5 signs that it’s time to address your drinking habits

Here are 5 signs that could help you ascertain whether or not you have a drinking problem and what you can do about it.

1. Your mental health is compromised

Alcohol abuse and poor mental health go around in a vicious circle. Moderate amounts of alcohol, when had occasionally, may make you feel at ease and euphoric. But that’s only if you drink socially and know when to stop. However, uncontrolled drinking can cause your emotions to be dulled and even worsen symptoms of depression and anxiety. Excess alcohol consumption can also affect your memory, concentration and focus. It can lead to loss of judgement and may even cause you to inflict self-harm. This may push you towards loneliness and feelings of guilt which in turn increase alcohol dependence. Alcohol interferes with the brain function and hormones and this can aggravate any pre-existing mental disorders.

2. Your physical health is deteriorating

There are short-term and long-term effects of drinking alcohol and none of them are beneficial. Short-term effects are dizziness, nausea, vomiting, headaches and loss of coordination. This may lead to accidents and injury. In the long run, drinking too much alcohol puts pressure on your liver and may lead to fatty liver changes and cirrhosis. Too much drinking can also send your cholesterol levels [especially triglyceride] off and increase blood sugar levels. Too much alcohol consumption can also cause inflammation of the pancreas. Have you been experiencing too much acid reflux and gastritis that antacids are not helping? Alcohol can be toxic to the flora in your gut and cause acidity and even ulcers.

3. Alcohol use is hurting your relationships

Alcohol abuse has a negative impact not just on the person who has the drinking problem but also a deep and negative impact on the family members too, especially the spouse and children. Your loved ones are probably living in constant fear of the person you become once you are under the influence of alcohol. Alcohol addiction also has a financial impact as you may lose out on opportunities or not be able to function to your full calibre at the workplace. This in turn can put a strain on your family. Families where even one member is an alcoholic have higher rates of divorce, domestic abuse and sexual abuse. Before things escalate in that direction, consider alcohol rehabilitation and recovery. You will need the services and support of a professionals who have experience in helping people get out of this menacing habit.

4. You feel that you have to hide your drinking

Most of us already know we are heading towards a problem when we are. If you’ve been drinking on a sly, lying about it to your family and friends or feeling nervous and embarrassed about drinking openly in front of friends, family or colleagues, you already know you are overdoing it. You may be afraid to accept it but you’re probably afraid that your loved ones will bring up your drinking issue and that will need you to address the elephant in the room.

5. You’ve been arrested for a DUI

Though everyone who has been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol need not necessarily have a drinking problem, but if you’re addicted to alcohol there are more chances that you may drive while you’re drunk. This could have serious and life-changing consequences if something untoward happens. Remember, you’re putting not just your own, but the lives of many others at risk and one error of judgement can destroy your life and the lives of others forever.

If you think you have an addiction issue, even if it’s just the beginning, seek professional help. The sooner you address this, the easier it will be to help you get your life back on track.