It isn’t easy admitting that you have a drinking problem. Sure, now and again people drink more than they should. But when does it become too much? What are the warning signs that you have a problem and when should you go to treatment? In this article we will be discussing the 10 biggest giveaway’s that you, your partner or a loved one have a drinking problem.
10 Important Signs of a Drinking Problem
- Drinking to Self-Medicate
People will often have a drink after a long day but drinking in order to deal with negative emotions such as sadness, anger or regret is a sign of a bigger problem.
- Drinking Throughout the Day
People abusing alcohol may begin drinking as early as they wake up and continue drinking throughout the day.
- Drinking Alone More Than Socially
Having a couple drinks at a party, celebration or bar with friends is usually fine, but regular drinking at home can get out of hand. If you notice your trips to the liquor store are increasing, you may want to consider getting help.
- Getting Black Out Drunk
Nobody should be getting black out drunk. Many people who are alcoholics find themselves in this situation more frequently as their drinking problems get worse.
- Driving While Drinking
Drinking while driving is a problematic behavior that indicates an dangerous relationship with alcohol. It only takes one split second, or one traffic stop to change your life forever.
- Experiencing Withdrawal Symptoms When Not Drinking
If you are finding yourself experiencing symptoms like anxiety, headaches, nausea, irritability, sweating, tremors or other abnormal symptoms as a result of reducing your intake or missing a regular drink, this is evidence that your body is dependent on alcohol, and you should get help right away.
- Pushing Others to Drink with You
Everyone wants to have a fun night out, right? But encouraging others to stay out late and drink past their limits is not a healthy drinking behavior.
- You Feel Mentally Dull on a Regular Basis
Regular drinking has been found to damage the hippocampus– the brains memory center and can also lead to Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome (WKS) which can cause various cognitive impairments such as mental confusion, coordination problems of the limbs and eyes and can impair learning and memory.
- Your school and Work Performance are Suffering
Alcohol diminishes valuable cognitive functions making performing well at school and work more difficult. As alcohol addiction develops, this can lead to behaviors like showing up to engagements under the influence or not showing up at all.
- It is Harming Your Personal Relationships
Chances are you won’t be able to keep a drinking problem from friends and family forever. Most family members or partners worry when their loved ones engage in self-destructive behaviors, and this can have a severe strain on your personal relationships.
Decoding Social Alcoholic Behavior
There are a few different ways in which alcoholism can manifest in a social environment. Those that pride themselves on being functioning alcoholics may avoid social drinking or try to conceal their problem in the presence of others–opting to drink at home instead.
Some may use drinking as a way of being more sociable and will resort to drinking heavily in social environments by aspiring to be the life of the party or its entertainment. Some may seek out others who share their bad drinking habits so that they won’t feel bad about their own drinking.
Alcohol Abuse vs Alcoholism
Terms like alcohol abuse and alcoholism (or being an alcoholic) are used interchangeably. This is partially because the common belief that everybody who abuses alcohol becomes an alcoholic eventually. While drinking in moderation can be helpful to avoid becoming an alcoholic, it is generally advised that those who have a predisposition to alcohol addiction avoid alcohol altogether.
So, what is the main distinction between the two? Simply put, people that abuse alcohol are those that use it in excessive amounts. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) suggests that 2 drinks a day is considered “moderate drinking”. But other problems such as binge drinking and self-medicating are indicative of abusive behaviors.
The term alcoholism, on the other hand, means alcohol addiction; also called Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD). This illness is marked by the compulsive behavior to use and can be treated in drug and alcohol rehab.
Alcohol Abuse Problems in the US
In a ranking of countries with the highest rates of alcoholism, the United States is in a tie with Slovenia and South Korea for 5th place. Alcohol use disorder (AUD) effects 14.5 million people in the US ages 12 and older and roughly 26% of adults (aged 18 and over) engage in binge drinking every month.
Best Indicator of Alcohol Abuse
The best indicator that you are abusing alcohol is regularly exceeding the moderate drinking limit and engaging in what the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) consider to be “heavy alcohol use: 4 drinks on any day or over 14 drinks per week.”
Can You Be Alcoholic and Not Drink Every Day?
Yes, contrary to popular belief, alcoholics are not always those that are constantly drunk or even drink daily. What makes someone an alcoholic has more to do with why they choose to drink. Those who engage in binge drinking, and those who problem drink (or self-medicate) but don’t drink every day are still at risk of being or becoming an alcoholic.
Comprehensive Alcohol Rehabilitation Programs Near Me
If you or a loved one are struggling with alcohol and drug abuse and need a comprehensive addition treatment program, most populated areas offer several options for inpatient rehab and detox treatment as well as intensive outpatient treatment programs (IOPs) as well. For those that live rurally, there are many of advantages to traveling for addiction treatment.
If you or a loved one is seeking information on addiction or mental health resources please call (888) 564-4780.