Does Drinking A Bottle Of Wine A Day Mean You’re An Alcoholic?
Drinking a bottle of wine a day is not uncommon in today’s society, however, it may be a sign that you’re an alcoholic and suffer from alcohol addiction.
If you are drinking a bottle of wine each day or every night, you may have concerns about your alcohol consumption: Is it healthy? Does it mean I have alcoholism? Will I have withdrawal symptoms If I want to stop? How do I stop? These are all perfectly normal worries and questions to ask.
In this article, we will provide you with the facts and risks associated with regular and heavy drinking. We will also answer the more common questions that people have relating to the signs of alcoholism.
When A Glass of Wine Isnt Enough: It Has To Be The Whole Bottle
Before we go into the risks associated with drinking a whole bottle of wine a night, let’s first look at how you got from 1 glass to several glasses.
Alcohol is an addictive substance, and when you consume it regularly, your tolerance to its effects increases. It is improbable that when you first started drinking, you would drink a bottle of wine a day just to relax or assist sleep. In fact, drinking a bottle of wine would likely have made you feel extremely drunk, perhaps even vomit. However, as time goes on and with repeated exposure, the brain adapts to function with alcohol. These changes in the brain mean that more alcohol is required to achieve the desired effect.
Let’s say you are now drinking a bottle of wine a day. Does this mean you are an alcoholic? Not necessarily. This could be purely down to your brain becoming tolerant of alcohol’s effects. However, here is a warning, tolerance is one of the first signs of alcohol addiction, meaning you are at risk of becoming alcoholic and of your drinking increasing as time goes on. Drinking this amount every day also puts you well over the Chief Medical Officer’s safer drinking guidelines.
How Many Units of Alcohol A Day Is Safe?
The Chief Medical Officers’ Low-Risk Drinking Guidelines state that no more than 14 alcoholic units should be consumed over a 7-day period; for both men and women. They further recommend that these units should be spread out over a period of 3-4 days, with alcohol-free days in between. Alcohol-free days give your body a chance to flush all alcohol out of your system, providing your organs with a much-needed reprieve from alcohol’s toxins.
If you are drinking a bottle of wine every day, you will constantly have some alcohol in your system and be at risk of the numerous conditions that are associated with regular and heavy drinking
Regularly consuming over 14 units of alcohol a week puts you at higher risk of:
- Various types of cancer
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Heart disease
- Liver disease
- Sexual problems
- Brain damage
- Damage to the nervous system
- Mental health illness and worsening of pre-existing conditions
The Risks of Drinking a Bottle of Wine A Day
Most bottles of wine contain, on average, between 11% and 13% ABV. Drinking a bottle of 12% wine a day means that you will be consuming 9 units of alcohol every day, equivalent to 63 units per week. This is 4.5 times the recommended low-risk drinking guidelines.
Drinking a bottle of wine a day or night is also considered alcohol abuse and puts you at risk of becoming physically dependent on alcohol and developing alcohol addiction. This means that when you try to stop or reduce the amount that you drink, you may suffer some uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms that make the process difficult to complete.
Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms From a Bottle of Wine Every Day Include:
- Vivid dreams
- Alcohol cravings
Whilst you are unlikely to suffer from severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms such as delirium tremens and seizures when stopping a bottle of wine a day, cravings and discomfort can make it challenging to stop. If you are elderly, have been drinking a bottle of wine daily for a very long period of time, or have underlying mental or physical health conditions, you should always consult your doctor or a health professional before attempting to quit alcohol.
Drinking Between 8 and 12 Units of Alcohol a Day
Depending on the alcohol volume contained within the bottle of wine you are consuming, it is likely that you are consuming between 8 and 12 units of alcohol daily.
Drinking between 8 and 12 units of alcohol each day is likely to have the following effects:
- Delayed reactions times
- Impaired judgement
- Slurred speech
- Changes in appetite
- Poor absorption of vitamins, including essential brain health B vitamins
- Dehydration and headaches the following day
- Poor quality sleep
- Impaired cognition
- Poor mental health
Whilst you may feel that drinking a bottle of wine a day positively affects your stress levels, sleep and mental health, the opposite is true. Alcohol may seem to help you relax and unwind, but the effects are short-lived and give way to an overall negative impact on your mental and physical well-being.
The Effects of Drinking a Bottle Of Wine a Day For 10 or 20 Years
Constantly bombarding your body with alcohol means that your system never has a chance to function without alcohol. On average, the liver can process 1 unit of alcohol per hour. However, this changes when there is a backlog of alcoholic units for it to process.
With your liver constantly operating under pressure, it becomes less effective at doing its job. This can result in alcohol’s toxins staying in your system for longer than they normally would and consequently causing more damage.
If you have been drinking a bottle of wine daily for ten or twenty years, it is highly likely you have developed a physical and emotional dependence on alcohol. Additionally, you may also suffer from physical and psychological symptoms that indicate you are drinking too much.
Another thing to consider is the financial cost. Whilst spending an average of £5 on a bottle of wine a day may not seem much, it all adds up:
£5 X 7 (days a week) = £35.00 weekly
35 X 52 (weeks in a year) = £1,820.00 yearly
If you have been drinking a bottle of wine a day for the past ten years, this is the equivalent of £18, 200.00
Im sure you will agree that this is quite a sum of money that could have been saved had you not been drinking.
Whilst drinking alcohol frequently is an expensive habit, there is no amount of money that can buy peace of mind, health and contentment. These things can seem out of reach whilst still using alcohol as a crutch to get through the day or night.
