Drinking too much alcohol increases people’s risk of injuries, violence, drowning, liver disease, and some types of cancer. This April, during Alcohol Awareness Month, Healthy Saint Paul encourages you to educate yourself and your loved ones about the dangers of drinking too much.
Experts make a distinction between alcohol abuse and alcoholism (also called alcohol dependence). Unlike alcoholism, alcohol abusers have some ability to set limits on their drinking. However, their alcohol use is still self-destructive and dangerous to themselves, can progress into alcoholism and they need help.
Common Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Abuse include:
Repeatedly Neglecting Responsibilities: Because of drinking, repeatedly neglecting responsibilities at home, work, or school. For example, neglecting the children, performing poorly at work, poor or failing grades in school, or skipping out on work, school, or social commitments because you’re hung over.
Alcohol Use in Dangerous Situations: The use of alcohol in situations where it can be physically dangerous, such as drinking and driving, mixing alcohol with prescription medication against the advice of your doctor or operating machinery while drinking.
Legal Problems Due to Drinking: If, due to drinking, you are experiencing repeated legal problems. For example, getting arrested for fights, drunk and disorderly conduct, domestic disputes, driving under the influence.
Continued Drinking Despite Relationship Problems: Alcohol is causing or making problems worse in your relationships with your friends, family or spouse, and you continue to drink. For example, fighting with your family because they don’t like how you act when you drink or going out and drinking with your buddies even though you know your wife will be very upset.
Drinking to De-Stress: Many drinking problems start when people use alcohol to relieve stress. Because alcohol is a sedative drug, over time, you will need more alcohol to have the same effect. Getting drunk after a very stressful day, for example, or reaching for a bottle after you have an argument with your boss, a friend or your spouse more frequently.
NCADD Self-Test: What Are the Signs of Alcoholism
Are you concerned about the role alcohol plays in your life? With 26 questions, the NCADD is a simple self-test intended to help you determine if you or someone you know needs to find out more about Alcohol. Visit ncadd.org/learn-about-alcohol/signs-and-symptoms for more information.
What can I do if I or someone I know has a drinking problem?
Consult your personal health care provider if you feel you or someone you know has a drinking problem.
If you are worried about cost, screening and counseling for alcohol misuse are covered under the Affordable Care Act. Depending on your insurance plan, you may be able to get these services at no cost to you.