There is a difference between enjoying a drink and having an alcohol addiction. Knowing what the difference is can prevent the harmful effects of alcohol. If you suspect that you drink too much, or someone you know may have a problem, then it might be helpful to know the warning signs:
- Do you drink because you have problems or to relax?
- Do you drink when you get mad at other people, including your friends or parents?
- Do you prefer to drink alone, rather than with other people?
- Is your work or education suffering as a result of your drinking?
- Have you ever tried to stop drinking or to drink less and found that you can’t?
- Do you drink in the morning, before school or work?
- Do you gulp your drinks?
- Do you ever have loss of memory due to your drinking?
- Do you lie about how much or how often you drink?
- Do you ever get into trouble when you’re drinking?
- Do you get drunk when you drink, even when you don’t intend to?
- Do other people comment on your drinking and think it’s a problem?
Why seek help?
Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol regularly over time is likely to cause problems for your physical, emotional, or social health. Resultant problems can include:
- Relationship problems
- Work issues
- Poor diet
- Stomach issues
- Frequent infections
- Liver and brain damage
- Memory loss/confusion
- Hear and blood disorders
- Increased risk of dementia
- Increased risk of several cancers
- Financial strains
Tolerance & Dependence
Drinking regularly can result in developing a tolerance to alcohol. This means that you must drink more to feel the same effect you used to have with lower amounts. Dependence on alcohol means that it takes up much of your thoughts, emotions, and activities. Not all people who drink develop a dependency to alcohol. Dependent people find it very difficult to stop or reduce drinking. This is because of withdrawal symptoms, including:
- Hallucinations (seeing or hearing things)
If your alcohol use is starting to affect things that matter, it can be a good idea to talk to someone about your options – MindTree Psychology can help.