Study says excessive drinkers aren’t always marked for alcoholism

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DENVER -- Many people are stocking up on wine and liquor as we close in on the holiday season.  A new study shows those who drink excessively aren't necessarily headed for alcoholism but could be on a dangerous slippery slope.

The study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows while one in three adults drink excessively, 90 percent of them are not alcoholics.

Researchers define excessive as having five drinks on one occasion for men and four drinks for women, who can be hit much harder by the effects.

Medical experts warn that if your drinking is no longer social but turning into an everyday thing you may need some help.

Michelle Flake, a licensed counselor at the Arapahoe House addiction recovery center says the line between an excessive drinking habit and alcoholism can be blurry, but eventually there are signs that make it clear the drinker is headed down a dangerous path.

She says they include “changes in mood, maybe an increase in anger. They might become more distant.”

A developing alcoholic may also try to hide their drinking from others and convince family and friends that it’s okay for them to have several drinks.

Flake says loved ones can make a difference through gentle confrontations. “Talk with them when they're not intoxicated when they have a clearer mind and are more open to the feedback, not coming from a place of anger or emotion but really trying to be compassionate.”

This approach can be the best way to keep a bad habit from reeling out of control.  If you feel you may have a problem with alcohol and need help contact the Arapahoe House or Denver Area Alcoholics Anonymous.

Get information if you need financial assistance for recovery.