or yourself) should they appear. We checked in with Dr. Vanessa Slots, the Division Chief of General...
    Read More
    • Next Article

    Primary Care vs. Urgent Care vs. The ER

    When seeking medical care, there are several different provider types and options from which to choose. For example, you may have asked yourself a common question: Should I go to my primary care provider, urgent care or the emergency room?...
    Read More