Did you know that alcohol abuse kills 3.3 million people every year, worldwide? This represents 5.9% of all deaths, and 5.1% of all diseases and injuries can be attributed to alcohol consumption. Furthermore, alcohol can be directly linked to several illnesses, including 7 different types of cancer. Not only that, alcohol consumption is also related to a decrease in your efficiency, productivity and brainpower.
Of course having the occasional drink is not usually harmful. In fact, studies show that having a glass of red wine from time to time can be good for your health. However, things can easily get out of hand when your body starts developing a tolerance to alcohol, and you feel compelled to drink more in order to feel its effect.
Sometimes alcohol abuse may be overlooked by your friends, coworkers and family, and it may be difficult to be objective when it comes to figuring out and accepting that your drinking has become a real problem. Here are five signs that will help you identify whether or not you or someone you love may be abusing alcohol.
1. Lying About Or Hiding Your Drinking Habits
Denial is common with people experiencing problems with alcohol and it is very hard to identify for anybody but yourself. If you start drinking alone or in secret, maybe even hiding alcohol in unlikely places, it’s possible you might be developing a drinking problem.
Lying to others about how much you drink to make it seem like it’s not an issue, or telling yourself that your family and friends are exaggerating are also important indicators, as well as feeling so guilty or ashamed about your alcohol intake that you don’t talk to anybody about it because you know they will tell you it’s not ok.
2. Being Unable To Limit The Amount Of Alcohol You Drink
“I’m only having one drink”, you said firmly before a night out with your friends. You really intended to keep your word, but ended up downing an entire bottle of tequila by yourself and getting so wasted you woke up with a severe hangover.
We’ve all been there, but if this starts happening on a regular basis it can be an indicator of a problem beyond that. Not being able to control how much you drink once you start drinking is a clear sign you may have an alcohol abuse problem.
3. Experiencing Regular “Blackouts”
Do you often drink so much you wake up with no recollection of last night’s events whatsoever? If you do, it means you’re drinking so much that it’s altering your basic brain functions and leaving you open to long-term damage. Besides, in such high level of intoxication you most likely aren’t exhibiting your best judgement and maybe event putting yourself in dangerous situations.
This could be a result of not being able to control how much drink, maybe you have to figure out if something else is driving you to drink excessively. Either way, alcohol induced blackouts should not be taken lightly.
4. Drinking In Dangerous Situations
Your doctor put you on antibiotics and strictly prohibited alcohol consumption as long as the treatment lasted, yet you couldn’t help but go against his orders, knowing perfectly well it could seriously interfere with the treatment or even damage your liver. You have to drive somewhere soon, but still you have a glass of wine because what the hell. After all, you’ve done it before and nothing has gone wrong, right?
Being aware of the consequences and still putting yourself through dangerous situations is a sign of problematic drinking. It means you are giving alcohol more importance than your own health or even your own life.
5. Having Trouble In Your Relationships And Personal Life
If you find yourself neglecting your responsibilities at work, school or in your household because of alcohol, if your drinking is causing trouble with your friends, family or partner, it means your problem is spotted so clearly that it’s reached a new level.
Alcohol has become a priority for you, it’s now even more important than the closest people in your life; it has crossed the line from being an occasional pleasure to a habit that interferes directly with your daily life.
If you’re experiencing one of these signs it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have a drinking problem, but if you’re experiencing a few or all of them, it’s important to acknowledge you may be abusing alcohol. Keep in mind though that there’s a line between being a social drinker and having a drinking problem, and if you feel identified with these signs it means you have crossed it and you’re at risk of developing an alcohol addiction.
There are different types of alcoholism, but broadly it means you’re not able to function without alcohol and drinking it becomes an important if not the most important part of your life. You still have time to change your habits and avoid becoming dependent of alcohol. It may be hard and it may take a lot of willpower, maybe you will need external help, but later you’ll look back and see that the day you started to drink responsibly, or maybe stop drinking altogether, was the day your life started to change for the better.
It’s important to be conscious of your relationship with alcohol and start taking measures to control it, something that you will later find will be very beneficial for your mental and physical health, not to mention it will bring a significant improvement to your personal relationships and your performance at work or school.