10 Signs You Have a Drinking Problem

10 Signs You Have a Drinking Problem

What Is Denial & How Does It Hide Your Drinking Problem?

Drinking is widely accepted in our culture as a way to unwind and deal with stress. And because denial is a common symptom of addiction, it can be hard to see addictive behaviors in yourself. This is why behaviors that are unhealthy are often viewed as perfectly normal, until the addiction progresses to a darker place.

The thing about addiction is that it’s sneaky and has a way of manipulating the brain into thinking that what you’re doing is okay. At first, you may be able to hide your alcohol abuse from others. But you’re not doing yourself any favors. The problem will continue to get worse and disrupt your life.

Below are 10 signs that you may have a drinking problem. If you feel that you need outpatient alcohol rehab in Phoenix, don’t wait to get it. Addiction is much easier to treat when you address it early and learn healthy ways to deal with stress.

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Here are some telltale signs that will help you determine whether or not your drinking is turning into a problem:

1. Drinking for emotional reasons.

Some people drink to take the edge off. While that’s usually not considered healthy, it doesn’t mean they have an addiction. That said, if you’re drinking for deeper, more emotional reasons, your drinking can spiral out of control.

When you have a background of childhood trauma, the stress can live in your body and drive the urge to drink. People turn to alcohol because it numbs their pain and helps them forget about their emotions. However, alcohol only provides temporary relief and ends up causing more problems down the line.

2. Having an underlying mental illness.

If you have untreated mental illness, it’s possible that you are using alcohol to self-medicate. Sadly, this can lead you down a destructive path where you end up with both a mental health disorder and an alcohol use disorder.

In order to stop the cycle from progressing, you must treat the mental illness. Fortunately, these disorders respond well to treatments like behavioral therapy, counseling and medication. By seeking treatment from a dual diagnosis Phoenix recovery center, you can address both your drinking and your mental health.

3. Being unable to stop once you start.

When you go out for a beer after work, can you stop after one? Or, if you open a bottle of wine, are you happy with one glass? If not, this is a problem. Many alcoholics can’t stop drinking once they start. Not being able to control your intake is a sign of addiction. This means you are losing control and the addiction is gaining it.

4. Hiding or lying about your drinking.

Usually when people hide or lie about their drinking, it’s because they are embarrassed. So, if you are drinking in secrecy, ask yourself why this is the case. Are you ashamed of how much you’re drinking? How often you’re drinking? What you do when you drink?

It’s very common for high-functioning alcoholics to hide or downplay their drinking. But, over time, the drinking is more difficult to lie about. Before this happens, acknowledge your changing behaviors and how you can address them. Again, you do not need to reach rock bottom to get help. You can start changing your behaviors today and seek recovery at a Phoenix outpatient treatment for alcoholism.

5. Increasing alcohol tolerance.

Even if you feel that your drinking is for social purposes and not emotional ones, there are other signs to watch for. People can still become addicted to alcohol even with a healthy background and no mental illness. One of the first signs of a growing problem is increased tolerance.

As you drink more, your body needs more alcohol to get the desired effects. This is called tolerance. You may know people who started off drinking a glass of wine or beer and then progressed into hard alcohol like whiskey or gin. If you’re headed in the same direction, it’s clear that your body is becoming physically dependent on alcohol.

friends drinking together

6. Trouble in your relationships.

If you’re having trouble in your intimate relationships, ask yourself if it came before or after the drinking. If it came before, you may be drinking to avoid deeper problems within the relationship. If it came after, the alcohol is probably having an effect on your relationships. If you don’t quit drinking soon, you could lose these relationships for good.

Addiction takes a toll on intimate relationships. It eventually comes before everything else in your life. This is what the addiction wants – to be number one. If you find yourself treading down this path, you probably need to make changes in your life, including attending individual and family counseling through an outpatient rehab.

7. Mental health is suffering.

A mental health disorder can come after you start drinking, too. The reality is that alcohol causes a lot of psychological symptoms like irritability, mood swings, fatigue and depression. Even though many people feel happy and silly when drinking, alcohol is a central nervous system depressant.

Not only does alcohol affect the body but also the brain. The substance binds to GABA receptors in the brain, a neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of calmness and sedation. Alcohol also stimulates glutamate, resulting in memory loss and other impaired brain functions. If you’re noticing a change in personality, alcohol is probably to blame.

8. Prioritizing alcohol over other things.

When your drinking habits change, they usually start to take precedence over other things in your life. You need time to get drunk and then sober up, which means hours of every day are going towards your habit. As a result, you may be missing out on family gatherings, work, school or volunteering at the church.

Even if you do attend these events, you probably aren’t present. Your mind is thinking about that next drink. If you find yourself prioritizing alcohol over more important things in your life, this is a sure sign that you are moving towards addiction. Eventually, you’ll stop having hobbies and relationships because alcohol is all your brain will care about.

9. Blacking out regularly.

Does your drinking result in blackouts? If so, this is another red flag. Blacking out means that you’re drinking way too much alcohol. Why is this the case? Are you unhappy with your life? Are you trying to numb feelings of depression?

Not only is blacking out dangerous, but also it means that you are losing control of your behaviors. Waking up and not being able to recall the night’s events will only leave you with more anxiety, driving you to drink again. Plus, you can easily damage your relationships this way. Bottom line: regular blackouts are dangerous to your mental, physical and emotional health.

10. Trying to quit but can’t.

Maybe you have been concerned about your drinking and tried to quit but were unable to. Many people make excuses for why this happens, but it’s a definite sign of addiction. Even if you live in an environment where alcohol is accessible, you should still be able to say no. If you can’t, your brain is already undergoing changes that make it difficult to refrain.

These are ten signs that you may have a drinking problem. If any of these apply to you, contact Continuum Recovery Center to learn more about our outpatient alcohol rehab. We make it easy to seek treatment while continuing your life at home.