Admitting, or even realising, that you have a problem with alcohol isn’t an easy thing to do. You don’t suddenly wake up and realise “I have a problem”, it’s something that can creep up very slowly over time. But there are signs you can look out for and questions to ask yourself.
Recognising the signs of alcohol abuse
It can be difficult to notice when a few drinks here and there has turned in to a few too many, too regularly. But the good news is, as soon as you do recognise it and admit it to yourself, you’re on the right side of the tracks.
If you’re at all worried about yourself – or a loved one – there are some common signs to look out for mentally, socially, and physically which include:
- Feeling anxious about when you’ll be able to have your next drink
- Drinking – or having thoughts about it – when you wake up in the morning
- Drinking regularly on your own
- Hiding your drinking from your friends and family
- Your relationships with friends and family is deteriorating because of your drinking
- Never being able to go home after a night of drinking, and trying to coerce friends to stay out drinking with you even when they’ve said they want to go home
- Suffering physical withdrawal from alcohol symptoms like sweating, feeling nauseous, needing alcohol to fall asleep, or needing more and more to get drunk
What treatment is available
Once you’ve recognised that you may have a problem with alcohol, the next step is to seek help. The good news is, recognising and admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery.
Once you’ve realised you have a problem, you should talk to someone about it. Reach out to your friends, family, counsellor, or a doctor so you can discuss how you’re feeling and what your options are. If you go straight to your doctor, they will be able to discuss treatment options with you. The treatment options they present will be largely based on the severity of the problem, which they will determine with a series of questions.
If the doctor believes you have a low-level dependence, they may suggest some changes you can make and refer you to a counsellor.
If the doctor believes you have a stronger dependence, there are treatments available to help you manage your recovery. Things like behavioural treatment, medication, peer support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous or Smart Recovery, or spending time at a rehab clinic.
The most important thing to do is reach out to someone. Don’t ever try to go it alone. Addiction of any kind is a difficult to beat and you’ll need to support, and guidance of professionals to help you.