“Let’s meet up for drinks.” This phrase gets tossed around casually in so many settings. From after-work happy hours with colleagues to college parties and everything in between, there is almost no social event where drinking has not been normalized. Often, it is even encouraged.
It may surprise you to know that alcohol abuse is the third leading cause of preventable death in the US, following only tobacco use and unhealthy eating/lack of exercise. While there is minimal harm in the occasional alcoholic beverage, a regular habit can become problematic without you even noticing.
If you are susceptible to addiction, the risk rises. The sooner you address the issue, the sooner you can seek help from professional resources like those found at mastercenter.comand at local addiction treatment centers.
To fix a problem, you need to know there is one. If you drink, it’s essential to be aware of the warning signs of alcoholism.
Here are a few of the big ones.
Many people who struggle with their drinking habits will tell you that they don’t have a problem. If you don’t have a clear understanding of how much drinking is too much, it’s tricky to know when your behavior becomes problematic.
For most people, moderate drinking in social settings is defined as one or two drinks per day. While factors such as body type and weight play into the exact numbers, the 2-a-day limit is a good metric to start with.
If you find yourself consistently drinking more than 2 alcoholic beverages daily, take note of this. When you consume 5 or more drinks at a time, it’s considered binge drinking.
The sooner you notice a trend, the more proactively you can respond.
Lots of Time Spent in Alcohol-Related Settings
Is your go-to social spot a bar? Do you skip coffee and go straight for a Bloody Mary at brunch?
If the majority of your favorite activities are in settings where alcohol is present, you should take a thoughtful pause to consider why this is. Try to reshape your routine and see if you notice a difference in your alcohol consumption.
Making excuses for drinking is also a good sign that you may have a growing problem. Do you feel an urge to drink when you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed?
Try to replace drinking with a healthier habit, like meditation or exercise. If you cannot seem to escape the impulse to drink, it may be time to seek help.
Can you outdrink all your friends? While some wear this as a badge of honor, professionals will tell you that increased tolerance to alcohol is a key sign that you may be struggling with an addiction.
Tolerance increases over time the more you consume, and the higher your tolerance, the likelier you are to drink more. This cycle can be hard to break, but the first step is recognition.
If you regularly consume alcohol and then suddenly stop for a day or so, how do you feel?
If you experience any unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, it signifies that your body has developed a dependency on the substance.
Common symptoms include nausea, insomnia, tremors, and headaches.
Take an Honest Look in the Mirror
Substance abuse is no joke. Alcoholism has the ability to sneak up on you and demand dependency without your consent. Once you’re in too deep, it can feel impossible to fight your way out.
The first step is to recognize the problem. The sooner you do, the sooner you can start your journey to recovery.