A number of people enjoy a drink from time to time. However, when you begin reaching for alcohol on a regular basis, it may be a negative force in your life. There are certain signs that indicate a drinking problem exists. To learn how to tell if something is wrong, here are some questions to ask yourself. The answers will help you to understand if drinking has become more than a small part of your life and when you should consider seeking assistance.
Do you find that you often drink alone or in secret?
Many people drink socially with a group of friends. However, if you often drink alone or in secret, you may be trying to hide your habit from others. This signals that you may be embarrassed by your drinking, which is an indication of a problem.
Do you drink as a way to alleviate stress?
Although it is common to unwind with a glass of wine or beer at the end of a busy day, it is not normal to drink the entire bottle or drink until you are passed out. If you must reach for a bottle of alcohol every time that something challenging happens, there may be a serious problem starting.
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Do you believe that it is not possible to become addicted to alcohol?
Alcohol is a drug and abusing it can be as dangerous as popping pills. Alcohol has a negative effect on the body and brain. Long-term use may cause troubles at work and within your relationships. Also, people who abuse alcohol go through withdrawal. This means that alcohol is extremely addictive.
Are your drinking habits making you constantly neglect your normal responsibilities?
If you are drinking to the extent that you can not perform regular daily activities, you may have a problem. If you are a college student and are constantly hungover, you may find it difficult to study or to attend your classes. This may mean that you are drinking too much. Also, if you are not performing your regular work duties or are skipping out on fun time with your friends, you may need help with a drinking problem.
Have you lost control over how much you drink?
In the beginning, you may have been drinking one or two glasses. Over time, you may have found that you started to consume more and more alcohol and for longer periods of time. If this is the case, you may need help with a serious problem.
Do you think about stopping your drinking but find it impossible?
You realize that alcohol is a problem, and you want to stop. However, your efforts to quit have not worked out. This is a classic sign of alcohol dependency, and you should consider seeking help.
Are you experiencing legal problems from your drinking habit?
If you drink and drive and have been repeatedly arrested for your actions, alcohol may be consuming your life. Also, if you have been getting into legal trouble for disorderly conduct, which has been brought on by the effects of alcohol, you should seek assistance.
Do you realize that drinking is causing problems, but you continue to do it?
If your drinking is making you fight more with your spouse, but you keep doing it, this is a red flag that there is a problem. Also, if you are experiencing health problems that are related to your drinking and do not stop, you are abusing alcohol.
Do you reach for a drink as soon as you wake up?
It is not normal to begin your day with an alcoholic beverage. If it is something that you need to get your morning started, you may be abusing this substance. Also, you may worry throughout the day about when you will be able to have another drink. This is a clear sign that you may need help for a problem.
Are you in denial that a problem exists?
If you often underestimate the amount that you drink, or you downplay the negative consequences, you are abusing alcohol. Many times, a person blames others for his or her behavior as well. Denying that a problem exists is a sure sign that one is occurring.
Alcoholism Has Many Dangers
When a person abuses alcohol, many dangers may come into play. When you participate in prolonged drinking, you may develop negative health issues. Also, you may put a severe strain on your close and personal relationships. Most individuals do not seek help and remain in denial that there is anything wrong. Instead of acknowledging issues, you may become defensive, especially when you are confronted. When you refuse to recognize the consequences of your drinking, you are keeping yourself away from a healthy life.
After you acknowledge that there is a problem, you may want help. It is always wise to seek guidance from a medical professional. Being treated for alcoholism does not have to be difficult or uncomfortable. Joining a recovery program offers a high likelihood of gaining future sobriety. Entering a specialized treatment facility will help to get you through the alcohol detox process as well. When you work with counselors and meet others who suffer from similar problems, you gain the ability to overcome your troubles.
About the author:
Nicole earned her doctoral degree in Psychology with an emphasis on marriage and family therapy at California School of Professional Psychology. Her doctoral thesis was a grounded theory study exploring the role of alienation and connectedness in the life course of addiction. She specializes in treating addiction and trauma. She is certified in DBT and EMDR, two of the most highly regarded evidence-based methods in psychotherapy. Dr. Doss is a strong LGBT advocate and provides open and affirming support to her LGBT clients.
Dr. Doss’s earlier education included graduating cum laude from the University of California, Irvine in June of 2007 with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. While there, she received honors recognition by Psi Chi and Golden Key honor societies.
Nicole has been working with alcoholics and addicts in our California drug and alcohol rehab center as an advisor and counselor for many years. She is passionate about providing quality counseling and care to her clients. Her main focus is on integrating the 12 Step and disease models of addiction with experiential therapeutic theory. She is married to Greg; they have two adorable sons together and an energetic yellow Labrador Retriever.