How do you know if you have a problem with alcohol? – Alcoholism
For many people drinking alcohol is a large part of social and business functions. Sometimes it is hard to distinguish between occasional drinking to excess vs. alcoholism. When someone is a “functional alcoholic” it becomes even harder to make the distinction as it appears to many that they are holding down a job and functioning fine and that alcohol is not a problem for them. This is part of the misconception that an alcoholic is only someone that is homeless and has lost everything. Every year people who appear to be able to handle their drinking and look to many like they are functioning fine die from alcoholism.
Some signs of alcoholism include an increased tolerance to alcohol (needing more drinks to “get buzzed”), some missed work or school days or a decrease in performance, hiding alcohol in strange places, poor eating habits resulting in weight gain or loss, decreased attention to appearance and cleanliness, becoming angry or irritable when alcohol is not available, and becoming defensive if any questions are asked about the amount or frequency of their drinking.
Some things to look out for are if a person has recently experienced a trauma or stressful event in their life or if you know of past trauma from their childhood that they have never dealt with. If a person has family members who are alcoholics or addicts then they may also have a genetic predisposition towards not being able to just drink socially. Be aware that some people are binge drinkers and can go seemingly long periods without drinking but then when they do they always drink to excess. Daily drinking is not a requirement to be considered an alcoholic or someone that has a problem with drinking.
If you or someone you know think there may be a problem with drinking there is help available. Drug treatment centers can help teach the skills needed and provide the support to help begin a life of sobriety. Alcoholism is a deadly disease- it is vital to seek help immediately. If you have a loved one suffering don’t listen to excuses for their drinking or let their defensiveness put you off. You can be the person that reaches out to help them save their life.