Even if you drink alcohol in moderation, please take a minute to evaluate your drinking habits. Many people have absolutely no clue that they’re dependent until after the disease has taken control over their lives.
You may very well be in trouble if any or all of these 5 signs apply to you:
1. You can’t control how much you drink. Many people binge drink, and sure, and it doesn’t mean they’re alcoholics — they just aren’t very responsible about their drinking. Alcoholics binge drink, but they do it more out of habit (and with some kind of excuse) than because they want to party it up with friends once a week. If you’re in danger of alcoholism, it means you’re not be able to control your binge drinking and you do it frequently.
2. You have a high tolerance for alcohol. Because an alcoholic is constantly pounding drinks, they get really good at holding their alcohol. While others may be suffering from severe intoxication after a certain number of drinks, you’ll still be going strong.
3. You have been in trouble or danger because of drinking. You may find yourself in trouble with the law because of violence or drunken driving. But trouble can even come in the form of an angered spouse or friend because of your drinking habits and irresponsibility. If you find that you’re increasingly afflicted by the consequences of drinking, and having to talk about how it affects others around you, there’s a problem.
4. You hide your alcohol consumption. Because a person with alcoholism may still have some sense of what is normal and acceptable, they will try to cover up their drinking. They may know their behavior while drinking is annoying or inexcusable, so they will try to hide the fact that they drink as much as they do. An alcoholic may have stashes of alcohol around the house, and will have perfected ways to sneak alcohol into work or places where drinking is not acceptable.
5. You experience withdrawal symptoms. An alcoholic by definition is someone whose body is dependent on alcohol. Going without alcohol for you could result in nausea, sweating, shakiness, and anxiety. For this reason, you may drink throughout the day — even first thing in the morning — to avoid feeling the symptoms.
Alcohol dependence is a silent disease; many people live in constant denial when it comes to alcoholism, or make every effort to hide it. Families of alcoholics also get good at covering for their family member, or becoming enablers without even realizing it. Many people are too embarrassed or naive to admit that this problem affects them.
Early intervention and treatment is the best way for an alcoholic to get his or her life back on track. If some of these signs of alcoholism apply to you or someone you know, get professional help. Tell yourself, no excuses.
To take a more in-depth survey, take the Michigan Alcohol Screening test (MAST).