On Your Health

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Six Warning Signs of Alcohol Abuse

04/09/2015

Posted in

by Sara Barry, licensed behavioral practitioner for INTEGRIS

If drinking is having a negative impact on your life, it might be time to evaluate making a change. It’s not always easy to tell if you have an alcohol abuse problem. Here are six important warning signs to watch for in yourself and loved ones.
Hello, my name is Sara Barry and I am going to be speaking to you today about alcohol abuse. In the United States, much of our culture centers around drinking. Happy hours, work parties, celebrations and football games are just a few of the many events we partake in that are often marked by heavy drinking or “tying one on.” It is easy to be swayed by studies about alcohol that proclaim to have health or social benefits like, “a glass of red wine a day could protect your heart,” or “moderate alcohol consumption increases attractiveness.” But the truth is not everyone has the ability to “moderate” their alcohol consumption. If drinking is having a negative impact on your life, it might be time to evaluate making a change. It’s not always easy to tell if you have an alcohol use problem. Here are six important warning signs to watch for in yourself and loved ones.
  1. You frequently drink more than you planned to. You tell yourself you’re only going to have one drink but before you know it, you are on your fifth or sixth.
  2. You drink to get drunk. You can’t down your first, second, third, so on, drink fast enough. You’re not socially drinking or having a drink because you like the taste. You’re trying to fast track it to a state of oblivion.
  3. Your drinking causes issues in your personal and/or professional life. Whether you’re calling out sick due to hangovers or your drinking is causing conflicts at home, your drinking is having a ripple effect on your life and it’s not looking good.
  4. You use drinking as a way to solve your problems. Is your solution to a stressful day a drink? Are you drinking to combat loneliness, grief, or pain? Many individuals with an alcohol use disorder are also suffering from depression. Getting treatment can help you to develop healthier coping strategies.
  5. You find yourself lying about your drinking. If you’re trying to cover up your drinking habits or behaviors, you’ve already subconsciously admitted to yourself that you know there’s a problem. Now it’s time to take action to make a change.
  6. You blackout. Blacking out is the result of excessive alcohol consumption and it can result in a gap in memory. Blackouts often increase your chance of making bad decisions and can be an indicator of alcoholism.
If you think that you or someone you care about may have a problem with alcohol, in recognition of National Alcohol Screening Day, we encourage you to consider taking the first step to healing by taking INTEGRIS Mental Health’s free, anonymous online mental health screening. To take the screening, please visit our website at INTEGRIS Mental Health.

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