Is Drinking Festive or Not?

Is Drinking Festive or Not?

Anyone who consumes too much alcohol too quickly may be in danger of an alcohol overdose.  For a woman 4 standard drinks or for a man 5 standard drinks within two hours are too much.  A standard drink is a 12-ounce beer, a 5-ounce glass of wine or a 1.5 ounce shot of spirits.

But what tips the balance from impairment to overdoing is dependent on one’s age, alcohol tolerance, speed of drinking, food eaten, and medications taken.

Substance use disorder (alcohol or other drugs) is a pattern of symptoms caused by continuing to use a substance despite its negative effects and significant impairment.    There are three severity levels according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-V). Two to three symptoms signify a mild substance use disorder, four to five symptoms signify a moderate substance use disorder, and six or more symptoms signify a severe substance use disorder.

Symptoms of substance abuse or dependence:

  • Needing more drugs or alcohol to get the same effect
  • Having intense cravings or urges to use the substance
  • Too much time thinking about using and spending time using
  • Difficulty stopping or cutting back, even when trying to
  • Withdrawal occurring regularly when not using
  • Doing risk taking behaviors, such as drinking and driving
  • Causes relationship and/or workplace problems
  • Choosing substances over other activities
  • Neglecting family, work, or school responsibilities to use

Please be safe and drink in moderation this holiday season!

If you or a loved one or student is struggling with overuse here is how to seek help:

The first step to get help is to seek a chemical dependency evaluation.  The evaluator will assess symptoms and make recommendations for the appropriate treatment options, if needed.

  • All Minnesota counties and tribes are mandated to provide Rule 25 assessments (free chemical dependency evaluations). Those who meet both clinical and financial requirements are eligible to have treatment paid for. There is a statewide listing of contact numbers for a Rule 25 Assessment here.
  • If the individual has health insurance, most mental health clinics offer chemical dependency evaluations. Check the back of the insurance card for a number to call for a referral.
  • There are several support groups available throughout the state of Minnesota, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). See PANDA’s link below for resources.

For more information about chemical health and resources, go to PANDA’s website at

Also: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

PANDA: Minnesota ABE Physical And Nonapparent Disability Assistance
Phone: 763-504-4095  |  Email:  [email protected]  |  Website:

Wendy Sweeney, MA, Licensed Psychologist, PANDA Manager PANDA
Moira Knutson, PANDA Administrative Assistant PANDA