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Old 6th October 2017, 23:25
hollowone hollowone is offline
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Default How do you know you have a drinking problem?

I just want to share some thoughts

Now, I'm guessing that many people posting on here might have developed problems with drinking too much. Some of you guys will have used alcohol in social situations to help with thinking of things to say, to get rid of anxiety symptoms, to help you speak up. Some of you may have become socially-isolated as a result of you social anxiety, maybe started to wonder whether there's any hope for you to make new friends or find love and turned to drinking for comfort.

Now, if that's you, I'm sure you don't want to be seen as an alcoholic. When we think of an alcoholic, we think of the scruffy, dishevelled person drinking out of a paper bag on a park bench. An alcoholic is someone who's drunk all the time, drinks every day, and drinks first thing in the morning.

To have a drinking problem you don't need to remotely fit that bill. If anything, I argue that this binary view of being either a normal drinker or an alcoholic is one thing that gets in the way of people admitting that they have a problem.

How do you know you're a problem drinker?
I think it's fair to say;
  • If you try to hide your drinking
  • You've tried to cut down several times and failed
  • You notice you need more than you used to in order to get the same effect
  • You get a cravings or urges
  • You try to look for reassurance that you don't have a drinking problem
  • You're constantly thinking about whether you have a drink problem or not
  • You find it difficult to stop when you start drinking

You don't have to be physically-dependent, nor drinking every day for any of the above to be true. If any of those are true, that doesn't mean you should put-off getting help. You certainly don't want the word 'alcoholic' to be your identity if any of the above describes you. YOu don't want to be associated with any of the negative connotations that it carries or to identify with the stereotype. That's understandable, drinking problems operate on a spectrum with alcoholism at one end.

What I want you to be aware of is that if you do have concerns about your drinking, it's important to be aware of ways you might try to justify and deny it. I know it's all done out of fear of being judged

Lets look at some reasons people might think they don't have a problem with drinking.

'I only drink in the evening'
Lots of heavy drinkers only ever drink in the evening, never in the day, never in the morning. There are even people who're physically-dependent out there that only drink in the evenings.

'I don't drink every day'
The truth is, there are many people who don't drink every day who can have drinking problems. Did you know that it's even possible for people who binge-drink on weekends only to develop physical dependence? Think of the hardcore party animals. It's common apparently for people to have hangovers lasting for the early half of the week. What thy don't know is that some of those multi-day hangover symptoms can actually be mild withdrawal symptoms. Contrary to popular belief, you don't need to get shakes after stopping to be physically dependent. Things such as brain fog, insomnia and a general feeling of being unwell, as well as increased nervousness and anxiety in the days after stopping could be symptoms of a mild degree of physical dependence.

'I can just have one and leave it'
It shouldn't be a question of whether you're capable of having just one on occasion, but a question of whether a) those occasions are infrequent, and b) whether you find sticking to just one so difficult that you feel that you need to emphasize (or even brag) about those occasions when you can. Normal drinkers don't feel the need to emphasize and make a point of those occasions where they can have just one drink.

'I only ever drink beer'
The truth is beer can still result in addiction and dependence, you don't have to be drinking strong alcohol. Many people believe that problem drinkers or alcoholics only drink hard liquor, not true. Stereotypes can be unhelpful and can be a barrier to people admitting that they have a problem. Beer drinkers tend to get intoxicated slowly and only reach moderate levels of intoxication, yet can still get through significant amounts of units.

If any of you identify with any of the signs that I've listed, it might be time for you to go and get help. Social anxiety is a major risk factor for developing drinking problems, whether it's to cope with social situations, or whether it's something used to self-medicate the loneliness and social isolation that might be part of the experience, it's important to be aware of the warning signs. Booze might seem like a perfect friend but, it's got some dirty little tricks up it's sleeve.
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  #2  
Old 11th October 2017, 00:12
alltimegreat alltimegreat is offline
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Default Re: How do you know you have a drinking problem?

I drink 12 cans of beer every day. Now you tell me if Ive got a problem.
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