August 24, 2022 Alcohol

How Much Alcohol Per Week Does an Alcoholic Consume?

Graphics for warning signs of alcoholism alcohol

If you are someone who has an alcoholic beverage often, you may have wondered how many alcoholic drinks per week makes you an alcoholic. Tracking the amount of alcohol you are consuming as well your drinking patterns throughout the week can play an important role in avoiding substance abuse.

It allows you to stay within safe drinking limits and can help prevent the body from developing a dependency on the substance. When this happens, an individual struggle to go about their daily life without consuming alcohol.

They often experience painful withdrawal symptoms as a result of not drinking enough alcohol throughout the day. The Indiana Center for Recovery provides the medical care and support necessary for overcoming alcohol addiction.

Understanding Alcohol Use Disorder

Alcohol Use Disorder, also known as alcoholism, is a chronic disease that involves a lack of control over an individual’s excessive alcohol consumption, constant urges to drink, and an overall negative emotional state.

Alcohol use Disorder can be caused by various factors such as drinking from an early age, using alcohol to self-medicate other conditions, having a family history of alcoholism, etc. In the United States, over 14 million people currently struggle with alcoholism, and an average of 95,000 people die every year due to alcohol-related causes.

Finding treatment for alcohol use disorder as soon as possible is crucial as long-term, sometimes irreversible health problems can develop from extended alcohol abuse such as heart disease or liver damage. An important thing to remember is that alcohol’s harms will always outweigh its pleasurable benefits.

Warning Signs of Alcohol Abuse

There are a few warning signs that a person struggling with alcoholism may exhibit. It is important to pay careful attention to any changes in one’s behaviors if you suspect they have a drinking problem.

Some of the most common warning signs of alcoholism include:

  • Experiencing frequent temporary blackouts
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Becoming distant from family members, friends, and other personal relationships
  • Experiencing uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms like headaches, nausea, shakiness, and sweating during extended periods of not drinking
  • Making excuses and trying to hide alcohol use from loved ones
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Weight gain

If you or a loved one frequently uses alcohol and is exhibiting these signs of alcoholism, it may be time to seek help from a professional who can provide treatment steps.

How Many Drinks Per Week is Too Much?

Most people like to enjoy an alcoholic drink every so often and this is entirely normal. It can become problematic when an individual is drinking excessive amounts of alcohol every day since they can become dependent on the substance. So, what is a safe amount of alcohol to drink per week?

According to the CDC, having any more than 14 drinks for men and eight drinks for women per week is considered heavy drinking, so it is recommended to keep below that amount. With that being said, even if you are drinking that much alcohol per week, that does not automatically make you an alcoholic.

Alcoholism is more about how the alcohol is negatively impacting your life and not how many drinks you have. If you are struggling to limit your alcohol intake, you may have developed an alcohol dependency and should stop drinking altogether before the addiction can progress into an alcohol use disorder.

Alcoholism Treatment

Fortunately, there are plenty of treatment options available to those with an addiction to alcohol. Treatment facilities provide the ideal safe place for patients to successfully recover from their addiction.

Residential vs. Outpatient

There are two main options when it comes to treatment programs at a rehab facility and these are residential and outpatient. Residential treatment involves the patient living full-time at the care center and being monitored 24/7 by medical professionals.

Outpatient programs are catered for those with a busier schedule and involve the patient returning to the facility for scheduled sessions with the professional.

Residential treatment is suggested for those with more severe disorders. It is ideal to be surrounded by medical professionals when experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms such as seizures.

Detox Program

A detoxification program involves ridding the body entirely of the substance being abused. This can be a challenging step in the process as it can lead to incredibly uncomfortable and even painful withdrawal symptoms. Having the support of a rehabilitation center can significantly ease the process and prevent any medical problems throughout.

Therapy Sessions

Behavioral therapy sessions are also provided by treatment facilities and play a huge role in a successful recovery. There are a few different types of behavioral therapy offered for alcoholism, including:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
  • Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET)


The goal of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is to identify feelings and situations that are responsible for excessive alcohol use patterns as well as manage stress that can lead to relapse. Once these feelings and situations are identified, the patient can learn how to replace them with more positive ones.


Dialectical Behavioral therapy involves a philosophical approach to recovery and is designed to help patients find an emotional balance in their life.


During motivational enhancement therapy, the focus is to motivate the patient to overcome their addiction and change their perspective on recovery.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How many drinks per month is considered an alcoholic?

According to the CDC, excessive drinking can be defined as 56 standard drinks and 32 drinks per month for women. While this does not necessarily make you an alcoholic, it can play a huge role in developing an alcohol use disorder.

Is one drink a day considered an alcoholic?

This can depend on what type of alcohol you are drinking and how many servings you are having of it and other drinks every single day. While one beer or glass of wine a day is not ideal, it is much safer than taking several shots of liquor throughout the day.

How much alcohol consumption per week is healthy?

Moderate drinking, according to the CDC is anything less than 14 drinks for men and less than eight drinks for women.