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You probably believe that you are an “occasional drinker” because after all, enjoying a glass of wine or good ol’ Old Monk once in a while is hardly indication of a serious drinking problem, right?

Oh, and you may have been enjoying your drinks a tad bit more recently because of all the birthday parties and office outings, but then again, that doesn’t mean anything.

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So, what’s the problem?

Let’s begin by addressing the question: Who are problem drinkers? People who binge drink more than three times a month are more likely to overdrink during another occasion as well, says Asha Patyal, MD, According to her, “Having a drink here and there may seem harmless but it affects the body in more ways than you can imagine”.

So how do you know if you are overdoing it? Here are the least obvious signs that you should watch out for.

The Weekend Is Here!

Looking forward to the weekend so you can wash the week’s stress away with your favourite drink? Red Flag! Abstaining all week only to guzzle 5 drinks on a weekend is a sign that you are out of control, without even realising it. 

Side effects: Higher risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, alcohol poisoning.

You Just Can’t Remember

Everyone capacity to digest alcohol varies but if your brain feels a little foggy and disoriented all the time, then it’s time to go easy. Studies have shown that drinking too much affects memory by tarnishing glutamate, a brain messenger.  

Side effects: Lessened ability to absorb and retain information, brain fog, grumpiness and confusion .

You Want To Be “Too Much Fun”

A drink or two does lower inhibition but if you consider yourself “way more fun” after downing a couple, then it’s a serious sign. The fact that you become a daredevil or a party animal may seem like fun, but it can lead to risky decisions which can be quite humiliating in general.

Side effects: Fatal falls, sexual assaults, embarrassing behaviour (remember the time when danced on the bar table?)

Your Stomach Can’t Handle It

Is stomach feeling a “little off” lately? Problems like sensitive stomach and recurrent diarrhea is your body’s way of informing you to slow down. “When you drink frequently, your liver struggles to cope as it not able to assimilate fat properly because it has to cope with all the alcohol floating in the system,” says Dr. Patyal.

Side effects: Liver problems, poor digestion, constant feeling of nausea

Sleep, Where Are You?

Did you know that moderate drinking causes insomnia? Yes, it’s true. Alcohol rewires the brain in such a way that the brain forgets to slow down, to the extent that sleep may seem like an elusive dream without a drink.

Side effects: Hypertension, high blood pressure, fatigue, brain fog.

“Just like any other drug, you get reliant on alcohol without even realising”, concludes Dr. Patyal. This does not mean that you need to go cold turkey and stop drinking altogether but it’s best to be aware and make a positive change to help you and your lifestyle.

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