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The three questions that reveal if you have a drinking problem (even if you think you don’t have one)

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You could be fooling yourself about your drinking habits, even if you think you’re staying within the ‘safe drinking’ guidelines of one of two glasses of wine a day-and there are three questions you can ask yourself in order to find out.
To discover whether you have a drinking problem when you really don’t think you do, ask yourself these questions:
1. Have people annoyed you by criticising your drinking?
2. Have you ever felt bad or guilty about your drinking?
3. Have you ever had a drink first thing in the morning to steady your nerves or get rid of a hangover?
Answer ‘yes’ to any of these questions, and you should look at cutting back on your drinking, even if you think you’re staying within the recommended ‘safe’ daily intake of one or two small glasses of wine.
People who are drinking this amount could still suffer severe memory loss in old age, say researchers from the University of Exeter. In fact, people who claim to be moderate drinkers-and who stay within the safe drinking guidelines-are still twice as likely as a non-drinker to have memory problems.
Their discovery was based on an analysis of 6,542 people who were aged between 51 and 61 in 1992, 164 of whom suffered either severe cognitive or memory loss over the following 19 years. A history of ‘alcohol use disorder’, which included people drinking within safe limits, doubled the chance of suffering severe memory loss, but didn’t seem to affect cognitive ability to any great extent.
This suggests that the safe drinking guidelines aren’t safe at all, says lead researcher Dr Ian Lang, and that drinking every day could lead to brain damage and memory loss which isn’t reversible.
(Source: American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 2014; doi: 10.1016/j.jagp.2014.06.001)

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