Alcohol consumption is a common and socially accepted activity for many adults. It often plays a role in celebrations, relaxation, and social gatherings. However, there’s a fine line between enjoying a drink and having an unhealthy relationship with alcohol.

If you believe you’ve developed a dependence on alcohol, Eka Oyeka, MSN, APRN, PMHNP-BC, and our dedicated team at Harmonica Psychiatry in McKinney, Texas, are here to help. We offer expert care for people with substance use disorders, using medication and therapy to help achieve sobriety.

In the meantime, we also help you explore the signs and symptoms of alcohol use disorder, the differences between moderate and problematic drinking, and the steps you can take if you’re concerned about your drinking habits.

Understanding alcohol use disorder

Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a medical condition characterized by an inability to control your drinking despite consequences. It encompasses a range of behaviors, from mild to severe, making it essential to recognize the following signs and symptoms:

  • Excessive or prolonged drinking
  • Failed attempts to cut down
  • Significant time spent on obtaining or recovering from alcohol’s effects
  • Strong craving for alcohol
  • Neglecting home, school, or work responsibilities due to drinking
  • Relinquishing significant activities because of alcohol use
  • Continued drinking despite awareness of its physical or psychological harm
  • Increased tolerance, requiring more alcohol for the same effect

Moderate vs. problematic drinking

As we delve further into understanding alcohol use disorder, it’s crucial to explore the signs and symptoms that can indicate its presence. Recognizing these indicators is the first step toward seeking help and making positive changes.

Moderate drinking

Moderate drinking involves consuming alcohol responsibly and in a controlled manner, as guidelines recommend up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men. This approach to alcohol consumption may offer some health benefits, including a reduced risk of heart disease. However, it’s essential to maintain this moderation to maximize potential advantages while minimizing the risks associated with excessive drinking.

Problematic drinking

Problematic drinking, on the other hand, is characterized by excessive or uncontrolled alcohol consumption, which can lead to various physical, mental, and social problems. These issues may include health problems, impaired judgment, and strained relationships, highlighting the importance of recognizing when alcohol use has crossed the line into a more problematic pattern.

The gray area

It’s not always easy to differentiate between moderate and problematic drinking, as factors like personal tolerance, genetics, and individual circumstances can blur the lines. If you’re unsure where your drinking habits stand and whether they may cause concern, seeking professional advice can provide the clarity and guidance needed to make informed decisions about your alcohol consumption.

What to do if you are concerned

In the following section, we delve deeper into the potential consequences of alcohol use disorder, emphasizing the importance of early recognition and intervention. Understanding the impact of problematic drinking is crucial to seeking help and making positive changes.


If you think you have a drinking problem, consider evaluating your alcohol use by taking a self-assessment quiz. Many reputable resources offer online assessments to help gauge the severity of your drinking habits.

Seeking professional help

Contact Dr. Oyeka if you believe you have AUD or your drinking is causing distress or harm. Our team can guide treatment options, including counseling, support groups, and inpatient or outpatient programs.

Support systems

Building a support network of friends and family who understand your concerns and goals can be incredibly beneficial. Support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) provide a sense of community and resources to help you overcome problematic drinking.

Setting goals

For many individuals, the goal may not necessarily be complete abstinence but rather a reduction in alcohol consumption. Setting achievable and realistic goals can help you regain control over your drinking.

Ultimately, assessing your alcohol consumption and determining whether you have a drinking problem is a vital step in taking control of your life and well-being. It’s important to remember that seeking help and support is a sign of strength, not weakness.

If you’re ready to learn more, call our office at 469-754 – 9941 or visit our website to request an appointment today!

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