The Physical Effects of Drinking a Bottle of Wine A Day for 10 or 20 Years include:
- Chronic lethargy
- Gastric problems
- Reduced Memory and Cognition
- Certain types of cancer
- High Blood Pressure
- Decreased Immune system function
- Brain fog
- Sleep disorders
- Sexual dysfunction
- Liver disease (Including Cirrhosis)
- Heart disease
- Weight gain and Type 2 diabetes
If you have been drinking a bottle of wine a night for years, changes in your physical and mental health can be so subtle that you attribute them to other causes. The reality is that giving up alcohol will only have a positive effect on your physical and mental health, both in the short term and in the long term. Many conditions that are developed through drinking too much alcohol can be reversed if they are caught in time.
In addition to the physical effects of drinking a bottle of wine daily, psychologically, this can have a hugely detrimental impact on your mental health. Alcohol is a depressant and will prevent any antidepressant medications or therapies from being fully effective.
Alcoholic Warning Signs: Is Drinking A Bottle Of Wine A Day One of Them?
There are many components that contribute to a diagnosis of alcoholism (alcohol addiction), but none of them are based on the actual amount you drink. Because of this, drinking a bottle of wine a day does not necessarily mean that you are an alcoholic. It may well mean that you suffer from alcohol dependence, but this is different to full-blown alcohol addiction.
Alcoholism is at the most severe end of the alcohol use disorder spectrum and describes an illness that is both physical and psychological in nature. This life-threatening disorder is progressive and chronic and can only be treated through complete abstinence and comprehensive rehabilitation. There is no cure for alcoholism, meaning that no amount of alcohol is safe for a person who suffers.
The Signs of Alcoholism include:
- Progression: Progressively drinking more alcohol over a period of time due to tolerance of alcohol. Have you increased the frequency, amount or strength of alcohol you drink?
- Preoccupation: Being preoccupied with planning, buying, drinking and recovering from alcohol use. Is a lot of your thinking consumed with thoughts around alcohol?
- Attempts to moderate or quit: Have you previously tried to moderate or quit alcohol completely without success? Do you sometimes manage to stop drinking only to return to it at a later stage?
- Alcohol cravings: Do you experience cravings for alcohol, even when you are sober?
- Compulsion: Do you find yourself swearing that you will not drink alcohol today, only to find your mind has completely changed later in the day? Do you really want to stop drinking but find that you compulsively seek and drink alcohol?
- Continuation despite negative consequences: Frequent and heavy drinking can carry many negative consequences. Yet, despite these consequences, you continue to drink. Has drinking alcohol negatively impacted your role as a parent or employee? Does it interrupt your ability to socialise? Has it caused problems in the home, with partners, family and friends? Do you feel it affects your mood, energy levels or ability to concentrate?
If you find that you can identify with some of the signs of alcoholism, it is important to seek help sooner rather than later. Untreated alcohol addiction only ever gets worse over time. Recovery from alcohol addiction is possible with the right support and treatment. You can live a life that is free from alcohol and self-destructive behaviours. Call us to find out how.
Worried About Stopping A Bottle of Wine a Day?
Many people drink excessively as an attempt to self-medicate symptoms of stress, boredom, anxiety or depression. Perhaps you drink a bottle of wine every night to help you to unwind and sleep. Maybe even the idea of that first glass of wine helps your shoulders to physically drop, allowing you to breathe. This being the case, it can be hard to envisage a life without alcohol in it. How will you cope without your regular evening tipple?
Drinking to relieve symptoms of boredom, stress, insomnia, and anxiety is not uncommon. The point is that alcohol is only, at best, a very temporary solution. As soon as alcohol’s effects wear off, these symptoms return, and more often than not, they are made worse.
If you want to stop drinking alcohol every day, there is a need to find an alternative and healthier way to cope with thoughts and emotions that don’t harm your well-being or further compound the problem. In this respect, recovery is always worth a try. It certainly won’t harm you and could potentially transform your whole way of thinking and attitude toward life.
Stopping Alcohol Safely
The first step in alcohol recovery is to stop all alcohol safely. Some people need help with this as they struggle to control their alcohol consumption on their own. For some, it is not safe for them to stop drinking completely without medical intervention. There is no shame in asking for help when you need it.
Before physically stopping alcohol, it is recommended that you have a medical assessment to determine the safest and most practical way for you to stop. A bottle of wine a day or night may not seem that much, but if you have become physically and mentally reliant on it, it can feel like an impossible task. This is where professional help and support can prove invaluable.
There are various methods to stopping a bottle of wine a day:
- Cutting down: Also known as a tapering-off regime, you can stop drinking by reducing the amount you drink over a few days until you reach zero alcohol consumption. This process works well for those that are not physically dependent and do not suffer from an alcohol use disorder.
- Cold Turkey: Going cold turkey describes quitting all alcohol consumption suddenly and completely. Before attempting to quit alcohol cold turkey, you should always seek advice from a healthcare professional to ensure it is safe for you as an individual to attempt.
- Medical detox: A medical detox is usually completed as an inpatient but can also be completed at home with support. Medication is prescribed to alleviate cravings and common alcohol withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety and insomnia. Medical detox is clinically proven to be the safest way to completely where an alcohol dependence is identified.
For more information and to find the safest and easiest way for you to detox from alcohol, call and speak with one of our trained addiction experts. We will take into consideration your history with alcohol, current medications, budget, support system and overwell wellbeing to advise you on the best course of action to get and stay sober.
- Low-risk drinking guidelines: https://www.nhsinform.scot/healthy-living/alcohol/low-risk-drinking-guidelines
- The risks of drinking too much: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/alcohol-advice/the-risks-of-drinking-too-much/#:~:text=The%20type%20of%20illnesses%20you,heart%20disease
- Can alcohol increase my risk of diabetes: https://alcoholchange.org.uk/alcohol-facts/fact-sheets/alcohol-and-diabetes#:~:text=Alcoholic%20drinks%20often%20contain%20quite,risk%20of%20Type%202%20diabetes.