If you drink alcohol on a daily or regular basis, you may wonder if you are addicted to it. In fact, alcohol is the mostly commonly used addictive substance in the U.S. Addiction is usually a gradual progression that starts with overuse, and then may move to dependence and addiction. If you have any of the following warning signs, talk to a Licensed Counselor for support. The earlier you get help, the quicker you can change your habits to protect your health.
You may be physically or psychologically dependent on alcohol if you…
• Have to drink more alcohol per sitting in order to achieve the same level of inebriation (“buzz”)
• Can’t stop drinking, despite wanting to stop
• Neglect to take care of things in your life in order to drink–for example, letting your health, relationships, work and other responsibilities slide
• Are having problems traced back to using alcohol like accidents, debt, arguments, or poor performance reviews
• Have withdrawal symptoms when you’re not drinking alcohol regularly
• Hide your alcohol use from others
• Have a craving for alcohol
• Drink alone
You may be addicted to alcohol if you…
• Can’t stop drinking despite it causing problems in your life
• Are in denial of the problem
• Are willing to put yourself or others in danger in order to drink
Start taking control
If you are concerned about your drinking, it’s time to take action. Start with these strategies, suggested by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism:
Avoid your triggers. If certain people, places or situations prompt you to drink when you don’t want to, try to avoid them.
Find alternatives. If you’ve relied on alcohol to be more social or cope with stress, loneliness or sadness, find healthier ways to deal with these emotions.
Plan ahead to handle urges. Remind yourself of your reasons for curbing your drinking, or get involved in a distracting healthy activity, such as exercise.
Get professional help
If you’re still struggling with controlling your drinking despite your efforts to curb your use, a counselor can help you sort through your drinking habits and triggers, offer positive coping behaviors, and refer you to appropriate professionals, if needed. Don’t wait to get help.