One Drink or Two? Signs of Problem Drinking

As summer is in full swing and more people are getting vaccinated for COVID-19, many festivities come along with it. Unfortunately, however, with summer fun often comes drinking. When you attend a barbeque or pool party, you can easily be tempted to have one or two drinks. But what happens when those one or two drinks turn into more? What happens when you can’t seem to stop drinking? Identifying the signs of problem drinking helps you get the care you need. 


Drinking More Than Intended

Signs of an alcohol problem include drinking more or more often than you intended. For example, at a party you set restrictions with friends on the maximum number of drinks you plan to have. However, when you reach your limit, you tell yourself that one more won’t hurt. Then, that one drink more is followed by another, then another, until you find yourself consuming more drinks than you originally intended. This pattern is a sign your drinking has turned into problem drinking. 


Joking About How Much You Drink

Joking about how much you drink can come in many forms and point to problem drinking. For example, you consume so much alcohol that you black out. The next day you joke about your blackout by saying things like, “Last night was so crazy, I can’t believe I blacked out,” and laugh it out. While you may see your blackout as something normal and not severe, continuously blacking out and joking about it point to a problem with drinking. 


Ignoring Responsibilities and Obligations Due to Drinking

Often, when we think of someone who has a problem with alcohol, we think of someone who continuously misses work or family obligations. For example, we picture someone who is persistently late to work because they are hungover or miss their child’s sporting events because they were still sleeping after a night out drinking. However, ignoring responsibilities and obligations doesn’t have to be extreme to point to problem drinking. Perhaps you tell a friend you will spend time with them, but instead find yourself at the bar drinking. Instead of showing up for your friend, you decide to continue drinking. If this consistently happens, you have a problem with alcohol. 


Constantly Craving Alcohol

Constantly craving alcohol, despite the situation, points to a drinking problem. If you’ve succeeded at work, you may want to drink to celebrate. If you’re having relationship problems, you could conceivably want to drink to cope with your feelings. While you’re sitting at your desk, you might be thinking about drinking alcohol. Whatever the occasion or the situation, you are insistent that you need a drink or two, maybe more.


Hiding or Lying About Your Drinking

There are numerous ways to hide or lie about your drinking. You may sneak alcohol into work in your coffee thermos so you can drink at work. You could perhaps slip a flask in your purse to sneak it into the movie theater. Hiding your drinking doesn’t have to get to this point either; it can be as simple as having a glass of wine at home when nobody else is looking. When people ask you about your drinking, you may lie about how much you’ve had or that you even drank in the first place. When you hide or lie about your drinking, you never let those around you know what your drinking truly looks like. 


Drinking Alone

When having multiple drinks with friends turns into drinking alone just to satiate the craving, you have a problem with drinking. Drinking could become your go-to activity when you’re home bored, lonely or just don’t feel like doing anything. Maybe you are tired from work and plan a night in instead of going out with co-workers, but you make sure to stop at the liquor store on your way home. While having one or two drinks after work by yourself can be normal for many, it can turn problematic for others. When those one or two drinks turn into more every day, you have a drinking problem. 


Endangering Your Physical Health

If you start to experience physical symptoms associated with your alcohol use, you have a problem with drinking. You could experience:

  • Weight gain or loss
  • Repeated infections or skin sores
  • Upset stomach 
  • Liver problems

If you experience withdrawal symptoms when you try to stop drinking or cut back, this indicates a drinking problem. You may notice you have trembling hands, high blood pressure, anxiety, irritability, profuse sweating and more as your body tries to adjust to the lack of alcohol in your system. If you are experiencing withdrawal symptoms, it is best to speak to a doctor. Trying to stop drinking alcohol, especially when you have been drinking large amounts for an extended period, can have life-threatening consequences. If your problem drinking has reached this point, medical detox is necessary. 


While you may think one or two drinks won’t hurt, what happens when those one or two drinks turn into more? Identifying the signs of problem drinking in yourself or a loved one can help people get the help they need. The programs at Cliffside Malibu take an individualistic approach, believing that every one of our patients deserves individual care and attention. Thanks to our modern techniques, we’ve garnered critical appeal and consistently transformed people’s lives across the country. Cliffside Malibu offers residential treatment in a resort setting overlooking the Pacific Ocean. It’s the perfect place to work on becoming sober and readjusting to daily life. To learn more about our program, call us today at (855) 403-5641.