10 Signs That You Could Have a Drinking Problem
Cheers! Whether it’s your favourite beer in a bar or a nice glass of wine at home, drinking is an enjoyable way to socialize and relax. There is nothing wrong with drinking in moderation, and in some instances it may even benefit your health. Red wine for example contains anti-inflammatory properties and anti-oxidants.
|How much is moderate? The effect of alcohol on an individual varies but as a general rule The National Institute in Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism http://www.niaaa.nih.gov/ suggests you keep within the following guidelines.For men:
No more than 4 drinks on any single day AND no more than 14 drinks per week
In the United States, one “standard” drink contains roughly 14 grams of pure alcohol, which is found in:
Beware! The short term feeling of well being from drinking small amounts of alcohol could be outweighed by the dangers of drinking too much. Alcohol has the potential for both physical and psychological dependency which can impact on every area of your life and moving from social drinker to alcohol dependant can happen very easily. So what do you need to know?
Check out these 10 questions:
- Are you drinking more frequently? Perhaps you’re drinking during the week in addition to the weekends? Or you’ve started to drink earlier in the day? Remember you don’t have to be drinking every day to be doing yourself harm.
- Are you drinking larger amounts? Do you intend to stick at ‘just the one’ but end up getting drunk? Are you drinks stronger? Be aware that the more you drink the more your tolerance to alcohol will increase.
- Where are you drinking? Regularly drinking alone is generally not good. When drinking with friends do you find yourself finishing first or encouraging others to drink quicker? Ask yourself if you are disguising your alcohol consumption in any way.
- Why are you drinking? Has your drinking just become a habit? It’s easy to slip into the routine of a daily drink without thinking about it. Is alcohol a way to de-stress or block out your problems? Using alcohol to self-medicate may lead to dependency. Are you comfortable socialising only if there is alcohol available? Consider whether you avoid situations because you won’t be able to drink because you rely on it as a confidence booster.
- Do you think about your next drink? Have you become preoccupied with when and where you are going to get alcohol? Anxiety about the next drink and ‘needing’ to drink can indicates a psychological and physical dependency.
- Is alcohol affecting your health? Are you suffering headaches, hangovers, stomach problems, sweating, trembling or memory loss? These are just some of the short term physical symptoms from drinking too much. Or are you experiencing more serious health issues such as black-outs, depression, vomiting blood, acute pains? Binge drinking and long term heavy drinking can lead to a wide range of illnesses including heart disease, liver cirrhosis, and cancer.
- Is your drinking causing financial worries? Is buying alcohol a priority? Are you feeling guilty because of the amount you are spending on drink? It may not just be the alcohol that is causing money problems. Drinking can alter your ability to make rational choices and spending on impulse buys are more likely if you’ve been drinking.
- Is your work suffering? Do you arrive late? Feel unwell at work? Miss deadlines? Regularly call in sick? Being productive in the workplace relies on a clear head and fulfilling your commitments. The effects of drinking can impact on your employment and could result in you losing your job.
- Are your relationships becoming strained? Is your alcohol use causing arguments with your partner, spouse or family members? Are friends distancing themselves because of the way you act when you drink? If alcohol abuse is becoming an issue in your life, your family and friends will also be affected. Continued long term abuse could seriously damage your relationships.
- Do you think you have a problem? Are you worried about your drinking but think you could probably quit if you want to? Are you waiting for everything else in your life to get better before you stop? If you know yourself that your drinking is getting out of control, chances are that you know you need to do something about it.
Answering ‘Yes’ to one or more of these questions indicates that you could have a drink problem. Don’t ignore it!
If you know you’ve been overdoing the drink recently, try giving up for a while to enable your body and mind to recover. If you are finding alcohol difficult to cut it down or to cut out then there are many treatment options available. Remember that the professionals are there not to judge but to support you and help you get back on track with your life.
This is a guest post by Carolyn Hughes. Carolyn is a freelance writer specializing in alcoholism and recovery from addiction. She celebrates 14 years of sobriety and lives in the UK. Her experiences of life and psychological recovery are shared in her inspirational blog The Hurt Healer.