How Can I Tell My Drinking is a Problem?

People use alcohol and drugs for a variety of reasons. You may drink in social settings, in celebration, or even to relax. Or, you may use drugs for medical needs, like helping to calm anxiety, treat depression, or focus because you have ADHD. Yet, even despite the grand prospects for good both alcohol and drugs can produce, drug and alcohol abuse are always a pertinent risk to take into consideration.

But, how do you become addicted? When do you realize you have passed the threshold of common use, and have stumbled into something life-threatening and destructive? How do you know when you’ve gone too far? Or when to seek help?

Signs of a Problem With Alcohol

You may be wondering now if your personal use of alcohol is out of control, or on its way to being a problem. Addiction of any sort, is a disease of the mind, that can work its way out to affect the body. Signs and symptoms of abuse can be hard to pin down. It is difficult enough to spot the signs of abuse in a loved one, and can be harder still when you are trying to self examine. Nevertheless, there are still a few ways in which you can screen yourself, to see if you may need to seek professional help or not. Here are some signs you may have a problem with alcohol:

  • You’ve had times where you drank more than you intended.
  • You’ve had times where you drank for longer than you intended.
  • You’ve tried to stop drinking more than once, unsuccessfully.
  • You’ve tried cutting back on drinking more than once, unsuccessfully.
  • You’ve been involved in situations, where your drinking has made the chances of you getting hurt increase, more than once (such as driving under the influence, swimming, operating heavy machinery etc.).
  • Your tolerance for alcohol has grown exponentially, and it takes you a lot longer to obtain your desired results from use.
  • You’ve continued to drink, even though it began making you feel anxious or depressed, have a blackout, or otherwise affected another aspect of your health negatively.
  • You’ve spent a lot of time drinking.
  • You’ve spent a lot of time recovering, or being sick, after drinking.
  • You’ve continued to drink, even though it has caused problems between you and your family members or friends.
  • You’ve found that your drinking habits have interfered with your ability to take care of yourself, or your other responsibilities (home, school, work, friends or family obligations).
  • Your drinking habits have caused you to cut back on other activities/hobbies / responsibilities that were once important to you, so that you have more time to drink.
  • You’ve begun isolating yourself from friends and family members.
  • You’ve been arrested, or gotten in trouble with the law multiple times, as a result of your drinking or drinking habits.
  • You’ve experienced withdrawal symptoms (such as sweating, shaking, mood swings, headaches, trouble sleeping, nausea) when the effects of alcohol use began wearing off.

It is important for you to keep in mind that not all of these experiences need to be present for you to have a drinking problem. If you are still unsure whether or not your experiences closely align enough to the above list, but are still nervous about your alcohol habits, it is always better to be safe than sorry. Contact your doctor, or other health care professional to discuss your experiences or habits of use, and see what they suggest. An unchecked alcohol abuse disorder can have devastating, life-threatening results.

Knowing the Risk Factors of Alcohol Abuse

As was mentioned above, alcohol abuse can have life-threatening consequences. Some of which can be faster occurring than others. Many of these risks you may already be familiar with. But, in case if you don’t know much about the risks or alcohol abuse, here is a list including some of the effects a drinking disorder can have, on both you and your loved ones:

  • Alcohol use increases your chances of being injured or even killed.
    • 60% of fatal drownings, burn injuries, and homicides are connected with alcohol abuse.
    • 50% of sexual assaults and severe trauma injuries are connected with alcohol use and abuse.
    • 40% of fatal motor vehicle accidents and suicides are connected with alcohol abuse.
  • Long-term health risks include:
    • Heart disease
    • Stroke
    • High blood pressure
    • Liver disease
    • Digestion tract issues
    • Cancer (involving the mouth, liver, colon, throat, etc.)
    • A weakening of the immune system overall
    • Learning and memory problems (increases risks of dementia)
    • Mental and psychological problems (including depression and anxiety onset or worsening)
    • Loss of productivity
    • Social issues
    • Family problems
    • Unemployment
    • Alcohol dependence
    • Alcoholism
    • Passing on alcoholism genetics

If you have been contemplating the possibility of you or your loved one having an alcohol use disorder, reading through these health risks may be quite frightening. Alcoholism is a serious problem. You may feel anxious, scared, and unsure of what to do next. And even though it is important to know the risks of alcohol abuse, it is even more important to know when to get help. This may be difficult, but it is better to be safe than sorry. If you believe you yourself, or a loved one, to have an alcohol dependence problem, do not hesitate to contact SJRP admissions at 833-397-3422 to discuss treatment options.