Wine Addiction And Treatment Options

Wine addiction may be more difficult to identify than alcoholism. Treatment for wine addiction may involve detoxification, formal therapy, and more.

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Wine has been produced and consumed for many centuries. In today’s go-go-go society, a glass of wine has seemingly been deemed the perfect antidote to all the excess stress we’re under.

This fermented fruit drink even has an air of sophistication and class around it, but how easy is it to go from drinking one glass to the entire bottle? Many people joke about how getting rid of wine would be difficult for them. These jokes only seem to reinforce what a necessity wine is to their daily lives. But how big a part does it truly play?

Ending the day with a glass of wine can provide some health benefits as well as help with relaxation, however this glass-a-night ritual may become a slippery slope towards addiction.

Defining Wine Addiction

Not everyone who drinks wine will struggle with addiction to it, but wine addiction may be more difficult to identify compared to general alcoholism. This is because wine is more socially accepted, typically consumed in a highly engaged social setting or in the privacy of one’s home. Making it can be difficult to admit how much wine you’ve had to drink or honestly keep track of how much you’ve consumed.

The same active ingredient, ethyl alcohol or ethanol, is found in wine, beer, and hard liquor. Most experts argue that because they all share the same active ingredient there is no alcoholic beverage that is more addictive than another.

However, many people have reported preferring the taste of wine to other alcoholic drinks. The rate at which different types of drinks are consumed is another thing to take into consideration. The “standard” single serving of wine is considered to be five fluid ounces of table wine at 12 percent alcohol content, where a “standard” single serving of beer is 12 fluid ounces at 12 percent alcohol content.

Even though they contain the same alcohol content, the lesser amount is more quickly consumed — especially when its taste is prefered, and this can subconsciously make someone feel like they’re not consuming as much. Of course, light to moderate wine consumption is not necessarily the problem but drinking to excess can be.

A single 750 milliliter bottle of wine contains about five servings. Consuming more than three glasses of wine a night or 14 to 17 glasses a week is considered problematic drinking behavior, and may mean addiction is present.

For those who suffer from wine addiction, inpatient drug and alcohol treatment centers are great resources to begin healing and regaining personal freedom from this specific addiction.

Signs And Symptoms Of Wine Addiction

It is socially okay to consume wine, in any amount, so long as the person drinks in moderation. However, when over consumed, wine can be hard on the body. This is especially true of the skin and liver.

The first major sign of wine addiction, or addiction to alcohol, is tolerance. If it is noticed that more wine is needed each time you drink in order to feel drunk or you notice that you can drink a lot more than others without feeling drunk, then a tolerance to wine may have started to develop.

It is not always simple to determine the difference between social drinking and problem drinking, especially when wine is involved.

Some signs and symptoms of an addiction to wine may include:

  • Feeling guilty about your drinking.
  • Repeatedly ignoring responsibilities at work, home, or school because of drinking.
  • Continuing to drink, even if it is causing problems in your relationships.
  • Lying to others to hide your drinking habits.
  • Needing a drink in order to relax or feel better.
  • Blacking out or forgetting what you did while you were drinking.
  • Regularly drinking more than you planned to.

The bottom line is, if wine is causing problems in your life, then it’s likely that addiction is present. Wine addiction is not harmless and can lead to internal destruction without the proper treatment.

Wine Addiction Withdrawal Symptoms

Another major sign of wine addiction is withdrawal. Drinking to avoid withdrawal symptoms is a major red flag. When someone drinks heavily over a period of time, the body gets used to the amount of alcohol in its systems and can experience withdrawal if it is suddenly taken away.

Worsened headaches are often experienced from over consumption of wine due to the excess sugars in the drink that dehydrate the body more quickly than other types of alcohol do.

Other withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • anxiety or jumpiness
  • shakiness or trembling
  • excessive sweating
  • nausea and vomiting
  • insomnia
  • depression
  • irritability
  • fatigue
  • loss of appetite
  • headache

Who Is Affected By Wine Addiction?

Women and millennials are more likely to fall victim to wine addiction. A study by USA Today found women make up two-thirds of people who drink three or more glasses of wine a day. The Wine Market Council also notes that women are more than half as likely as men to drink wine.

Another study noted “Wine is winning with women,” as they account for 57 percent of wine volume in the U.S. The USA study also found that 159.6 million cases of wine were consumed in 2015 by people 21 to 38 years old, or millennials. If fact, the surge in high frequency wine drinkers (more than 3 glasses a day) rose from 7.9 percent in 2005 to 13.9 percent in 2010 thanks to millennials, according to the Wine Market Council’s study.

Millennials, in general, are 40 percent more likely to consume alcohol, including beer, wine, and other liquors, when compared to the overall adult population. It should be noted, though, that only four percent of millennials drink only wine several times a year or more.

Wine Affects Men And Women Differently

While men do have a greater capacity for metabolising alcohol than women do, there are specific risks to both genders when wine is consumed in excess.

Risks to men include:

  • negative effects to the reproductive organs and systems
  • possible increased risk of prostate cancer (not definitively proven, yet)
  • risk of cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver from daily drinking
  • greater risks for alcohol-related suicide

Risks to women include:

  • increased risk of breast cancer
  • ethanol turns to teratogen (a factor that causes malformation of embryos)
  • due to body chemistry, alcohol is absorbed more slowly in women, so it stays in the body
  • for a longer period of time, potentially causing more damage.

Light to moderate consumption of wine has been shown to provide some health benefits in some cases. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Defense defines moderate drinking to be two drinks or less per day for men (10oz of wine), and one drink or less (5oz of wine) per day for women.

The heart benefits of wine seem to occur in women when approximately one-third of a serving of wine (roughly 1.6 oz) is consumed per day. Many specialists recommend taking “days off” drinking, even at light/moderate rates to guard against damage to the liver.

There are, however, some limitations to the health benefits of wine these include:

  • No perceived health benefits for people under 40 years of age.
  • Heavy drinking can lead to serious cardiac issues.
  • Though it is unknown as to why, health benefits of wine do not seem to apply to African
  • Americans and some other racial/ethnic groups.
  • Drinking pattern is important – the heart benefits of wine disappear when light to moderate drinking is mixed with irregular, binge-drinking.

With these limitations in mind, it is easy to see that someone suffering from addiction to wine would never experience these mild health benefits, due to the over consuming wine which has shown to do more harm than good.

Treatment For Wine Addiction

Wine addiction may seem like any other alcohol addiction, but there are some things that make it unique. Because wine is so socially accepted within our culture it is arguably a substance that can be more habit forming and ritualistic than other alcoholic beverages.

There are certain instances, in daily life which invoke wine drinking such as the end of a romantic meal, the end of a stressful day, or various weekend and holiday celebrations. It can be more difficult for people suffering from wine addiction to give up their wine, because drinking it has become so ingrained into their regular life.

Separating someone suffering from addiction to wine from the wine itself almost always requires detoxification, intensive counseling, and lots of time to heal. There are many inpatient addiction treatment programs tailored specifically for this type of addiction. These programs can be the difference between living a life of choice or letting wine dictate those choices.



National Institutes of Health – Drinking to Excess
Wine Market Council – New Stats on Consumer Wine Consumption Habits

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