How can I find out if I have a drinking problem?

I hardly drank at all until the kids left home. After that, I gradually added a drink at happy hour, several glasses of wine at dinner, and a nightcap every night. 

I’m so glad you asked! Dealing with an empty nest, the stress of aging parents, or the loss of close friends (to death or relocation) can make us turn to alcohol more often, and to rationalize it. Lots of people do, unfortunately:  Alcohol consumption per person has gone up 8 percent over the past 20 years. Research from NIH shows that alcohol use among all age groups is on the rise and alcohol-related deaths in women more than doubled between 2010 and 2017. The highest rate of alcohol-related deaths in 2017 was among women aged 55 to 64, followed by ages 45 to 54. 

High risk drinking for a woman is four or more drinks. Link to podcast episode with expert, Dr Connie Newman.

Alcoholics Anonymous is the gold standard for treatment. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism is another resource (and it offers an alcohol treatment navigator), as is Rethink Drinking from the NIH, which has its own list of recommended resources, as well as a quiz.

Those resources are just a starting point. Don’t forget that your physician can also help you, if you feel comfortable speaking openly with them about this.