How do you know when your or your loved one’s drinking has become a problem? In reality, there’s no one-size-fits-all way to tell if your drinking has crossed over from moderate to severe.
Although drinking has become entrenched in cultures around the world, a risk for abuse always exists. People often classify their alcohol habits as “social drinking.” It’s easy to misunderstand this term, and most assume that drinking done in group settings can be considered “social.” With the current social climate, particularly here in the U.S., drinking with a group of people can increase the likelihood of binge drinking. Drinking among Americans increased 17.2 percent between 2005 and 2012, according to a study by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. The same study identified an 8.9 percent rise in the number of binge drinkers.
So when does drinking become a problem? Many signs may point to a problem, but everyone’s relationship with alcohol is different. One bad night of drinking doesn’t create dependence, for example, although looking for patterns is important. A professional can identify and treat alcoholism and alcohol abuse. But if you feel like your relationship with alcohol is a problem, it probably is. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Have you wanted to stop drinking but couldn’t, or tried and failed?
- Have you experienced a craving for alcohol?
- Is your tolerance increasing? Do you find yourself having to drink more to feel the same effect?
- Has alcohol, or the effects of alcohol, interfered with other areas of your life?
- Do you continue to drink even though it causes problems with your family and friends?
- Have you had withdrawal symptoms, such as trouble sleeping, shakiness, anxiety, restlessness, or depression?
Although this list is hardly exhaustive, if you identify with these indicators, seek help. When drinking is adversely affecting your health, rehab is likely the best solution. Everyone is different, and only a trained professional can assess your specific situation.
There are more options than the 12-step plans that come to mind when dealing with alcohol abuse. Besides the traditional group counseling methods, treatments include outpatient programs, holistic health, rehab, or sober living homes. If you’re concerned about your health, rehab is the answer. Treating alcoholism needs to be done in a professional facility. The first order of business at a facility will be a thorough evaluation of your alcohol use, to determine the best plan of action. The professional rehab facility also lets you step away from the pressure of everyday life and surround yourself with a tranquil and supportive environment.