alcohol use disorder aud

Five Signs That Your Drinking is Becoming a Problem

There are many stereotypes when it comes to the idea of substance abuse and alcohol dependence. However,  the truth is that the signs of alcohol addiction don’t always fit our preconceived notions. This can cause us to mistake certain habits as mere “drinking problems” when they are in fact a full-blown addiction.

Years spent in denial, coupled with thoughts of complete sobriety can sometimes make it difficult to know whether your drinking habits are out of control, hindering the individual in seeking counselling or addiction support.

Also, alcohol use often starts slowly, and it’s easy to become accustomed to small doses while becoming tolerant and needing more over time. This makes it hard to tell when you’ve crossed the line from a recreational user to alcohol dependence. These five signs may not be a fixed or definite list, but they may help you determine whether it’s time to seek addiction treatment.

Your friends and family have noticed a problem

People often begin to get feedback about their drinking from others, long before they realise it themselves. The problem is that most people misread what those signs mean. They see other people observing their drinking habits and think that the comments aren’t personal — but the truth is, they are often rooted in something deeper. Your friends may see that you drink more than they do and say things to you, not because they want to hurt your feelings, but because alcohol has bled into every part of your life. And if you don’t take a step back and check yourself now, it may be too late.

You can’t quit after one or two drinks

There are people who experience a lack of “off switch” when it comes to their drinking. If you find that you’re unable to quit after just one or two drinks, or don’t have the quantities needed to feel intoxicated, there are some potentially serious underlying issues that need to be addressed in order to avoid irreparable physical damage.

Your physical health is taking a turn for the worse

The long term effects of alcohol abuse are fairly well documented and include high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, liver disease, and digestive problems. But the early stages of over-drinking often include more subtle issues. Nausea, vomiting, and blackouts are indicators that your body is struggling to cope.  Decreased motor coordination while drinking often leads to injuries such as falls, “unexplained” bruises, and even car accidents, alongside clouded judgement, which may lead to aggression or risky sexual behaviour.

You’re hiding your drinking from others

If you find yourself in a pattern where you’re hiding the amount of alcohol consumption you’re engaging in, it may be time to address your alcohol abuse issue. Drinking in secret, hiding alcohol in the house, and travelling long distances to buy booze where you wont be recognised are all red flags that shouldn’t be ignored.

You’re “self-medicating” with drink because of other problems

The term “self-medicate” refers to attempts to deal with depression, pain (physical or emotional), or intense emotions with the help of drugs, alcohol, and other substances, without the guidance of a doctor. This can also often take place subconsciously as an attempt to relieve stress in everyday life and is a dangerous coping mechanism that often leads to long-term dependence.

Addiction is a many-faceted condition, to which there is no “one size fits all” approach. The signs of alcoholism are different for everyone, but if you feel like you need to cut back, it might be time to talk to someone about your drinking or talk with someone willing to help you on the path to recovery.

Photo credit: Polina Tankilevitch via Pexels

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