Binge or daily drinking increases your risks of developing alcohol dependency, the clinical term for alcoholism. Eventually, if you keep up these behaviors, you will develop noticeable mental and physical changes indicating that you need to consider finding professional help. If you have any of these symptoms, you should consider seeking medical assistance:
1. Tolerance: Over time, you need to drink more to get the same feeling you once did with less alcohol. You may drink a lot and not feel buzzed at all. This is called “tolerance.” Your body needs more of the substance than it did before because you use so much it has gotten accustomed to being drunk.
2. Withdrawal symptoms: As the effect of the alcohol wears off you may have experienced withdrawal symptoms. These can include feeling anxiety or jumpiness; shakiness or trembling; sweating; nausea and vomiting; insomnia; depression; irritability; fatigue; loss of appetite; or headaches. Any combination of these symptoms may be present.
3. Loss of Control: If you intend to drink a certain amount and find once you start drinking that you have little or no control over how much you drink, it’s time to start addressing your alcohol consumption.
4. Desire to stop but cannot stop: Sometimes you may have a persistent desire to stop, and even had several temporarily successful efforts to cut down on your drinking. You probably feel helpless because you want to say no, but you find you cannot.
5. Neglecting Other Activities: You may start ignoring important appointments, forgetting your promises to visit family, or blowing off work. Alcohol abuse eventually starts stealing your time and causes you to neglect life in general. Social, occupational and recreational activities that used to be important to you are no longer a priority because of alcohol abuse.
6. Lost time, energy and focus: Essentially, you will start focusing more on alcohol and less on everything else. You’ll start to think about alcohol all the time. You’ll worry about when you’ll be able to drink next. Everything else in your life will eventually take a back seat to getting another bottle.
7. Negative Consequences: When drinking alcohol is interfering with your ability to do your job, is damaging your marriage, making your finance problems worse, or causing health problems, but you continue to drink, you have a drinking problem. Negative consequences indicate the need for profession guidance to help you get back in control of your life.
If you recognize yourself or someone you love in this checklist, seek help right away. There are great, effective, evidence-based treatment options that can return you to better health. Recovery is an option.