It may seem as if it’s easy to figure out, but determining whether or not you yourself have a drinking problem can be trickier than you might think. Certain habits that are attributed to “problem drinkers” are not necessarily all signs of an addiction… and, conversely, those without the signs may still have a problem.

Are You Denying a Drinking Problem?

There is a generally-accepted “rule” that a person – a healthy, adult man – can “have up to 4 drinks on any one occasion… but not more than 14 over the course of any given week.” More than that is much more likely to lead to issues with one’s health, among  other things, and is considered excessive. For women, the numbers instead are 3 and 7.

Does this sound over, under, or about how many drinks you have each week? If the answer is “under” (that is, you’re having more than these amounts), then you may actually have or be developing a drinking problem. They vary in severity, but are all serious and require a bit of redirecting your day to day habits and decisions in order to avoid developing an addiction to alcohol.

Also to consider: a single “drink” will also vary, considering the differing types of alcohol and their by-volume content.

So, how else can you determine if you are developing an issue with drinking? If it has noticeably impacted you health, then that is a definite sign of growing addiction. Drinking too much can cause a slew of physical problems such as “raising your blood pressure, elevating your liver enzymes, causing heart rhythm disturbances” and more. Additionally, having frequent instances of “blacking out” or similar experiences are counted beneath this umbrella.

Of course, the effects go beyond yourself and can appear within your professional life. Those with a drinking problem often see their job performance suffering in a way that is noticed by coworkers and/or superiors. It may be difficult to own up to slacking off at work as a result of alcohol, but you may end up in hot water if you let the habit go on for too long, however “harmless” you believe it to be. Similarly, if you are out of a job, you’ll be losing a lot of money. If you are spending a lot of money on this habit anyway, then you’ll soon find it to be unsustainable.

Other people may have already said something to you about your habits in which case it’s likely bothering and/or affecting them. To avoid creating estranged relationships and alienating your loved ones, get help in reducing your levels of drinking. Family and friends are likely happy to help you with this if you reach out to them and communicate honestly about the problems that you’re having, particularly if they are moving toward an area of addiction.

Finally, and perhaps most obviously, if you receive a DUI or DWI, then you have a drinking problem. When the law becomes involved, it’s past the point of an issue. Driving under the influence is hugely dangerous to yourself and others and shouldn’t be risked for any reason. The consequences will still be steep even if no one is hurt, but if this isn’t enough to help you turn things around, you should see an addiction counselor or specialist right away.

To reduce your alcohol consumption, contact The Bergand Group. We offer recovery programs for yourself or for others or are seeking education materials about addictions. The Bergand Group is Maryland’s leading addiction recovery center and offers support for those struggling with addiction and mental health issues, including direction for those who may be denying an addiction.  We can help you to work through your addiction in a safe and healthy environment where everyone is committed to your care.

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About The Bergand Group:

At The Bergand Group in Baltimore and Harford County, Maryland, our therapists have more than twenty years of experience in the mental health and addiction fields. Our focus is on providing comprehensive mental health care and appropriate care for addictive disorders. We offer both alcohol rehab and drug rehabilitation. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol or substance addiction, there is help available. We also offer several other services, including family therapy and counseling. We can help. Contact us today.