A moderate intake of alcohol has been associated with a reduced risk for cardiovascular disease, and mental health benefits such as reduced stress and anxiety levels. Moderate is the operative word however, because consuming too much alcohol can have a serious negative impact on your health, your family life and even your career. If you want to know whether your drinking is perfectly healthy and normal, or whether it has become a problem that needs to be dealt with, consider the following signs of alcohol dependency.
1. You Use Alcohol to Boost Feelings of Mental Health
If you rely on alcohol as your primary means for unwinding, releasing stress, reducing anxiety, and/or self-soothing, it may be a sign that your relationship with alcohol has become unhealthy.
2. You Feel Ashamed or Guilty About Your Drinking
If you feel bad about your drinking or you feel the need to lie to, or hide your drinking from others, it is a clear sign that you have an alcohol problem and should seek professional treatment. Experiencing guilt due to behaviors that are caused by your drinking such as neglecting school, work or family obligations also indicates the need for treatment.
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3. Your Family or Friends are Concerned
If the people who are close to you are worried about your drinking, and you continue to do so despite their concerns, it is usually a pretty good indication that your drinking has become a problem.
4. You Regularly Have Memory Gaps When You Drink
“Black outs” from drinking are not normal, and they indicate a consumption that is far too high for your body to handle. Drinking that is this excessive can result in mental health ramifications such as a reduced ability to form new, long-term memories. Black-out drinking also causes damage to your liver and it increases your risk for death by encouraging you to partake in risky behaviors such as drinking and driving.
5. You Drink to Mask Signs of Depression
Alcohol and substance abuse are both common signs of depression, along with a reduced interest in other activities, feelings of intense sadness, irritability or hopelessness, unexplainable exhaustion, and thoughts of suicide. Although drinking may seems to numb out these feelings, it actually works as a depressant and it ultimately increases depressive feelings. It is therefore imperative that you seek treatment from a healthcare professional immediately if you drink often and experience any of the above mentioned signs of depression.
6. You Experience Physical Indications of Alcohol Addiction
If you have an increased tolerance to alcohol or if you experience withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, sweating, nausea, insomnia, depression, fatigue, irritability, headache, loss of appetite and shakiness, you should consider seeking treatment for alcohol dependency.
Additional Indications of an Alcohol Problem:
- You want to quit but just can’t seem to
- You often drink more than you intend to
- Your life has begun to revolve around alcohol and you’ve given up activities you previously enjoyed because of it
- You recognize that alcohol is causing physical, social or mental health problems and you continue to consume it anyways.