In the past few weeks we have defined alcoholism, and looked at the stages of alcoholism, but what are some of the warning signs that alcoholism is developing?
For many adults, passive or social alcohol use is a regular part of life. A glass of wine with dinner, a cocktail or two at the bar, or a beer with a friend at the game may enhance a good time, but access to a drink isn’t be a requirement. For addicts, however, things are a little different.
As addiction sets in, formerly casual users often begin to display warning signs, like drinking during the day, regularly drinking to excess, or allowing alcohol to interfere with the course of daily life. Despite the outward evidence of problematic behavior to friends, family, and coworkers, many substance abusers fail to admit to the dangers in their own drinking until it’s too late. If these red flags sound like you or someone you love, getting help is more important than ever.
You Can’t Go a Day Without Use
It’s not uncommon for many adults to drink alcohol on a semi-regular basis, like a drink at night several times a week or a few beverages on the weekends. However, consistent use is often the first step toward an ongoing habit.
Healthy, moderate substance users do not require daily use, and taking a few days, weeks, or even months off should not be cause for concern. If the idea of not drinking daily is a worrisome proposition, you may have a problem with addiction.
You Use Alone
For many recreational drinkers, substance use is a social activity best enjoyed with friends and family members at parties, dinners out, or quiet nights at home. This line gets blurry, however, when drinking alone becomes increasingly common.
While there’s nothing objectively wrong with enjoying a drink by yourself from time to time, making this a habit is often a red flag for addiction. If you spend most of your time alone pouring drink after drink, it may be time to discuss your habits with a professional.
You Use During the Day
Going to work can be stressful; that’s just a fact of life. However, most people do not need to drink during the day to get through tough assignments or long shifts. Wishing you could have a drink at lunch isn’t necessarily egregious, but going ahead and ordering one is.
Regardless of the alcohol policies at your company, drinking during working hours is not acceptable behavior. If you find yourself giving in to alcohol cravings during the day while at work, you may be using alcohol to cope with life in an inappropriate manner that can threaten your professional future.
You Lie About Use
Casual users generally have no problem admitting how often they drink, both to friends and family as well as medical professionals. As there is great societal acceptance in the U.S. regarding social drinking, there is generally nothing to hide about a passion for craft beer or a love of bourbon beverages.
Lying about use, however, can indicate a problem that’s getting out of hand. When users find themselves embarrassed or uncomfortable about their frequency of consumption to the point of lying about it, outside assistance is necessary.
You Use in Times of Stress
Seeking a release in stressful times is normal behavior for many adults, but there’s a boundary between drinking to blow off steam with coworkers and drinking to self-soothe when life begins to feel a little too stressful.
A drink at the bar or over dinner with your partner can help you relax, but getting drunk regularly to deal with the pressures of life can indicate unhealthy coping habits and a reliance on substances. This is often an initial step in addiction, and can lead to a serious pattern of abuse without professional intervention.
You Can’t Stop Using
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, moderate alcohol use is defined as no more than one drink daily for women and two for men. For most social drinkers, this amount is plenty, but if you struggle to limit yourself to suggested intake levels, a problem may be at hand.
For substance abusers, one drink often turns into two drinks, which turns into three drinks, which turns into four drinks or more. When you can’t stop yourself when you open a bottle of wine or liquor, you may have a drinking problem that can seriously threaten your health and well-being. Drinking to excess every now and then can be an accident, but drinking to excess every time you enjoy a drink is indicative of an addiction.
Your Use Interferes With Normal Life
Adulthood isn’t always fun, but getting up on time, going to work, making meals, and cleaning the house are all essential parts of living a healthy lifestyle. When substance use begins to interfere with these tasks, there may be a problem at hand.
Social drinking can be a pleasant pastime, but it should never inhibit your ability to live like a responsible adult. If you find yourself consistently going to work late or hungover, failing to eat a balanced diet, or allowing your home to get out of hand, your drinking may be playing too large of a role in your life.
You Are Defensive About Usage Habits
If someone questions your use, how do you act? Are you willing to discuss your habits openly, or does a simple question feel like an attack?
When those around you notice the warning signs of substance abuse, any questions broached are asked out of concern and compassion, not jealousy, anger, or malice. However, many addicts see these kinds of gestures as offensive, insulting, or intrusive. If your first instinct is to react with rage, irritation, or defensive behavior, you may not be looking at your situation in a realistic light.
Alcohol is enjoyed in moderation by approximately 70% of Americans of drinking age, but a little too much enjoyment can be the start of a problem. With 15 million adults facing alcohol use disorders, abuse and addiction are sadly prevalent.
If any of these signs describe your behavior or the behavior of someone you love, help is here. Contact The Outpatient Center today at (844)211-7944 today to get the supportive assistance you deserve. All consultations are confidential.