Alcohol is one of the most widely abused substances in the United States. According to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 15.1 million adults suffer from Alcohol use disorder. What starts out as having a couple of drinks at a social event or on the weekend can rapidly turn into problem drinking. The problem is that many people are unable to see, especially in themselves, the fine line between normal drinking and abuse. Frequently, the first people to notice when your drinking is out of control are the ones closest to you. Co-workers and family members who see you on a daily basis are typically first to notice any changes in behavior. While some of the signs are easily recognizable, others can be more difficult to see. However, there are warning signs and behaviors that can help someone recognize a drinking problem in their lives. Here are a few things to look out for if you think drinking is becoming a problem.
- Experiencing blackouts or short-term memory loss – Blackouts are a common occurrence for people with alcoholism. A blackout is a loss of memory while under the influence. During a blackout, you remain conscious but engage in potentially dangerous behaviors and even continue to drink. People who blackout may drive, engage in sex, physically injure themselves, as well as place themselves or others in dangerous situations. Seizures from excessively high blood alcohol levels are also a common occurrence.
- Drinking to deal with stress or to relax – Stress from day to day life can be overwhelming at times and people need a way to unwind. When turning to a drink becomes a regular coping skill for stress you may be in trouble. What usually starts as a drink or two after work can quickly turn into four, five, or six drinks a night. Before you know it, you’ve stopped counting drinks altogether and could even be drinking during the day or worse, around the clock.
- Choosing to drink over handling responsibilities – Being a productive member of society or a family means handling different responsibilities. Showing up to work, paying bills, tending to house chores, and attending your children’s extracurricular activities are just a few examples. If you notice that your drinking is taking priority over any essential responsibilities or you are beginning to neglect, forget about, or ignore them, alcohol may be a problem for you.
- Drinking alone – Drinking in secrecy, or alone, is a major warning sign that alcohol is taking control of your life. It’s not abnormal for alcoholics to drink by themselves or in secret to avoid judgment and scrutiny from family members and co-workers. Drinking on the job is almost never acceptable but many alcoholics do it in secrecy to keep withdrawal symptoms away. If you’re drinking excessively by yourself, or in secrecy on a regular basis, it may be time to seek help.
Although it can be a hard thing to face, alcohol can often take over your life. Alcoholism only gets worse over time, along with the consequences that always come along with it. The sooner you recognize the signs and seek treatment, the sooner you can begin living the life you deserve.
We believe you should never have to fight your addiction alone. Royal Life Centers wants to be by your side while you begin the path to a fulfilling life. Starting from our detox, all the way through to our nine-week intensive outpatient and beyond, we offer the support and care needed for successful long-term sobriety. Please call our admissions office to start your journey at 877-732-6837. We are available to talk 24/7.