April is Alcohol Awareness Month. As the month comes to a close, we want to remind our readers that there are signs, often discounted, that a person may have a drinking problem. Problem drinkers generally show several signs together and that is where their friends and families should be concerned:
- You vow to quite drinking but don’t
- Many people who drink alcohol have found themselves in an embarrassing situation at some point. Embarrassing enough that they vow that will never happen again…and it doesn’t. But if you have the same experience over and over and cannot seem to break the pattern, this is a problem.
- You’re chronically late
- For some people, this is just their normal way of life. Watch to see if this is a departure from the norm or if it is increasing.
- Your social life revolves around drinking
- Okay, in the college scene, this can be the norm. That doesn’t mean that it is healthy. Comments like “Let’s meet in the bar before dinner” or “Let’s start the evening with drinks at my place” or “No alcohol? What fun is that?” could signal a problem.
- You hold your liquor better than in the past
- “This means they’re building a tolerance,” says Simon A. Rego, PsyD, director of psychology training at Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City.
- You end up in risky situations
- Drunk driving can be considered the biggest and most widespread risky behavior while drinking. Other situations may include injuries resulting in trips to the ER, unsafe sex, showing poor judgment and even job loss, financial ruin, criminal acts or prison time.
- Personality changes
- Have friends mentioned how different your personality is when you are drinking? Look for extreme shifts in personality.
- Memory loss while drinking
- The term “black out” sounds so dramatic. Some might find it easier to dismiss by calling it a memory lapse. You may find them fishing for information the next day “Did I do anything embarrassing last night?” To be clear: a person is not conscious when they pass out, but they are conscious when they black out. They can continue to party and not have any memory of it the next day.
Have some of these signs come uncomfortably close you or a loved one? Seek help! There are a number of treatment options that can lead to recovery.