Alcohol –the pastime of all time- has a long-standing reputation as the most commonly abused addictive substance, easily entrapping those most susceptible to its effects. Granted, as an “every now and then” indulgence, alcohol poses little risk of harm; however, when alcohol’s effects become a sought after reprieve, the beginnings of an alcohol abuse disorder may well be at work.
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism, an estimated 17 million Americans meet the criteria for alcohol abuse disorder. As one the most accessible addictive substance on the market, coupled with the widespread acceptable of alcohol consumption within American culture, those vulnerable to alcohol’s effects are most likely to fall into a cycle of abuse over time.
If you’ve reached the point where you’re wondering if you have an alcohol abuse problem, alcohol’s effects have likely started to surface within one or more areas of your life. Asking the following questions may help shed some light on whether or not alcohol abuse has become a running theme in your life.
Questions to Ask:
Do you drink more than usual when facing disappointment, pressure or conflict with others?
Drinking to relieve feelings of discomfort can quickly become a habit, and over time, your sole means for coping with daily life pressures.
Has your alcohol intake increased over time?
The brain easily adapts to alcohol’s effects so increasingly large quantities are needed to create the sought after “buzz” effect.
Have you experienced blackout episodes in the past?
According to the University of Florida, blackout episodes indicate your brain has reached its limit in terms of alcohol’s effects. Not surprisingly, the brain’s tolerance level rises even faster once this threshold is crossed.
Do you have a drinking routine, such as before/after work or at mealtimes?
Once alcohol abuse has become part of your daily routine, the mind starts to depend on alcohol’s effects to cope with daily life.
Have you to tried to cut back or stop drinking in the past and failed?
An inability to reduce or stop drinking at will indicates a psychological dependency has taken hold, which is the hallmark of addiction.
Has drinking caused you problems at work, at home or with the law?
Once alcohol abuse becomes a top priority in your life, other important life areas take a backseat to drinking.
Do you experience mood swings or have bouts of depression or anxiety?
Bouts of depression and anxiety only work to support the alcohol abuse cycle making it that much more difficult to control your drinking.
Over time, alcohol abuse creates a pattern of thinking and behavior all its own; patterns that inevitably impact a person’s daily interactions with others and overall quality of living. The more times you answered “yes” to the above questions the greater the need for some type of intervention, be it consulting with a doctor, attending a 12-Step group or entering alcohol rehab.
If you or someone you know struggles with alcohol abuse or have more questions about alcoholism in general, please feel free to call our toll-free helpline at 800-598-5053 for more information. Our phone counselors can also help connect you with treatment providers in your area.