Alcoholism is a growing problem in the United States. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, over 15 million American adults suffer from Alcohol Use Disorder, but less than 3 percent are getting help. Researchers say one reason for the discrepancy, is those suffering from alcoholism may not realize the symptoms.
When reflecting on your alcohol use, the first question you may want to ask is, “how much am I drinking?” But the question “how often am I drinking” is also insightful. If the possibility of going a day (or multiple days) without drinking makes you feel stressed or anxious, it may be a sign of an unhealthy relationship with alcohol. Also, if it takes a large number of drinks for you to feel “buzzed,” that is also a sign of abuse. Alcohol tolerance builds up overtime. If it takes an entire 12 pack just to feel buzzed, you should seek help.
Daily drinking can cause you to feel “hungover,” even if you didn’t have a drink. Because our bodies develop a tolerance for alcohol, if you drink too much, your body will start to depend on alcohol to feel normal. By skipping a drink for just one day, your body can start to go through withdrawal. Withdrawal takes many forms, but some common symptoms include feeling like you’re hungover, mood swings, depression, and shakiness.
When abusing alcohol, one’s priorities can quickly change. Instead of going out with friends, an alcoholic may want to stay at home to hide their addiction. Alcohol changes your emotional state, so people who abuse alcohol are more likely to get angry or irrationally upset. When approached by family for friends about their abuse, alcoholics will likely get angry and yell. They may also hide away from loved ones simply to avoid the subject. If you find yourself telling lies to avoid your significant other or children, you should seek help. Not only is this a sign of alcoholism, but it can cause a long-term strain on important family relationships.
After isolating oneself from family and friends, alcohol abusers often find a new group of bad company. Alcoholics will seek other people with abuse issues, so there is no judgement. If you have a new group of friends, and your main activity is drinking at the bar, you should seek help. These “friends” are enabling your addiction, and vice versa. This can lead you to have crooked priorities. Instead of being home with your kids, or focusing on work, you may ditch your priorities to be at the bar with your new group. If this sounds like you, Oakville Wellness Center may be able to help you get your priorities back in line.
Emotional Warning Signs
Not all signs of alcohol abuse can be seen by the outside world. In many cases, only you can feel the emotional warning signs. The most common sign is denial. If all the examples above sound like they fit your life, but you are making excuses for each scenario, you are in denial. It’s hard to admit to a problem, but, as the cliche goes, the first step toward recovery is admitting you have a problem.
You may also feel shame because of your drinking. If you are drinking alone or actively hiding from loved ones, this is another sign of abuse. If you fall into this category, reach out to someone you trust and explain why you have been abusing. By reaching out, they can help you get back on the right path.
If any of the above scenarios relate to you, it is important to seek help right away. Over 88,000 people die from alcohol abuse every year, making it the third most preventable death in the United States. You do not have to be another statistic.
Once you have admitted you have a problem, the next step is seeking help. At Oakville, we multiple counsellors who are ready to listen to your story. Together, we can end the abusive cycle, so you can return to your life.