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Am I an alcoholic? Warning signs you might have a drinking problem.

Have you reassured yourself that you can’t possibly have a drinking problem? After all, you’ve never had a DUI and you’re certainly not homeless and destitute.

Don’t pat yourself on the back too quickly, however. Some of the warning signs of alcoholism are very subtle and hard to identify. Doctors actually look at many factors when determining whether someone is addicted to alcohol, and some of the symptoms might surprise you.

Take a look at these warning signs that show if you have a drinking problem and take our short quiz to determine whether it’s time to reach out for help.

What Are the Warning Signs?

Alcoholism has risen drastically during the last couple of decades, with 12.7% of Americans (or one out of eight) showing signs of alcoholism. Take a look at the warning signs to see if you recognize yourself or a loved one.

You’re Giving up Other Activities (But Not Alcohol)

Look at your calendar. Are you doing anything other than going to work and meeting friends for drinks? Are there activities that used to appear on your calendar, but you just don’t seem to participate in them anymore? Do you do anything for fun or relaxation other than drink?

You’ve Found Yourself in Some Dangerous Situations

Maybe you got behind the wheel when you shouldn’t have. Perhaps you had unsafe sex when you didn’t intend to. You might have found yourself in a dangerous part of town or even gotten into a fight. So far, maybe nothing too serious has resulted from these flirtations with danger — but the next time could be disastrous.

You Have a Hard Time Stopping

Have you tried to cut back on your drinking, but found you couldn’t do it? Perhaps you just feel better when you drink, so you end up back at the bar. If you’ve tried to abstain but found yourself thinking about drinking (or even turning to other substances), you’re seeing a real warning sign.

You Don’t Remember What You Did While You Were Drinking

If you’ve experienced a full-on blackout, passing out while drinking, that’s certainly evidence of a problem. But even short-term memory loss from drinking alcohol is a warning sign. Think back to last night (or the last time you were drinking). Do you remember what you said and did? If you’re not sure, consider this a warning sign.

You’re Drinking in Secret

Maybe you’re spending evenings home alone with your six pack or a bottle or two of wine. Drinking in secret can take other forms as well, though. Do you find yourself pre-gaming your evening and telling little white lies about how much you’ve already had? Is your coffee cup spiked with something other than coffee? If you catch yourself hiding your drinking, there’s a problem.

You Crave Alcohol When You’re Not Drinking

It’s the middle of the work day, but all you can think about is where you’ll go for a drink afterwards. You find yourself nervous and irritable because you don’t have a drink in your hand. The cravings for alcohol seem stronger than hunger, stronger than your responsibilities. These cravings are all warning signs that you should take seriously.

You’re Having Problems at Work, School, or Home

Maybe you’ve dropped the ball at work and gotten chewed out as a result. You can’t ever seem to get your homework done on time and you let everyone else do the heavy lifting on that group project. Home isn’t a haven anymore because you keep getting into arguments with your loved ones. If this describes your life at the moment, it’s time to think about the role alcohol could be playing in all these problems.

You’re Experiencing Withdrawal Symptoms

You may feel great while you’re drinking, but how do you feel afterward? Are you nauseous? Shaky? Irritable? Do you feel restless or have trouble sleeping? Do you find yourself sweating for no apparent reason? How about those feelings of depression and anxiety? If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s a sign that alcohol is affecting your body’s chemistry and your brain is having difficulty adjusting. Withdrawal symptoms are a definite sign that you’re in trouble.

You Feel Isolated

Think about the people who don’t seem to be in your life at the moment — the friends and family you used to spend time with. Maybe you’re avoiding them (or they’re avoiding you) because you can’t drink together. If the only folks you hang out with are people you drink with, or if you feel isolated and alone, the alcohol could be the cause.

You Drink More Than You Intend to Drink

You have a plan. Two drinks, and that’s it for the night. Or one mimosa with Sunday brunch, no more. But you blow past your limit right away and by bedtime you’re really not sure how many drinks you had. If you can’t stick to your self-imposed limit, you’re seeing a warning sign.

Take Our Short Alcoholism Quiz

If reading over these warning signs has you feeling uncomfortable, take this quick quiz to see whether you should be concerned about the possibility of having a drinking problem.

  1. Have you ever had a drink in the morning to get rid of a hangover or to help you face the day?
  2. Have you ever experienced symptoms of alcohol withdrawal (nausea, shakiness, sweating, irritability, insomnia)?
  3. Has anyone ever criticized your drinking?
  4. Have you ever felt guilty about your drinking?
  5. Have you ever continued drinking even though it made you feel worse?
  6. Have you lost interest or involvement in other activities since you began drinking?
  7. Have you gotten into dangerous situations due to drinking, including drinking and driving or other situations that could harm you or other people?
  8. Have you ever ended up drinking more than you intended to drink?
  9. Have you ever felt you should cut back on alcohol?
  10. Have you had any problems with the law due to drinking (including drinking and driving)?
  11. Do you ever feel cravings for alcohol?

If you’ve answered “yes” to two or more of these questions, there’s reason for concern. You should seek help and treatment to handle your drinking problem.

Outpatient Alcoholism Treatment in Massachusetts

At Topsail Addiction Treatment, we can help you resolve the questions you have about your drinking and provide you with the treatment you need, right here at our facility in Andover, Massachusetts.

We offer a wide range of programs to meet your alcohol addiction treatment needs in the Boston area, all of which give you the option to live in your own home as you seek treatment.

Our full-day, partial hospitalization treatment programs meet five days a week in Andover. You can also opt for our intensive outpatient treatment, which involves three meetings per week. Or choose weekly outpatient treatment plans customized to accommodate your work or school schedule. Continue living at home in the Boston area as you participate in these plans, or we can help you find a spot in a sober living house.

It’s time to get help for your drinking problem now. Contact us today at 978-475-0002 to put all those warning signs in your past and get the alcoholism treatment you need to make your future bright again.

 

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