Drinking problems
  • | October 4, 2016
A lot of men like a bit of alcohol, right? But how do you know if you've crossed the line from an average drinker to an alcohol addict? Drinking problems can stem from a variety of issues, both psychological and physical, and can lead to serious problems with your overall health. Often, it can be difficult to recognize your drinking problem on your own. However, there are a handful of indicators that may point you toward that conclusion and encourage you to seek the help you need in order to enjoy a healthier lifestyle.

Here are some signs that indicate you may have a drinking issue you need to resolve:

  1. You resort to drinking when stressful or negative situations arise. For many alcoholics, drinking is not just used for the purposes of entertainment or associated with fun; it is often be used as a means of escaping from your feelings. In this way, people with minor drinking problems may become increasingly dependent on the alcohol they consume, and the problem can quickly spiral. While alcohol offers a fleeting moment of relief from the issues in your life, it won’t make you feel better in the long run. There are healthier ways to deal with your day-to-day stresses, such as exercise, martial arts, or spending time with friends. If you find that you're still plagued by stress, anxiety, depression, or other negative feelings about your life, it's important to seek help from a qualified professional to make sure your drinking habits don't turn into something more dangerous.

  2. You find excuses to disguise the frequency and severity of your drinking patterns to others. When friends or family start to suspect something and ask you questions, you may immediately feel defensive of their accusations and even tell them lies to cover up the fact that you're drinking more than usual. If you're drinking as a result of negative feelings, as discussed in the previous point, keeping secrets from the important people in your life can make you feel more isolated. This isolation can feed those negative feelings, opening up further opportunities for bad drinking patterns to continue taking over. Try to be as open and honest with your friends and family as possible. Remember: these are the people who want the best for you. If they express concerns about your drinking habits, listen and be receptive about what they have to say.

  3. Your mental state is beginning to suffer. People with severe drinking problems will often experience blackouts during which they won’t have any memory when the drunken stupor fades of what exactly happened during that time. Continued, excessive use of alcohol can trigger a variety of mental health issues such as headaches, dizziness, memory loss, disorientation, inappropriate behavior, and other similar episodes. If you find you're frequently experiencing one or more of these problems, it's possible that the alcohol in your life is to blame. It is important to register any experience of physical distress with a healthcare professional to make sure long-term damage isn't being done to your body and get on track toward living a healthier lifestyle.

  4. You have a lack of impulse control. Another indicator you may have an alcohol addiction is a lack of self-control when presented with an alcoholic beverage. If you can't pass a liquor store without stopping in or turn down a drink at a party or bar, the alcohol may be starting to take over your life. Look for signs that you're going out of your way to incorporate drinking into your daily routine, even if it means putting yourself out. This applies not only to the frequency of your drinking but also to the severity. If you can't stop yourself from consuming that whole six-pack in one sitting, you may be struggling to control your drinking impulses. Keep in mind that your life is yours, and you should always be in the driver's seat; don't give up your power to a bottle.

  5. You neglect your duties. Everyone has responsibilities they need to take care of on a daily basis. These responsibilities can be to a job, to a hobby, to friends, to family, or to any other aspect of your life that holds importance. If the people in your life are noticing your absence at family functions or dinners with the guys, or if you're racking up sick days or late arrivals at work, take this as a sign your priorities are starting to slip. Failing to adjust those priorities can result in a loss or setback of a career, disinterest in activities you used to enjoy, and even the destruction of meaningful relationships. If your life starts feeling disorganized in this manner, it may be time to examine your alcohol consumption and see if that's the cause of these issues.

If you recognize yourself in these signs of alcohol addition, it may be time to consult with a mental health expert. The longer you wait to address an issue of this magnitude, the worse you'll start feeling and the harder it will be to kick bad drinking habits. Even if you're not sure that this is an issue you have, you can't go wrong by having a checkup and voicing your concerns to a doctor.

Good luck!