Many of us enjoy a drink to relax, but with just over a quarter of American adults reporting binge drinking in the past month, it seems that alcohol is becoming a problem for a lot of people. It can be easy to rely on alcohol to get you through social situations, and end up leaning on it a little too much. But how can you tell if your drinking is an issue?
If you match all these signs and are concerned about your drinking habits, you should seek help from a professional, like your Doctor or consider visiting an alcohol rehab centre for further support
Take a look at your current drinking behaviour. How often do you drink? How many drinks do you have when you drink? It’s suggested that you aim to have a few alcohol-free days a week, and don’t spread out your drinking by having a drink every night, whether it’s an after work beer or a glass of wine with dinner. If you are having alcohol free days, but then drink excessively when you do drink, this is a problem too. If you regularly drink more than 14 units a week, you could have a problem.
Why do you drink? It’s perfectly normal to enjoy a beer with friends on the weekend, or to unwind with a gin and tonic occasionally. However, if you feel like you need to drink to relax or to relieve stress, or you need to drink when you feel sad, this could be a problem. If you need to drink on a night out to feel confident or have fun, you should reexamine your relationship with alcohol. Find healthier ways to manage your stress instead of drinking.
If you drink often, you’ll probably find you have to drink more to feel drunk as your alcohol tolerance will have got higher. This is dangerous, as it can make you feel that the alcohol isn’t affecting you, but even if you’re aren’t feeling it, your health will be damaged anyway.
Know what it really means to be alcohol dependent. Most of this think of being dependant on alcohol as being drinking to excess all the time, or needing a drink to get out of bed in the morning. This isn’t the only way to rely on alcohol though. If you turn to alcohol for confidence, happiness or fun, and can’t imagine going out without having a drink, this is a good sign that you’re alcohol dependent.
Do you binge drink? Drinking to excess is unfortunately common, but very problematic. Binge drinking is defined as drinking with the intent to get drunk, or drinking excessively in a short period of time. If you do this as part of your regular social life, you should think about taking steps to help you drink less.
Drinking too much is risky. Alcohol impairs your judgement and lowers your inhibitions, which could lead to some very poor decision making. Abusing alcohol also increases your risk of weight gain, cancer, strokes, heart and liver disease and damaging your nervous system. Set yourself the challenge to cut back or cut out drinking altogether.
Contributed blog by Laura Becksworth