Alcohol is such a deeply integrated cultural norm that discerning when the occasional over-indulgence has become true alcoholism can be difficult. After all, it’s not unusual for a person to drink too much, and doing so doesn’t automatically make them an alcoholic. What ultimately sets a binge apart from a true disorder is the person’s relationship with alcohol. Wondering where your drinking habits fall on the scale? Here are 6 not-so-subtle warning signs that you have unhealthy drinking habits and might need to go to an alcohol rehabilitation center:
1. You lie about how much you drink
It seems that whenever you’re asked about your drinking habits you constantly find yourself downplaying the amount of alcohol you’ve consumed or making excuses about why you “needed” the drinks you had. Simply put: if you feel the need to fib or become defensive, odds are that deep down you know your drinking habits are well beyond what others would consider normal. Similarly, frequently drinking alone or in secret is another red flag that your drinking habits have surpassed healthy standards.
2. You’ve given up hobbies and other activities that used to bring you pleasure
Planning your next drink is never far from your thoughts and it’s gotten to a point where you’ll cancel plans to make sure that it happens. Or, perhaps your drinking has become so frequent (and the hangovers so intense) that you’re no longer functional enough to indulge in your usual past times. It’s one thing to have your interests change, but it seems like more and more of your usual leisure activities have fallen by the wayside but your determination to drink remains unwavering.
3. Your work performance has noticeably slipped
Even more concerning than abandoning your hobbies—things you like to do— for alcohol, is abandoning the things you have to do. If your drinking habits have noticeably impeded your ability to function in the workplace (or any other place where you wield a significant amount of personal responsibility), you’re demonstrating that you find alcohol to be more important than one of the cornerstones of special expectations. And since work is directly related to the ability to provide for ourselves, it also means you’re valuing alcohol over the risk of shelter and other life necessities.
4. You have multiple DUIs
Getting tangled with the law for an infraction is as damaging to one’s reputation as it is costly. Doing so multiple times shows a blatant disregard for both health and safety as well as basic rational decision making. Impunitive actions like a DUI are meant to discourage such behavior. Their failure as a meaningful deterrent shows just how upended your priorities have become and also highlights the loss of control you have over your actions.
5. You know you drink too much but don’t change
If your usual approach to drinking is to say “I know I shouldn’t be doing this but…” and then do it anyway, it’s pretty clear that you’re struggling with self-control and the ability to self-regulate your drinking. If your body is saying “no” but you feel like some invisible force is making you say “yes” against your better judgment, that’s a fairly obvious sign of an unhealthy relationship with alcohol.
6. You experience withdrawal symptoms
Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Experiencing symptoms of alcohol withdrawal is indicative of physical dependence—the body’s precursor to full-blown addiction. Your neurochemical balance has been altered to a degree that it can no longer function normally without alcohol. This can be considered one of the most obvious and urgent signs that you might need to go to an alcohol rehabilitation center. These symptoms most commonly manifest themselves as shaking, sweating, headaches, hallucinations, nausea, and seizures, and can occur in as little as a few hours after your last drink.
Find an Alcohol Rehabilitation Center Near You
There are an estimated 17 million adults and adolescents with alcohol use disorder (AUD). Sadly, the National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that only 1 of every 10 seek or receive any treatment. Part of the reason for such dismal numbers is simply that most individuals aren’t aware that they have a drinking problem.
Alcoholism is a serious and debilitating disease that will progressively get worse the longer it goes untreated. Exhibiting even one of these behaviors can be indicative of a potentially dangerous alcohol addiction. An alcohol rehabilitation center can help mitigate the unpleasant withdrawal effects and help with behavioral therapy for this chronic relapsing brain disorder.