Problem drinking doesn’t necessarily indicate full-blown addiction, but it’s a slippery slope. If you think you’re OK because you’re succeeding in your career or earning good grades, you should reconsider. It can be hard to be honest with ourselves when you or someone you have a problem with drinking, but it can lead to dependency, which can lead to alcoholism.
These are some of the most common signs of problem drinking.
1. You drink. A lot.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) defines current alcohol use as any consumption of alcohol within the past 30 days. But what constitutes “heavy” drinking? According to SAMHSA, heavy drinking is defined as consuming five or more alcoholic drinks at either the same time or within hours of each other, or on 5 or more days within the past 30 days.
2. You’ve tried to cut back, but you can’t.
If you’re aware that your drinking has become a problem and have attempted to cut back or quit drinking altogether but failed, you should seriously consider seeking treatment. You already understand the impact alcohol is having on your life, but the fact that you’re unable to quit is indicative of a larger problem.
3. You hide your drinking.
Denial is common for anyone struggling with addiction. People who abuse alcohol often lie about or hide how much they’re drinking to make it seem like a non-issue, or flat out deny having a problem if you question them about it.
4. You’ve built up a tolerance.
Tolerance is a significant indicator of alcoholism, so if you’re finding that you need to drink more to feel the same buzz, you’re treading on dangerous territory. After tolerance comes physical dependency.
5. You drink despite your circumstances.
Drinking when you shouldn’t, like before work, class or while you’re taking certain medications is characteristic of problem drinking. Maybe you’ve had some close calls, such as driving while intoxicated or engaging in other risky behaviors. Just because something bad hasn’t happened yet doesn’t mean it won’t. You’re putting yourself and others in jeopardy by prioritizing your drinking.
6. Once you start, you can’t stop.
There’s no such thing as one drink. When you can’t open a bottle of wine without finishing it in one sitting, or you drink all the beer in the fridge, it’s a sign that you aren’t in control.
7. You drink to feel better.
Addiction almost always stems from emotional reasons. Drinking to cope with anxiety, depression, stress or any other negative emotion is risky. It might provide some relief, but it’s temporary, and usually, it ends up making things worse.
8. You feel different.
Are you getting sick more often, having difficulty sleeping or just feeling low? Do you have a suppressed appetite or experience shaking or trembling? These are all side effects of drinking alcohol. Withdrawal symptoms include a racing heart, stomach ache, sweating and restlessness.
It’s important to remember that if you or your loved is showing one of these signs, it doesn’t mean they’re an alcoholic. But if you’re concerned, your feelings are valid. Boca Detox can help. We specialize in medically-supervised alcohol detox and can answer your questions if you’re concerned and want to learn more about treatment. Contact us at 561.271.7612 for more information about our detox and recovery services.