Grey area drinking refers to a level of alcohol consumption above what is usually recommended by regulatory bodies but not up to the level of alcohol dependence use. So, grey area drinkers are not alcohol addicts; however, they consume more alcohol than what has been prescribed in the dietary guidelines for alcohol consumption.
It can be challenging to place what grey area drinking is. Still, it is most important to know that any drinking beyond moderate alcohol use is a pattern of consumption that can be characterized as grey area drinking. A study found that about 29.1% of people who consume alcohol practice grey area drinking.
While grey area drinking is notably different from alcohol dependence, there are adverse side effects associated with grey area drinking. These negative effects are often unnoticeable, so many do not seek help as they fail to see the pitfalls in their current level of consumption. A grey area drinker might assume nothing is wrong because they don’t show symptoms that alcohol dependants experience. In this article, you’ll learn about the signs of grey area drinking, its adverse effects, and how to avoid it.
What Are the Signs of Grey Area Drinking?
If you are unsure about your present level of alcohol consumption, here are some signs you can check to know if you are a grey area drinker.
Excessive Worry About Alcohol Consumption
Grey area drinkers often worry about their level of consumption; they often feel within themselves that their current level of consumption might be unhealthy. This excessive worry may be a pointer that your level of alcohol consumption is beyond moderate. On some days, they might think that their level of consumption is healthy; on other days, they are unsure. This is one of the most common signs of grey area drinking.
Inability to Stop Or Reduce Consumption
Another sign that you may practice grey area drinking is if you find it hard to take a break from drinking or even reduce your current intake level. When this happens, it’s a sign that you are not actively in charge of your level of alcohol consumption. Grey area drinkers also find it hard to reduce their consumption even when friends or loved ones raise concerns about their level of alcohol use. This is one of the cardinal signs of grey area drinking. At this point, it is vital to seek help from healthcare professionals.
Feeling Guilty Over Level of Intake
Grey area drinkers also feel bad after a session of drinking; it is as though they have a feeling within themselves that their level of drinking is not quite right. Grey area drinking is often characterized by fluctuations in how you feel about your level of drinking.
Adverse Effects of Grey Area Drinking
Grey area drinking also has negative impacts on people who practice it. These effects are often not seen in the short term but over time. Some of the adverse impacts of grey area drinking are described below.
Grey area drinking may also lead to health challenges generally associated with alcohol intake. These include liver damage, elevated blood pressure, and other cardiovascular diseases. Grey area drinking can also lead to different types of cancers.
Adverse Effects on Work and Career
Grey area drinking may also negatively impact a person’s career and job performance. Grey area drinkers may struggle to keep up with appointments due to the aftermath of late-night drinking, and they may struggle to concentrate at work due to excessive obsession with drinking. In extreme cases, grey area drinking can cause some people to lose their job eventually.
Persons who practice grey area drinking are often predisposed to making impaired judgment and exhibit risk-taking behaviors such as driving while drinking. This may lead to fatal consequences such as traffic accidents and civil offenses.
Grey area drinkers may also run at a financial loss; they may spend so much from their finances on getting alcoholic beverages. They may even live in debt in a bid to have the means to purchase alcohol.
Impact on Relationships
Grey area drinking affects the relationships of the person who practices it. Usually, this may be because their loved ones have previously raised concerns about their level of alcohol consumption. Refusing relatives’ advice and concerns may strain relationships.
How You Can Avoid Grey Area Drinking
Here are some tips on how you can avoid grey area drinking:
- Set well-defined limits to your alcohol consumption pattern
- Train yourself to develop coping mechanisms to deal with stress and distressing situations instead of alcohol.
- To prevent grey area drinking, you should find other leisure alternatives like walking or hanging out with friends rather than spending all your free time on alcohol.
Seeking Help to Address Grey Area Drinking
Grey area drinking can be managed if you seek help; not seeking help may predispose you to alcohol use disorder. Seeking help from professionals can help address managing your consumption level and the negative impacts of grey area drinking.
At BNI Treatment Centers, we provide comprehensive treatment for teens and adolescents. We offer primary mental health care and treat behavioral challenges and dual diagnosis. Our programs include acute stabilization, medical detox, residential treatment, partial hospitalization, and intensive outpatient programs. We also provide academic support to patients who may need to be away from school for treatment. Contact us today to help yourself or a loved one achieve optimum wholeness and well-being.