Not everyone who drinks develops alcoholism. There are many people who can have a glass of wine or bottle of beer and be content with that. Some people may binge drink every once in a while, but even then, it’s not a regular occurrence, and they are able to moderate their overall drinking habits. However, there are other people who do develop issues with drinking where they are no longer in control and their substance use becomes problematic.
Alcoholism does not discriminate; there is no “typical” image of what someone with a substance use disorder looks like. They can be of any age, race, gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic class, or profession. It could be your next-door neighbor, someone you work with, your accountant, or your loved one; it could even be you.
Being aware of the signs and risk factors for alcohol use disorders can help you to recognize when drinking has shifted from casual to problematic. Here are a few red flags:
- You frequently drink more than you intended to
- You’ve tried to cut back or quit drinking but were unable
- You feel like you need to drink in order to relax, sleep, or cope with challenging situations
- You are often preoccupied with thoughts of drinking or when you can drink next
- Your health, finances, career, or relationships have deteriorated due to the effects of your drinking
- You hide or downplay how much or how frequently you drink
- Friends or family have expressed concern over your drinking
It is important not to fall victim to the stereotypes of alcoholism such as being poor, unemployed, uneducated, or homeless. There are many high-functioning people who struggle with alcoholism. They hold down good jobs, have nice homes, have loving families, and may seem to have it all together. Yet in reality, their drinking has become an issue and it is only a matter of time before there are serious consequences.
Recognizing Drinking Problems and Seeking Help
April 5 is National Alcohol Screening Day and a time to raise awareness about alcohol use disorders and the benefits of seeking treatment. There is no perfect time to get help; there will always be reasons to push it off, but the sooner you engage in a treatment program, the sooner you can begin living a healthier life and turning things around.
Screening for Mental Health, Inc. offers anonymous online screening tools where anyone can find out if their drinking habits – or those of someone they know – may be problematic and require professional help. From here, you can learn more about options for treatment including comprehensive programs like Crossroads. The team at Crossroads works with individuals to identify their needs and develop an effective treatment plan to promote lasting recovery.
Addiction or alcoholism are not issues you have to handle alone. There are many resources and support systems available. The first step is recognizing that there is a problem and then reaching out for help. Recovery is possible. Crossroads can help you to remember who you wanted to be.
[cta]Are you concerned about your drinking behaviors or those of someone you know? Turn to Crossroads to learn more about treatment options and recovery.[/cta]